Drivers who are injured in car accidents in Georgia typically make a claim against the at-fault driver which is paid for by his or her insurance company. But what happens if the at-fault driver has no insurance or you are injured by a hit-and-run driver? That’s where Georgia’s uninsured or underinsured motorists law becomes relevant.
Under the uninsured or underinsured (UM/UIM) law, you can use your own insurance coverage to meet your costs, if you have purchased the additional coverage.
Georgia uninsured and underinsurance motorist law is a complicated area. A car accident injury lawyer can help you navigate the minefield.
About 10 percent of drivers allow their insurance coverage to expire or don’t have it in Georgia, even though there are statutory minimums that drivers should purchase.
In Georgia, drivers must carry liability coverage at the following levels.
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for property damage.
Even drivers who buy insurance may have minimum levels of coverage. That might work for a minor injury but will leave you under-compensated for a serious injury like a traumatic brain injury, a compound fracture or a spinal injury.
Under a recently enacted law, drivers in Georgia have the option to qualify for stacking coverage which can increase your payout after you are hurt in an accident.
A lawyer can protect your rights and is good at finding additional sources for stacking coverage.
When the Uninsured or the Underinsured Motorist Law May Apply in Georgia
Here are some scenarios in which you may qualify for UM/UIM insurance.
- You are hit by a driver with no insurance;
- The at-fault driver has insurance but it’s insufficient to compensate everyone who has been injured;
- You were hit by a driver who left the scene and cannot be found;
- You were hit while you were walking or cycling.
Typically, UM/UIM will cover
- Your spouse if you live in the same household;
- Relatives of you or your spouse if they live in the household;
- Anyone using your insured vehicle with your consent;
- A guest who is riding as a passenger.
Types of UM/UIM Coverage
Stackable Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage
In the past, if you did not have more underinsured motorist coverage than the other driver, you could not recover more. The new law allows stackable coverage that sits on top of any coverage the culpable driver has. This is the best type of insurance. Aim to purchase at least $100,000. For instance, if you are hit by a driver insured for $150,000 and you have the new stackable coverage for $150,000.00, then you can recover $300,000.
Non-Stacking UM/UIM Insurance Coverage
Non-stacking coverage is less advantageous to the victim of a car crash because it does not allow you to stack. For instance, if you are hit by a driver with $25,000 in coverage and you also have $25,000 of UIM coverage, the maximum you will be able to claim is $25,000.
Georgia law requires insurance companies to make UM/UIM available when you buy your insurance. So, unless you have rejected this form of coverage in writing, you may have it without realizing it.
A personal injury lawyer can review your coverage with you. Lawyers are very good at identifying sources of stacking coverage. Please contact the Law Office of Michael West in Newnan.