If you are injured in a car accident, you can sue the driver who caused the accident for the full cost of your injuries and vehicle damage, even if that amount if much greater than the insurance policy limits. If the court awards you money, the insurance company will pay you, up to the policy limits. The driver will be responsible for anything over and above what the policy will cover.
When your losses exceed the limits of the other driver’s insurance policy, you have an underinsured motorist claim. Underinsured motorists are a big problem in Georgia because the state’s minimum insurance requirements aren’t high enough to cover a serious accident. There are ways to recover additional money after the insurance company has paid is share, but you will need help from a car accident attorney in Atlanta.
How do insurance policy limits work in Georgia?
When you buy car insurance, there are three numbers you need to worry about. The first is the premium, or the amount you’ll pay for your insurance coverage. The second is the deductible, or the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket after an accident before your insurance kicks in. And the third is your policy limit, or the maximum amount your insurance will pay out after an accident. You can keep your premiums low by choosing a higher deductible and/or a lower policy limit.
Georgia does, however, require all car owners to have at least a certain amount of insurance. The minimum insurance coverage in Georgia is:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage, per person
- $50,000 total bodily injury coverage
- $25,000 property damage coverage
Healthcare is expensive, and if you have serious injuries and need a long hospital stay, your medical bills alone can be higher than these minimum insurance amounts. Add in your lost pay and damages for pain and other losses, and your claim may be several times the insurance limit. But no matter what, the insurance company will not pay more than the limit on the policy.
How can I recover money if the other driver was underinsured?
If the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your accident, your will probably have to file a lawsuit. But sometimes there are other options. We always explore all the possible ways to get money in an underinsured driver case, and this might include the following:
- Underinsured motorist coverage. This is optional coverage that you may have purchased as part of your car insurance policy. Underinsured motorist coverage is designed to pay you if you are in a car accident with a driver who didn’t have sufficient coverage to pay for all your losses.
- Other insurance policies. Sometimes, there is another insurance policy that will cover your damages. For example, the other driver or the driver’s employer might have an umbrella liability policy.
- A court judgment against the other driver. To force the other driver to pay you out of pocket, you first need a court judgment that orders the driver to pay you a certain amount. You can then enforce the judgment in several ways, including placing a lien on the driver’s assets and having payments automatically deducted and sent to you.
- Finding other parties who are also at fault. Occasionally, our investigation shows that a third party might also be responsible for your accident. This might include another driver, an auto parts manufacturer, or a company that performed vehicle or highway maintenance. These third parties may have additional insurance or financial resources to pay you.
Underinsured motorist cases are always more complicated than ordinary insurance claims. Because there’s not enough insurance, you can’t settle these cases on your own with a few phone calls to the insurance company. A lawyer who understands underinsured motorist cases can investigate the causes of your accident and the insurance policies that might be in play, and can file a lawsuit to get you the full cost of your accident, not just the limits of the other driver’s insurance policy.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers know how to get money for you, even if the other driver didn’t have enough insurance. And you’ll never have to pay us unless we get you paid. Let us give you a FREE consultation to talk about your accident and explain how underinsured motorist claims work. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.