Finding out the driver that hit you isn’t insured is incredibly frustrating. Not only is it illegal in Georgia, it shows incredible irresponsibility on their part. Georgia requires car insurance so that there is a baseline level of coverage for every accident victim. But when the driver isn’t insured, it does not mean you don’t get a financial recovery. In fact, your rights are the same whether they were insured or not.
Here’s why. In Georgia, if you’re hit by an uninsured driver, they are still liable for the costs—and there are three main ways to get you paid. These are:
- Through a different insurance policy that applies to the accident
- Through your own uninsured motorist policy, if any
- The other driver pays out of pocket
Let’s look at each one in detail.
1. Other Insurance Policies
Drivers who say they’re not insured are seldom wrong, but there may be other types of policies that apply to their accident. For example:
- The car owner’s insurance. If the car isn’t theirs, then the owner of the car may have insurance even if the driver did not. The driver may have been unaware of this or may not have realized it’s the owner’s responsibility. In fact, Georgia requires that car owners—not necessarily the driver—carry a policy. The car owner’s insurance should cover the accident even if someone else was driving.
- A general liability policy. Some people carry carry general liability. This isn’t for car accidents specifically, but may cover them. Some people may even have been sold this type of policy while buying another kind of insurance—such as property insurance—and not remember they have it.
- A work policy. If the person is driving for work, or if the vehicle is owned by a business, the company may have a policy that the driver was not aware of. This could apply even in a private vehicle being used for work purposes.
A lawyer can investigate all potential policies that may help cover the accident.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
If you have a car insurance policy of your own, it may include an uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist policy. That means your own insurance will step in and pay costs if the other driver has no insurance. This is often included in the fine print of a car insurance contract, so you may have this coverage even if you don’t know it. Your lawyer or your insurance company can tell you.
The Driver Pays Out of Pocket
Even if there is no insurance at all, the at-fault driver still has to pay. They won’t have the money to pay you all at once, but the courts can set up a payment plan where they pay slowly over time. In addition, your own lawyer can place a lien on their property. A lien means that if they ever sell their home (or boat, or other type of property), the money still owed to you comes out of the sale.
In many cases, you’ll get paid by a combination of these methods. For example, another insurance policy may cover part of the costs, with the at-fault driver paying out of pocket for the rest.
Hit by an uninsured motorist? Talk to a lawyer for free.
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