Car Accidents with an Uninsured Driver
Being in a car accident is bad enough. To make matters worse, the car accident is with an at-fault uninsured driver. This adds an extra layer of complication to an already stressful scenario. And, at this point, you’re probably wondering who pays for the damage to your car? Who pays the medical bills? To understand the options available, it’s first important to understand no-fault insurance, as well as Georgia legislation regarding vehicle owners and insurance.
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Georgia Fault State
No-fault insurance means that when you have an accident, your auto insurance provider automatically pays for your damages, regardless of fault. For example, you are in a car accident and left with damage to your vehicle. In a no-fault state, you would file a claim with your own insurance company to cover the damage costs. Twelve states have a true no-fault insurance system in place.
However, Georgia is not one of the 12 states that follow this system. Georgia is a fault state, meaning that the driver that caused the accident is on the hook for the other driver’s damages. It’s important to note that Georgia requires vehicle owners to carry certain amounts of liability car insurance. The minimum requirements are:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per driver
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per occurrence
Even though it is required by law to purchase and carry automobile insurance, approximately one in eight drivers are uninsured, according to a 2017 study. This is approximately 13 percent of all motorists in the U.S. The percentage has been rising since 2010 with Florida earning the highest percentage at 26.7 and Maine with the lowest, 4.5.
Because of Georgia’s fault state system, it makes determining who pays for your medical bills and car damages difficult when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy is nonexistent. So, what are your options?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is supplemental insurance that protects you if you get into an accident with an at-fault uninsured or underinsured driver. These policies are intended to prevent you from spending out-of-pocket costs on medical bills and car repairs. Benefits cover:
- Drivers without car insurance
- Those with insurance but not enough to cover damages
- Hit and run drivers that can’t be identified
Even though Georgia does not require this type of supplemental insurance, it’s worth investigating if you are concerned about being in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Another option for car damage costs is collision coverage through your insurance company. This type of added coverage only covers damage to your car. Property damage insurance is the main type of coverage most people purchase and is required for Georgia drivers. Collision coverage, again, is an added component to your auto insurance and is often helpful in dealing with a hit-and-run or uninsured driver. It also allows for peace-of-mind if you are involved in an auto accident regardless of who is at fault.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage or “MedPay” is another type of added coverage to an auto insurance policy. This add-on covers medical costs pertaining to the driver and passengers. MedPay comes in handy when paying off large deductibles or co-pays that your regular health insurance may not cover. Additionally, there is no deductible or co-pay with MedPay. It also covers expenses that are sometimes not covered by health insurance, like ambulance fees or chiropractic care.
Your health insurance also pays for your medical treatment if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. Medical bills from car accidents follow a similar protocol that all hospital injury expenses follow. You are responsible for paying your standard co-pay or deductible for treatment, and your medical insurance kicks in to cover those specifics listed in your policy.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are interested in pursuing legal action against an uninsured driver, you would benefit from hiring an attorney. HS Law, specifically, can help with car accident aftermath. They’ve handled thousands of personal injury and property damage cases and helped victims recover damages. The consultation calls are absolutely free.