Every driver in Canton, Georgia is supposed to carry vehicle insurance. It’s required by law. But, that doesn’t stop many people from driving without it. And if a driver who does not have insurance causes an accident, it makes it very difficult to collect money for your losses. Thankfully, you may have other options. A Canton uninsured motorist accident lawyer can help you figure out your options—and you should act as quickly as possible.
John Foy & Associates has helped hundreds of car accident victims deal with the complications that arise when another driver doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance coverage. With over 20 years of experience, our firm has a simple mission: to help those who were injured or wronged. Uninsured accident claims can be stressful. Don’t face yours alone. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How much insurance are drivers in Canton required to have?
By law, everyone in Georgia must have minimum amounts of insurance coverage. These include:
- $25,000 for each person for physical injuries;
- $50,000 for each accident for bodily injuries; and
- $25,000 per collision for property damage.
If someone doesn’t have these minimum coverage amounts, they can face fines and penalties. But the damage to another driver or passenger if the uninsured driver causes an accident is often far worse than the criminal penalties involved.
And even when someone does carry this level of insurance, it’s not always enough. These minimums are very low, and it’s typical for damages in serious car accidents to exceed these amounts.
When does uninsured motorist coverage apply to my accident?
Many car owners have a type of insurance called uninsured motorist coverage, which also includes underinsured motorist coverage. That means that if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is not enough to cover your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other related damages, then your own insurance may have to foot the bill. The same is true is the at-fault driver has no insurance at all.
Uninsured motorist coverage is available in nearly every accident that involves a driver who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough protection. It’s commonly used in hit and run accidents (when you cannot determine who the driver was) as well.
Pedestrians and bicyclists can also use uninsured motorist coverage if they are hit while on the road or sidewalk. This use is often overlooked because many people assume that you have to be in your car for auto insurance coverage to apply—this may not be the case. If you are involved in this type of accident, check your insurance policy to determine if you have coverage. A good lawyer can can also review all your policies and get you an answer.
I’ve been involved in a collision with an uninsured driver. What should I do?
You should always ask the other driver whether he or she has insurance coverage first. Never just assume that the other driver does not have insurance. Once you know for sure that they do not have coverage, you may have an option that involves your own insurance coverage.
In Canton, insurance companies are required to offer you uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Unless you declined this coverage in writing, you may have this type of insurance and not even realize it. Check the “Declarations” page of your insurance policy. That page provides a helpful summary of all of your coverage. If you have UM/UIM insurance, it should be listed. If you are unsure, the team at John Foy & Associates can take a look at your policy.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, you should contact your insurance company to begin the claim process. Your coverage will usually apply to you and anyone who was using your vehicle with your permission. Every insurance company’s claim process is slightly different. Regardless of your actual claim procedure, it is important to make a claim as soon as you can after an accident to avoid any problems with time limits that may affect your coverage.
You can still assert a legal claim in court against a driver that does not have insurance. But, the likelihood of actually recovering money for your claim is significantly lower. A lawyer can help you make your claim as strong as possible.
How much will UM/UIM insurance cover?
It depends on the type of insurance you have. There are generally two types of uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia: stacking and non-stacking.
Non-stacking coverage is the more traditional type of coverage. You can only use this type of coverage if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is less than your UM/UIM coverage. For example, imagine you have $50,000 in UM/UIM coverage. The at-fault driver does not have insurance at all. That means that you can get the full value of your coverage—$50,000. But, if the at-fault driver has $25,000 in coverage, that changes your UM/UIM coverage. You would only be able to receive $25,000 from your insurance in that situation. In other words, $50,000 serves as a hard limit on how much you can recover once your own policy is involved. So if the other driver had $50,000 in insurance, you would get nothing from your own policy.
Stacking uninsured motorist coverage doesn’t have this limitation. Instead, if you have $50,000 in UM/UIM coverage, you always have that amount. It does not take into account the amount of coverage that the at-fault driver has. But, your claim is still paid from the other driver’s coverage (if any) before your policy will “kick in.”
It can be hard to figure out your insurance coverage on your own—and whether the insurer is making you a fair offer. Although uninsured motorist claims involve your own insurance company, they may not always be straightforward. Your insurance company is in the business of making money, and if they have any reason to claim that your coverage does not apply, they will. This is why it’s so important to talk to a lawyer.
Talk to a Canton Uninsured Motorist Lawyer for Free
John Foy & Associates has helped hundreds of people get the coverage that they deserve out of their own insurance company—or make the uninsured driver pay. Let us give you a FREE consultation to help you understand your options. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.