Insurance laws and policy clauses can be needlessly complicated and impossible to understand. At John Foy and Associates, we frequently help regular people deal with insurance complications.
You do not need to be alone. Contact us immediately for help with your insurance problems.
Will Insurance Cover Me When Driving Another Person’s Vehicle?
Yes. In Georgia, all drivers are required to have liability insurance which covers you if you are driving someone else’s car and cause an accident. This insurance requirement is set by Georgia state law, so if you have insurance, you have this coverage.
The most important consideration when determining insurance coverage, however, is who is at fault for the accident. Car insurance typically insures cars, not people. If a car has insurance, it is not usually important who the driver was.
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What Does Liability Insurance Cover?
Like most insurance provisions, the types of things that liability insurance must cover are set by Georgia state law. According to state law, liability insurance must cover:
- Legal liability for death, including funeral expenses;
- Legal liability for injury, including medical bills and disability benefits;
- Legal liability to a dead victim’s family or beneficiaries.
Keep in mind, however, that there are policy limits on your policy. This means that your insurance provider will not have to pay for anything over a certain amount. If you have the state minimums policy limits, which is typically the cheapest policy your insurance company offers, your insurance company will only cover $25,000 of bodily injury per person or $50,000 per accident.
What if My Insurance Company Will Not Cover My Accident?
When your insurance company fails to cover your accident, you might be able to sue them for breach of contract and insurance bad faith. State law provides remedies for insurance holders whose insurance companies fail to fairly adjust their loss. A skilled attorney with experience in insurance law can help you with this process.
What Are the Duties of My Insurance Carrier?
According to Georgia state law, immediately after a loss due to either bodily injury or property damage, an insurance company has a legal duty to quickly and fairly adjust the loss and make a reasonable effort to investigate and evaluate the claim. An insurance company also breaches its duty if they determine liability correctly but offer less money than what is reasonably owed under all of the circumstances.
If the insurance company can reasonably clearly tell who is at fault for the accident, they have a duty to make a prompt effort, in good faith, to settle with any person who is potentially entitled to compensation under the policy.
What if My Insurance Company Breaches Its Duty?
Georgia, like most states, imposes by law harsh penalties on insurance companies who do not act in good faith or try to “get one over” on their customers. In the event that an insurance company breaches its legal duty, the person who is entitled to recover under the policy may recover:
- All money that they are owed under the policy; plus
- Up to 50% of the money they are owed (minimum of $5,000) on top; plus
- Their attorney’s fees and costs of bringing their lawsuits
If your trial for a lawsuit against an insurance company goes before a jury, this is good news for you. Juries tend to want to penalize large companies like insurance companies. In fact, one study found that juries award plaintiffs three times as much money when the defendant is a corporation.
Are There any Exceptions to What Is Covered by Liability Insurance?
Yes, there are situations in which your insurance company is legally permitted to refuse to cover a car accident, even if you were not at fault. If this happens to you, it is best to contact an attorney immediately for advice on your legal options.
If you are driving someone else’s car, the most common reasons that an insurance company might refuse to cover an accident are:
- You drove the car without its owner’s permission;
- The owner of the vehicle expressly excluded you from the policy;
- You were breaking the law in a serious way (for example, drunk driving or driving without a license, but not necessarily minor traffic violations).
Will My Insurance Company Help Me?
It is important to remember that insurance companies are, at the end of the day, businesses. Any amount of money that insurance companies have to pay is harmful to their profits. Therefore, they will try anything that they can to pay as little as possible.
While insurance companies only care about money, an attorney will only care about your best interests. This is why it is so important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you believe that your insurance company is treating you unfairly.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
You should hire a lawyer because insurance law is incredibly complicated, even more so than other areas of law. It is almost impossible for a layperson to understand the intricacies of insurance law, but an experienced lawyer will have the skills necessary to make sure that they are using the law to your advantage.
The reason that insurance law is so complicated is that the Georgia General Assembly has passed hundreds of laws that regulate insurance companies. On top of that, the Georgia Commissioner of Insurance and Fire Safety issues additional regulations. Additionally, most of these laws and regulations have been interpreted by Georgia’s courts, creating even more laws.
You do not need to learn all of these laws, regulations, and interpretations. Doing so would take years, which is exactly why lawyers exist. Rather than trying to fight a complicated case against a huge insurance company, allow John Foy and Associates to put their significant experience on your side.
What Lawyer Should I Hire to Handle My Insurance Case?
You should call “The Strong Arm” John Foy to handle your insurance case. He has almost 30 years of experience representing Georgians in insurance matters. Contact John Foy and Associates today for a free consultation.