In Georgia, under the law, drivers must have insurance before operating a motor vehicle on the road. Despite this rule, there are still many drivers out on the road who are uninsured. When an uninsured driver hits you on the road, you can still pursue financial compensation for your damages.
Regardless of whether the drunk driver is insured or not, you should still reach out to a lawyer to learn about all of your legal options to seek a settlement. The car accident attorneys at John Foy & Associates have years of experience and are ready to help you fight for your claim. Reach out to us today for a free consultation at (404) 400-4000.
What to Do After Your Accident
After your accident, make sure that everyone is okay and does not need immediate medical assistance. Do not try to argue with the drunk driver or engage in any aggressive behavior. Drunk people typically lack the ability to reason or use proper logical thought, and fighting will only exacerbate the issue at hand.
When you find out that the drunk driver does not have any car insurance, take down his information anyways. Always be sure to write down their license plate number, phone number, and any other relevant information. Call the police and inform them of what happened and the driver’s potentially intoxicated state.
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) §40-6-273 states that any accident resulting in injury, death, or apparent damages exceeding $500 must get reported to the local police. The police will arrest the drunk driver and have a report of the accident filed as proof that it occurred.
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What Are My Options if the Drunk Driver Is Uninsured?
You have two options to consider after getting hit by a drunk driver:
- Filing a claim for a settlement through your own insurance.
- Filing a claim against the driver and forcing them to pay out-of-pocket for your damages.
Of these two options, the first one is most likely going to be the one you will have to choose.
Filing a Claim with Your Insurance
If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, you can file a claim to invoke that and receive compensation. As the name states, uninsured motorist coverage will pay for any of your damages when the at-fault driver has no insurance to their name or when a hit-and-run happens.
Whether or not you will have to file a claim with your own insurance is highly dependent on the drunk driver. Most people who drive without insurance do so because they cannot afford insurance to begin with. If they are too poor to afford insurance, they are probably too poor to afford to pay for any of your damages.
While you can have solace knowing that the drunk driver will get punished under the law, that still leaves you with little option other than to seek compensation elsewhere, such as through your insurance policy. If the drunk driver happens to have the financial means to pay, you would file a claim against them instead.
Filing a Claim Against the Drunk Driver
There are some cases where a drunk driver will have enough money or the financial capability to cover your damages. If this is the case, the standard rules of filing a claim will apply. The only difference would be that there is no need to negotiate with an insurance company since the driver doesn’t have a policy.
Because the driver was drunk, there is a chance that exemplary damages can apply. Exemplary damages are when the act of negligence that causes your accident is either intentional or extremely egregious. Drunk driving qualifies under this, and a jury may award additional damages to punish the at-fault driver further.
Common Damages Involved with Drunk Driving Accidents
Car accidents have the potential to inflict devastating injuries that can cripple a person both physically and financially. Here are some of the most common damages car accident victims seek compensation for:
- Lost wages or reduction in earning capability
- Vehicle repairs or replacements
- Medical expenses, including long term medical care if needed
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
Drivers have a duty of care when they are on the road. They must consider the safety of not just themselves but others around them as well. By driving drunk and without insurance, they fundamentally breach this duty of care. You should hold them responsible for what happened so you do not end up paying exorbitant bills for damages that were not your fault.
Your insurance company may also want to fight back or absolve themselves of paying you the proper amount you need to cover all of your expenses. They may try and argue that your injuries were caused by your accident or downplay the severity of the damages you suffered. Our lawyers will prioritize your best interests and ensure that your insurance does its job in covering you fairly.
Call Our Law Office Today for a Free Consultation
When an uninsured motorist is involved with your accident, it can get confusing on how to proceed with your claim. Even if the drunk driver is clearly responsible for what happened, getting a settlement can be difficult. Our lawyers will fight for your case all the way through and always seek to get you the best possible settlement.
For a free consultation at no risk to you, call us today at (404) 400-4000. We do not charge any upfront fees or tack on any hidden costs. If we cannot get you money, you pay us nothing.