No-fault insurance means that when a driver is hurt in an auto accident, they would need to file a claim with their own insurance company for some or all of their medical costs, lost wages, and other damages. With no-fault insurance, it does not matter who was at fault for the accident. Twelve U.S. states follow a no-fault insurance system, including Florida, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Georgia is not one of the no-fault states.
Georgia follows a different system for car accidents and insurance claims.
How Does Car Insurance in Georgia Differ From No-Fault Insurance?
Like most states in the U.S., Georgia is a fault state. This means that when two drivers get into an accident, the driver who caused the accident is liable for the other driver’s damages (Georgia Code § 51-1-6).
If the at-fault driver in Georgia is carrying auto insurance (as required by law), their insurance company is actually responsible for paying these damages. This is paid through automobile liability insurance, which all Georgia drivers must purchase and carry. 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
In an at-fault state, the injured driver has the legal right to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is different from no-fault insurance where the injured driver would need to file a claim (often called personal injury protection, or PIP, claim) with their own insurance company for damages.
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Are There Limits of No-Fault Insurance Versus Georgia Insurance?
Yes, a driver who is in an accident in a no-fault state may have more limitations than an injured driver in Georgia. With a no-fault insurance claim, you can claim some of the same damages as in at-fault states, such as medical bills and lost wages.
However, some of the limits of no-fault insurance include:
- Not being able to get compensation for damages like pain and suffering
- Being forced to provide a statement to their insurance company and attend a medical examination with a provider the insurance company chooses
- Only allowing third-party liability claims (in some states) after the accident reaches a certain severity
The details of no-fault insurance may vary slightly between states, but in most cases, the driver is limited to filing a PIP claim through their own insurance—even if they didn’t cause the accident—unless their damages are very high.
Georgia Insurance Claims
On the other hand, injured drivers in Georgia can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for damages like:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
If you did not cause your accident, you have the legal right to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company for all your damages.
How Do You File an Insurance Claim in Georgia?
According to Georgia law, you must bring a personal injury case after a car accident within two years of the date of the accident. If you are filing a claim for only vehicle damage, the deadline is four years from the accident date. It’s best to get started filing your claim as soon as possible since time can move quickly on injury cases. Many injured drivers work with a car accident lawyer on their claims, as well.
To file a claim with the other driver’s insurance after an accident in Georgia, you will need to do the following.
Even though you didn’t cause the accident, the burden is on you as the accident victim to file a claim for damages. You will also need to prove that the other driver caused your accident and that your damages resulted from their negligence. Gathering this evidence can begin at the accident scene.
First, you should always call the police to report the accident. Then, you can:
- Take pictures of the scene, your injuries, and your property damage
- Talk to any witnesses who saw what happened
- Exchange names, addresses, and insurance information with the other driver
- Take notes on everything you remember about the accident
See a Doctor
Even if your injuries seem minor, see a doctor as soon as you can. If you don’t get treatment soon after the accident, the insurance company will try to claim you weren’t actually hurt in the accident. Also, seeing a doctor can ensure you get the necessary treatment for any underlying issues or worsening injuries.
Keep Track of Costs
Keep all medical bills, receipts, quotes, and anything else that shows what costs result from the accident and your injuries.
File Your Claim with the Insurer
Once you have gathered evidence of the fault, the accident, and your damages, you will file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you do this if you need help.
Once the insurance company has received your claim, they will either:
- Accept it
- Send a counteroffer
- Reject it
It’s very likely that the insurance company will try to offer you much less than your damages are worth. If they do this or reject your claim, it’s best to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you with the next steps and negotiate with the insurance company for fairer compensation.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Georgia for Free
Since Georgia is not a no-fault state, you are entitled to recover damages for an accident that wasn’t your fault. If you were injured and another driver caused your accident, you have legal rights. Don’t let the other driver or their insurance company make you feel otherwise. John Foy & Associates can help through every step of the process.
We have been helping car accident victims file claims and win the money they deserve for over 20 years. Insurance companies do not like to pay out much on insurance claims—but we don’t back down, and we aren’t afraid to fight for your rights. We also don’t get paid unless we win your case, so it’s risk-free. To schedule a FREE consultation and talk about your case today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.