While we are all required to have auto insurance in Georgia, the insurance system is notoriously complicated and often difficult to navigate after an accident. You might have multiple policies that come into play under different circumstances, and they might affect how a lawsuit plays out in court.
Georgia imposes minimum auto insurance requirements that all drivers must abide by, including having liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damage. Beyond that, many insurance policies are optional. Comprehensive and collision insurance may be added at your request. Similarly, you can choose to add policies for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Many drivers file third-party claims with the other driver’s insurance when filing an insurance claim in Georgia after an accident. A showing of fault is usually required, and insurance companies might challenge your claims for compensation. Insurance might be an important element in a lawsuit. For example, many drivers file lawsuits because at-fault drivers do not have insurance to cover the damages.
After a collision, our Georgia car accident lawyers can help you navigate the insurance claims process and the legal system if you call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 and schedule a free, confidential case review.
Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Georgia
Auto insurance is required by law in Georgia, and the law imposes certain minimum requirements. All drivers must have insurance that meets these minimum requirements, although you may have additional insurance policies on top of that. The state requires drivers to have liability coverage for bodily injuries and property damages.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
The state requires all drivers to have bodily injury liability coverage that covers injuries up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Bodily injury coverage applies when people are physically injured in an accident. Typically, it kicks in after a driver is deemed at fault for the accident and the other driver’s injuries.
Each person injured in the crash may recover up to $25,000 in damages. If more than one person is injured, such as a driver and their passenger, they may recover no more than $50,000 altogether. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers can help you make sure you get the highest compensation possible for your injuries after an accident.
Property Damage Liability Coverage
Drivers are also required to carry liability insurance pertaining to property damage. Under Georgia law, minimum insurance requirements include $25,000 of coverage for property damage for an entire accident.
This coverage may apply to another driver’s damaged vehicle and various other lost personal belongings. If you struck a stationary object, such as a parked car, a bike, or a building, this coverage would also apply to the damaged items and property.
Optional Insurance Policies in Georgia
Many insurance policies are not required but are strongly encouraged. While having additional insurance policies will likely cost more money, it can be worth it in the event of a crash. Below are some common optional policies in Georgia that you should discuss with your attorney.
Comprehensive insurance is a very common optional insurance policy. It provides compensation for all damage to your vehicle other than damage from an accident. For example, if someone broke into your car and shattered one of the windows, you could file a claim with your comprehensive insurance policy. If there was a flood and your vehicle was severely damaged, you could rely on your comprehensive insurance policy.
While comprehensive insurance is very useful for things like weather damage, vandalism, and theft, it is not required by law. Comprehensive insurance only applies to damage to your vehicle. It does not cover physical injuries or damage to other property.
Another very common optional insurance policy is collision insurance. This is sort of like the opposite of comprehensive policies. It also applies to damage to your vehicle, but only damage caused by accidents and collisions. If you accidentally hit someone or someone hit your car while it was parked on the street, you might file a collision insurance policy.
Depending on the situation, you might have a choice between filing a claim with your collision insurance or filing a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance. Often, the other driver’s liability insurance has higher policy limits and applies to more than just vehicle damages. It can also be used to cover medical expenses for bodily injuries. If you were not injured and your own insurance may fully cover the damage, you might consider filing a claim with your insurance provider.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
In some accidents, the other driver is not insured and cannot cover your damages, at least not through an insurance claim. Since Georgia is a fault-based state where drivers frequently file third-party claims to get compensation, this puts you in a major bind. This is where having uninsured motorist coverage would come in handy.
If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company may cover you if the other driver lacks any insurance. If your injuries and damages are beyond your policy limits, you can sue the defendant for damages.
Uninsured motorist coverage is also very helpful in cases involving hit and runs. You cannot file a claim with the other driver’s insurance if the other driver fled the scene and cannot be identified.
Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Similar to uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage is helpful when the other driver’s insurance is insufficient. Remember, this is not meant for accidents involving drivers without insurance. Instead, it is meant for situations where the other driver’s insurance policy limits are insufficient to cover your damages fully.
If you exhaust the other driver’s insurance policy limit, you can file a claim with your underinsured motorist coverage and hopefully get your remaining damages covered. How much coverage you get from your own policy depends on the policy limit of the other driver and your underinsured motorist policy limits.
How to File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident in Georgia
Filing an insurance claim is often a complicated matter. In Georgia, you might have to file a third-party claim with the other driver’s insurance. This requires obtaining the other driver’s personal information, and they might not be forthcoming. Before speaking to the insurance company about anything, talk to our Georgia car accident attorneys about how to handle your claim.
When filing a third-party claim, you need to have an idea of what your damages are. You also need evidence of the other driver’s fault. If you do not have enough evidence to prove the defendant caused the accident, the insurance company might push back against your claims. This is why speaking to a lawyer before you begin the insurance claims process is crucial. Your attorney can help you find the evidence you need to show fault and get compensation.
Insurance claims often involve some back-and-forth negotiations between claimants and the insurance company. This is fairly typical, and an attorney can help you hold your ground so you can get all the compensation you are entitled to. Suppose the insurance company makes a low settlement offer. In that case, we can send a demand letter explaining our demands and an itemized list of damages and costs and why they should be compensated.
How Auto Insurance Affects a Car Accident Lawsuit in Georgia
Your auto insurance might affect how your lawsuit plays out. Reasons for suing, evidence, fault, and damages are often tied up in both lawsuits and insurance claims. If you are unsure whether you should file an insurance claim or a lawsuit, you should speak to an attorney about your situation immediately.
Insurance Policy Limits
A major insurance factor that often influences lawsuits is insurance policy limits. Many people base their decision to file a lawsuit on policy limits. If limits are too low, your damages might not be adequately covered, and you might have little other choice than to sue for your remaining damages.
There might be several methods to navigate low policy limits and high damages. One method is to file an insurance claim and get as much compensation as possible before filing a lawsuit and covering all your damages. The second option is to forego an insurance claim and just file the lawsuit. If the policy limit is close to your actual damages and you are satisfied with whatever the insurance company can pay you, you also have the option of just accepting the full policy limit and moving on.
Settlement negotiations are known for being frustrating. If the insurance company does not want to pay for your damages, they might stall your claim in settlement negotiations until you get tired of waiting and accept whatever offer they throw at you. Settlement negotiations in insurance claims often lead to lawsuits for this very reason.
Entering settlement negotiations does not mean you have to accept an offer. Many claimants go back and forth with insurance companies for weeks or even months before negotiations break down entirely and they decide to sue.
Another possibility is that you use a lawsuit as leverage against the insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to budge, your attorney can help you file a lawsuit. The lawsuit might make the insurance company more inclined to offer a better settlement so they can avoid a trial and possible jury verdict.
Proving fault in an insurance claim overlaps significantly with proving negligence in a lawsuit. To prove to the insurance company that the other driver is at fault for the accident, you need evidence from the accident scene, witnesses, dashcam footage, and more. These things may also be used as evidence in a court of law.
In a way, your evidence in an insurance claim may indicate the strength of a potential lawsuit. If you have little trouble showing fault in an insurance claim, you might have a strong case in the courtroom where our team can help you get potentially greater damages. If you struggle to convince the insurance company of fault, your odds in court might not be favorable.
Can I Sue for Injuries if I Do Not Have Auto Insurance in Georgia?
Having auto insurance is not just important but required by law. There are consequences for people who drive without insurance, even if they do not cause accidents. States with “no pay, no play” laws prohibit people from suing if they do not have insurance. This means that even if you can prove the other driver caused the accident, you cannot sue if you are uninsured.
Georgia is not a “no pay, no play” state, meaning you can sue the other driver even if you are uninsured. Only a handful of states have no pay, no play laws. While you are absolutely allowed to sue the other driver even if you lack insurance, there might be other problems to deal with.
First, without insurance, you are vulnerable to other legal penalties. You might get a hefty fine from the police for driving while uninsured. This might mean points on your license, and your premiums might be higher when you try to obtain new insurance.
Additionally, you might be vulnerable to lawsuits from the other driver. In many cases, both drivers in an accident believe the other is at fault. When one sues, the other countersues. If you do not have insurance, the other driver cannot file a claim against you, and you might be sued. This raises the stakes of your own lawsuit. If you cannot prove the other driver is to blame, their case against you might be stronger than you thought. In such a situation. Talk to an attorney right away about how to protect yourself.
Call Our Georgia Car Accident Attorneys About Your Case Now
After an auto accident, our Athens car accident lawyers can help you maneuver through the insurance claims process and the judicial system if you call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 and set up a free, private case review.