Following most car accidents in Georgia, the parties involved exchange their respective contact information and the insurance companies that cover the drivers sort out paying any claims that arise from the collisions. When a motorist who causes an automobile crash in the Atlanta area either does not have a motor vehicle insurance policy or has an insufficient amount of coverage to pay for the damage caused, it can create an extremely complicated situation for innocent people injured in these accidents.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist (also referred to as UM or UIM) coverage is an addendum to a standard automobile insurance policy that protects policyholders injured by other drivers who either have no coverage or do not have enough coverage to compensate the victim. Anybody who has been injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Georgia should not speak about the accident to anybody or sign any paperwork until they have legal representation, as signing a limited liability release can create a possible breach of contract issue.
Did you suffer serious injuries or was your loved one killed in a crash caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver in Georgia? Do not speak to any insurance company agents or other parties until you have first contacted Marcus A. Roberts & Associates.
Marcus A. Roberts is an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta who represents clients injured in automobile accidents in communities throughout Gwinnett County, Fulton County, Clayton County, DeKalb County, and Cobb County. He can review your case and answer all of your legal questions as soon as you call 404-577-4444 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Georgia Code § 33-7-11 requires motorists in the state to maintain the following minimum liability coverage amounts:
UM or UIM coverage is a provision in a driver’s own insurance policy that covers him or her in the event that a motorist with no insurance or inadequate insurance causes a car crash. During the 2008 Session of the Georgia General Assembly, a law was passed that requires automobile insurance carriers to provide revised UM coverage to all policyholders unless they specifically reject this coverage in writing.
Not all UM or UIM policies are the same. In Georgia, drivers may have one of two kinds of policies: Excess/Add-On/Stacked and Traditional/Reduced/Unstacked policies.
Excess, add-on, or stacked coverage allows policyholders to collect up to the policy limits of their UM or UIM coverage from their own insurer as well as the at-fault driver’s insurance limits. Traditional, reduced, or unstacked policies only pay the difference between the two policies.
The difference between these two types of policies is as follows: A person injured in an automobile accident accumulates $50,000 in medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. If the victim has a $25,000 excess, add-on, or stacked UM policy and the negligent driver only had an insurance policy with $10,000 in coverage, the injured party could be entitled to $35,000. If the person injured in the crash has a traditional, reduced, or unstacked policy, however, he or she is only entitled to the difference between the two policies (also referred to as the “setoff”), or $15,000.
State law generally makes excess, add-on, or stacked coverage the default selection for automobile insurance policies in Georgia, but people can opt-out by choosing traditional, reduced, or unstacked coverage. UM or UIM claims often involve drivers attempting to obtain compensation from their own insurance companies, and it is critical to have a personal injury lawyer represent you during any communication with an insurer to make sure that all of your legal rights are protected.
Georgia Department of Insurance (GADOI) — The vision statement of the GADOI is “to have a well-trained workforce, utilizing state of the art technology to facilitate regulation, coordination and uniformity among state regulators and provide public access to services and fire safety information that results in a consumer friendly and competitive market place.” The insurance commissioner is an elected public official responsible for regulating the insurance industry. On this website, you can find information about different agents, agencies, and insurers in Georgia.Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner
Gordon v. Atlanta Casualty Company, 279 Ga. 148 (2005) — Atlanta Casualty Company issued an automobile insurance policy to James M. O’Neal, Sr., whose son was killed in an automobile accident when he was struck by an uninsured motorist. The parents sued the uninsured owner and driver for the wrongful death of their son, serving Atlanta Casualty as the uninsured motorist carrier. Atlanta Casualty moved for summary judgment, but the trial court denied the motion. The Court of Appeals reversed, reasoning that Georgia Code § 33-7-11(a)(1) “cannot be read to require an insurer to pay damages for the death of a person who was not covered under the policy.” The Supreme Court of Georgia disagreed, reversing the judgment of the Court of Appeals and writing:
The language of the statute is plain and it is not illogical. It clearly states that the insurer is to pay “all sums which [the] insured shall be legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle.” (Emphasis supplied.) OCGA § 33-7-11(a)(1). All means all, every single one. Since the insured in this case is entitled to recover damages for the death of his son against the owner or driver of the uninsured vehicle, he is entitled to recover those damages against his insurer.
If you sustained catastrophic injuries or your loved one was killed by an uninsured or underinsured driver anywhere in Georgia, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Marcus A. Roberts & Associates helps residents and visitors all over Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, and Clayton County.
Atlanta personal injury lawyer Marcus A. Roberts will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you need and deserve for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and all other applicable damages. Call 404-577-4444 or complete an online contact form to have our attorney provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, no obligation consultation.