If you experienced injuries in an accident caused by a driver with insufficient or no liability insurance, you need a lawyer with experience in these cases. Speak with an attorney at Kaufman Law, P.C., for an assessment of your case.
Georgia law requires drivers to carry auto insurance with liability coverage before hitting the road. A person with injuries from a car accident in Atlanta would first go to the at-fault drivers’ insurance for a claim, but sometimes that’s impossible. Perhaps the injuries suffered in an auto accident exceed the driver’s liability coverage amounts or the driver drove away from the crash. Maybe the driver was uninsured. The Insurance Research Council estimates 9% to 11% of Georgia drivers are uninsured.
In any case, a person involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver in Atlanta has to go the extra mine to receive fair compensation.
Understanding UM/UIM Coverage
Many insured drivers carry uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. A person involved in an uninsured accident should check his or her insurance policy’s Declarations page for this type of coverage.
UM/UIM coverage typically provides protection from:
- An accident with an uninsured driver
- An accident with an underinsured driver (a victim’s losses exceeds the driver’s liability coverage)
- An accident involving a hit-and-run
- A cyclist or pedestrian hit by a car
- Related medications
While each insurance policy varies, UM/UIM coverage typically covers the insured, as well as:
- The insured’s spouse
- Relatives of the insured and the spouse residing in the same home
- Drivers using the insured’s car with consent
- Passengers in the insured car
How Much UM/UIM Coverage Should I Have?
Two types of uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage options are available, non-stacking and stacking.
Non-Stacking UM/UIM Coverage
Also called traditional coverage, drivers can turn to non-stacking uninsured/underinsured motorist if his or her UM/UIM coverage exceeds the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. In this case, the courts would reduce the amount of compensation a plaintiff may receive by the at-fault driver’s maximum liability limit.
For example, a person with injuries from a car accident has $50,000 in medical bills. The at-fault driver has $25,000 in liability coverage. The injured party also has $25,000 in non-stacking UM/UIM coverage. Subtracting the liability amount ($25,000) from the UM/UIM coverage amount ($25,000) means the injured would not receive any money.
If you take the same scenario but give the injured party $75,000 in UM/UIM coverage, then the numbers would change. Subtracting the at fault-driver’s liability amount ($25,000) from the UM/UIM coverage amount ($75,000) means the injured could recover up to $50,000.
Stacking UM/UIM Coverage
Insurers also refer to stacking coverage as add-on or excess coverage. This means the insured amount is always potentially above whatever coverage a negligent driver has. For example, a person with injuries from a car accident has $50,000 in medical bills. The at-fault driver has $25,000 in liability coverage. The injured party also has $25,000 in stacking UM/UIM coverage.
The injured party would be able to stack his or her UM/UIM coverage ($25,000) on top of the at-fault driver’s coverage ($25,000). In this example, the injured party could collect up to $50,000 for losses.
Filing Uninsured or Underinsured Claims
Accidents involving uninsured or underinsured parties are often complicated legal battles for several reasons. A person injured in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver must contact both the at-fault driver’s liability insurer and his or her own insurance company. Like all legal claims, notices and deadlines are very important; you must meet the filing deadlines.
If you’re involved in an UM/UIM accident, it’s advisable to get in touch with an attorney with experience in such accidents. Contact Atlanta-based Kaufman Law, P.C., for a free consultation on underinsured or uninsured auto accidents.