What Does No-Fault State Mean for Car Accidents?
Automobile insurance systems vary across the country but are typically broken down into either “at-fault” or “no-fault” states.
It’s important to know which kind of car insurance law applies to the state you live in and how the system works should you find yourself involved in an accident in which another driver causes severe injury to you and/or your vehicle.
Is Georgia a no-fault state for car accidents?
There are 12 no-fault states in the United States, but as with most of the country Georgia laws on car accidents follow a system known as a “fault state.” That means when two drivers get into an accident, the one who caused the incident is liable for the other driver’s damages.
The difference between no-fault and at-fault are straightforward. Georgia’s car insurance laws stipulate that when an accident occurs involving two drivers, one of the drivers must be at least 51 percent at fault for the crash. This is known as the 50 Percent Bar Rule, which means the injured person can collect damages if they are less than 50 percent at fault. If they are deemed 50 percent at fault or more, they can’t collect any damages.
When serious injuries occur due to a motor vehicle accident, hiring an attorney can help you navigate the process, especially if you are not certain who was liable. If you need to seek significant and complex damages to cover injuries or vehicular damage you sustained in the accident, a lawyer with experience in Georgia car accidents can help you better understand your options.
So, what does a no-fault state mean?
No-fault state systems seek to limit lawsuits from car crashes. In a no-fault car accident claim, when a driver is hurt in an automobile accident, they must file a claim with their insurance company to obtain coverage for a portion or all of their medical costs.
Each insurance company compensates its policyholders for the cost of minor injuries, no matter who was at fault. This applies in states where insurance companies pay first-party benefits and where there are restrictions on the right to sue. Drivers in no-fault states can sue for serious injuries if the situation meets specific criteria.
In no-fault states, and some at-fault states, your car insurance must pay for medical bills using Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP may help pay for hospital coverage and costs not covered by your health insurance. It may also include coverage for income continuation and child-care expenses.
With no-fault insurance, you cannot claim compensation for damages for pain and suffering. You are limited to making a claim through their insurance, even when they did not cause the accident, unless their damages are high.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Georgia
Drivers in Georgia must have liability insurance that meets the minimum limits required by law. This insurance helps pay damages to others on your behalf if they are hurt or their vehicle is damaged in an accident where you are ruled to be at fault. Car accidents can leave victims with serious physical pain, lost wages from time off work, as well as high medical bills and long-lasting physical complications and mental distress. Special damages may be awarded for medical bills and general damages for things such as long-term disability.
The minimum limits of liability insurance required under Georgia law are as follows, but additional coverage can be purchased:
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident.
- Property damage liability: $25,000 per incident.
What is considered an at-fault accident?
According to Georgia car insurance laws, when an accident occurs involving two drivers, the driver who was at fault is liable for the other driver’s damages. As drivers are required by law to have insurance, it is the person who was at fault whose insurance company will pay the damages via automobile liability insurance.
Filing an Auto Accident Personal Injury Claim in Georgia
The injured driver can file a personal injury claim with the company who is insuring the driver who was at fault.
You must file a personal injury case within two years of the car accident. If you claim only vehicle damage, you have four years. Injured drivers should seek the advice of a Georgia car accident lawyer when pursuing a case in a fault state.
Injured drivers can file a claim with the insurance company of the driver who was at fault for damages such as:
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages from employment
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Damage to your vehicle
What can I expect if I am injured in an accident and not at fault?
You will need to provide information that builds a strong case proving that the other driver was at fault. This will involve reporting the accident to the police, providing pictures of your vehicle showing the damages after the accident, documentation of your injuries with photos, statements from witnesses, and information about what you remember from the accident.
A Georgia car accident lawyer can help you negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company. They may try to deny your claim or offer an amount that does not come the equivalent of the total losses of injury you have incurred.
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