Were you involved in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver?
Our Georgia injury attorneys can help explain your legal options for compensation and justice.
1 Glenlake Pkwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30328
***By appointment only***
Se habla Español
Absolutely. How do we know? We can do the math:
Nationwide, about 1 in 8 drivers is uninsured. Here in Georgia, an estimated 12 percent of drivers were uninsured in 2015, according to a survey by the Insurance Research Council.
Georgia’s southern neighbor, Florida, had the highest percentage of uninsured motorists in the country, with more than 1 in 4 drivers (26.7 percent) lacking insurance.
When you consider that there were approximately 385,221 motor vehicle accidents in the state of Georgia in 2015 (60,984 in Fulton County alone!), resulting in 19,405 serious injuries and 1,430 fatalities, it’s clear that many car accidents are caused by uninsured drivers.
Georgia law requires drivers to carry the proper auto insurance coverage before getting behind the wheel, but that doesn’t stop many people from disobeying the rules in order to save money by not paying premiums. Unfortunately, this reckless and irresponsible choice not only endangers themselves, but it also makes it more difficult for others to receive essential funds after being hurt in an accident they caused.
If you were hit by an uninsured driver (as a motorist, pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist) and suffered a serious injury or property damage as a result — or if the other driver fled the accident scene in a hit-and-run — then we invite you to contact our experienced Atlanta car accident law firm. At Scholle Law, we offer a FREE consultation with a knowledgeable and friendly attorney near you. We’ve helped countless crash victims get through this difficult time and secure the financial compensation they deserve. We want to help you, too.
We have experience successfully resolving uninsured car accident claims
If a severe accident involves a driver with no or limited insurance, it’s important for accident victims to hire a highly qualified and experienced local car crash attorney who understands what options are on the table and what needs to be done to secure the maximum possible recovery.
Few attorneys in Atlanta have the experience, skill and passion needed to properly represent car accident victims as attorney Charles Scholle. Our results speak for themselves.
For example, we were able to secure a $150,000 policy limits settlement for a woman who suffered a serious neck injury requiring spinal surgery following an automobile collision. This was possible because we pursued compensation through the woman’s liability and uninsured motorists’ coverage.
In another case, our client was a woman in her late 30s who was rear-ended in a Georgia ice storm. She suffered bulging discs that compressed her nerve roots and caused her serious pain, ultimately requiring cervical fusion surgery. Despite the fact that recovery was limited due to the low insurance policy limits of the offending driver, we were able to recover $125,000 for our client.
If you were involved in a crash, contact us immediately so that we can begin investigating your case and advise you of your legal options before the statute of limitations expires on your case. Following the free initial consultation, we’ll take aggressive and vital legal action by:
- Investigating and documenting the accident scene, then gathering evidence to prove fault
- Calculating the full extent of your damages — including economic losses (medical bills, lost wages, loss of income, etc.) and non-economic losses (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.)
- Filing the necessary paperwork and meeting deadlines to ensure you get compensation sooner
- Negotiating on your behalf with the other party and insurers to make sure you receive a full and fair settlement
- Skillfully representing your case in court (if necessary)
At Scholle Law, your initial consultation is 100% free — no cost, no commitment. During this meeting, we’ll carefully listen to your story, answer your most pressing questions and evaluate your claim to determine your best next steps.
If we think we can help you and you decide to hire us to represent you, then we’ll get started right away. We operate under a contingency fee arrangement, which means you only pay for our expert legal services when we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t owe us a penny. It’s that simple.
Auto insurance requirements in Georgia
Georgia is a 25/50/25 state, meaning that car insurance law requires all drivers in the state to have at least the following minimum insurance coverage:
- $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability (for the injury or death of a passenger, another driver, motorcyclist or pedestrian in an accident you cause)
- $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability (for the injuries or deaths of more than 1 passenger, another driver, motorcyclist or pedestrian in an accident you cause)
- $25,000 per accident in property damage liability (for property damage resulting from an accident you cause)
Keep in mind that all of the policies listed above only apply if you are responsible for a car accident. This coverage helps pay for personal injuries and property damage suffered by another person. If another driver is at fault, you’ll have to pursue compensation through their liability insurance.
Also, the minimum required coverage does NOT provide compensation for your own injuries or damages caused by a car accident that was your fault. In order to avoid having to pay for your own medical bills or property damage out-of-pocket, you’ll need to add additional coverage to your policy, such as personal injury protection (PIP), MedPay or collision coverage.
In addition, you should understand that these policy limits are the minimum amount required in Georgia. Many experts advise people to carry additional coverage that extends beyond the minimum requirements in order to further protect yourself and your family in the event of a serious car accident that results in catastrophic injuries and damage. Once you’ve used all of your available insurance coverage, your personal assets and finances can be garnered to help pay for an accident victim’s damages.
Unfortunately, Georgia’s minimum 25/50/25 liability insurance limit is often far from enough to fully compensate victims of a serious or fatal car accident. When dealing with traumatic injuries to the head, brain, neck, back or another body part, the medical bills alone will likely far exceed $25,000. This doesn’t even account for other costs such as lost wages and pain and suffering.
In scenarios like this, having “add-on” or additional insurance coverage can be an important financial lifeline that keeps you afloat during this difficult time. The more coverage you have, the better protected you are from personal liability.
Optional UM/UIM insurance coverage
Since Georgia follows a fault-based system when it comes to auto accidents, this means that the at-fault driver is financially responsible for any property damage or personal injuries that result from a crash they caused. As a result, their auto insurance company will be liable for paying damages out of their policyholder’s liability insurance coverage to the accident victims.
But what if the at-fault driver is uninsured? Or what if their policy limits don’t cover the full extent of damages suffered by the accident victim in the event of a serious car crash?
In addition to the required coverage minimums, insurance companies in Georgia must offer uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This coverage applies if you were hurt in a car accident involving a driver who has no insurance, if the at-fault driver’s insurance isn’t enough to cover your damages, if you were hit by a car as a pedestrian or bicyclist, or if you were in a hit-and-run accident where the driver cannot be located. To opt-out of UM/UIM coverage in Georgia, a policyholder has to reject it in writing.
The state of Georgia typically classifies uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage into 2 categories:
- Traditional (“non-stacking”) UM/UIM. Under this type of policy, your UM/UIM coverage is reduced by the other driver’s available liability insurance. So, for instance, if you have a $50,000 traditional underinsured motorist policy and the at-fault driver has $25,000 in liability coverage (the state minimum), then you would only be entitled to $25,000 in UIM coverage ($50,000 minus $25,000).
- New (“stacking”) UM/UIM. Under a new UM/UIM policy, your coverage “stacks” or adds to the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. So, using the same example, you would have access to a total of $75,000 from both your uninsured motorist policy and the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. Unsurprisingly, this type of coverage is usually more expensive than a non-stacking policy.
The purpose of additional UM/UIM coverage is to provide financial protection under your own auto insurance policy if you are hit by another driver that either has no insurance at all or has a limited policy that isn’t sufficient to cover your total damages.
What if I don’t have UM/UIM insurance coverage?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but what if you don’t have UM/UIM coverage and were hit by an uninsured driver — or what if you were the victim in a hit-and-run accident where the other driver fled the scene without stopping?
In Georgia, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault individual if they don’t have the minimum required insurance. If your claim is successful, the judge will order your injuries and damages to be paid out-of-pocket by the uninsured person.
An important factor to consider when it comes to suing an uninsured driver is that a lawsuit takes time, money and tremendous effort — not to mention the stress and hassle you may have to deal with as you await a verdict. Plus, even if the other driver is proven to be 100% responsible and ordered to pay for your damages, there may still be a question of whether they are financially capable of paying. Liens and payment plans may be necessary to secure your compensation, but if they have no assets and declare bankruptcy, then you may have a hard time actually getting your financial recovery.
That said, there are good reasons to sue an uninsured driver. However, these cases are often highly contested, drawn-out and complex. For these reasons and more, it’s vital you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable car accident attorney near you to discuss filing a personal injury lawsuit.
What to do if you’re in a crash with an uninsured driver
If you’ve been in a wreck with an uninsured driver, follow these 6 steps:
- Call the police. After any crash (especially one involving an uninsured motorist), you should dial 911 and have local law enforcement come to the scene of the accident to write a police report. An accident report is often required to file an insurance claim and can be an important piece of evidence in a lawsuit (if it comes to that).
- Take pictures. If it’s safe to do so and you’re not seriously injured, try to take some photos of the accident scene — including damage to all vehicles involved and the surroundings where the crash occurred (weather, road conditions, etc.). You can use your phone to take pictures or video.
- Exchange information. The police officer that responds to the accident should take down the other driver’s information, but you should, as well. Even if the other driver has no insurance, be sure to get their first and last name, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number (and state) and vehicle make and model. Also, try to get the contact information for any eyewitnesses who saw the crash.
- Contact your insurance company. Even if the other driver was at fault and is uninsured, it’s vital that you notify your own auto insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. If you have UM/UIM coverage, the agent can help you file a claim and start the process of receiving your benefits. If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, they can help explain your options.
- See a doctor. You should always take care of yourself by seeking medical care immediately following an accident. Even if you don’t “feel” hurt, it’s important you get a full medical evaluation since some injuries don’t have obvious symptoms or pain right away but get worse if untreated. You can worry about how your bills will be paid later; for now, focus on your health and well-being.
- Consult an attorney. If you have UM/UIM coverage and your injuries or damage were minor, then you might be fully covered and no further action is needed. However, if you don’t have coverage and wish to sue the at-fault uninsured driver, or if the cost of your injuries and damage exceeds the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, it’s time to get expert legal advice from an Atlanta car accident lawyer who has handled these types of complicated cases before.
At Scholle Law, we’ve represented car accident victims for over 20 years and we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in personal injury verdicts and settlements across the state of Georgia, including in uninsured car accident cases. We invite you to get free legal advice from our Atlanta offices to find out how we can help secure the compensation and justice you deserve.
Tell an experienced lawyer about your loss to learn about your options.We’re available 24/7 and your first consultation is free.
Call 866-972-5287 or send us a message online