When you purchase auto insurance, you get to choose your policy limits. As long as your policy covers the minimum amounts required by law, you can choose to purchase additional coverage. The problem is that, if you get into a crash, the other driver’s policy may not cover your accident damages. If this is the case, we suggest you contact one of our car accident lawyers in Carrollton right away.
Here, we’ll discuss what your options are if the defendant’s insurance doesn’t cover all your damages.
All Drivers in Georgia Are Required to Carry Auto Insurance
According to Georgia law, all motorists are required to carry auto insurance. There are two types of insurance. The first type is liability insurance. This only covers damages suffered by the other party in a crash.
The other type of insurance is comprehensive insurance. This covers any physical damages caused to either driver. It also covers any bodily injuries suffered by the people involved in the accident.
The problem is that some drivers choose to carry more insurance than others.
The Law Requires Motorists to Maintain a Certain Minimum Amount of Coverage
In Georgia, all drivers are required to carry a certain amount of auto insurance coverage. While you can opt to purchase additional insurance, you must maintain at least the following:
- Coverage for Bodily Injury – $25,000 per injured person and $50,000 per accident
- Property Damage – $25,000 per accident
If the other driver only has the bare minimum policy limits, there’s a good chance your damages could exceed these limits. For example, if your damages are $100,000 and the other driver has the minimum policy limits, then at least $50,000.
The question is – how can your Carrollton accident attorney recover these excess damages?
If Your Injuries Were Serious, Your Accident Damages May Be Quite High
Depending on the type of accident you were involved in, your injuries may have been quite serious. If your accident was minor, there’s a good chance the defendant’s insurance policy will cover your damages.
After all, medical bills tend to make up a large portion of your damages. If your injuries were minor, it may not have cost all that much for medical treatment.
If, however, you suffered life-threatening injuries, your medical bills will be a lot higher than anticipated. For example, if you require surgery and spend a couple of days in the hospital, your medical bills can easily exceed $100,000.
What Kind of Damages Can Your Carrollton Accident Attorney Demand on Your Behalf?
In order to determine whether the defendant’s insurance policy will cover your total accident damages, it’s important to discuss what damages you may be entitled to. In most cases our car accident lawyers in Carrollton handle, our clients receive some, or all of the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical bills
Let’s take a moment to discuss each of these in more detail.
You Will Likely Be Entitled to Reimbursement for Any Medical Bills
If you paid out-of-pocket for any of your medical bills, you can demand reimbursement. The same is true for any bills paid by your private health insurance provider. This would include everything from the ambulance ride to the hospital to any surgeries you needed.
In addition to any current medical bills related to your accident, your Carrollton car accident attorney can demand future medical bills as well. Your doctor can testify as to what future medical care you may need.
Once your accident lawyer in Carrollton identifies the present-day value of these bills, they can demand compensation from the defendant.
Obviously, the Defendant Will Be Responsible for the Costs to Repair or Replace Your Vehicle
If your vehicle is damaged in the accident, the other driver will be responsible for paying to repair it. You’ll take your car to a mechanic immediately after the crash and they’ll provide you with an estimate.
If your own insurance carrier refuses to pay to get your car fixed, you can pay out-of-pocket. Your Carrollton car accident lawyer will then demand that the defendant reimburse you these monies.
If your car is destroyed in the crash, then you can demand that you be paid the fair market value for your vehicle.
It’s important to remember that you are only entitled to the actual value of the car at the time of the collision. The defendant isn’t required to pay for a brand-new vehicle.
Your Accident Lawyer in Carrollton May Be Able to Prove Damages for Lost Wages
If you miss any time from work as a result of the crash, the defendant can be liable for this as well. Your car accident lawyer in Carrollton can demand that you be compensated for any lost wages you’ve experienced.
In addition, you will be entitled to any lost future income you’ll experience. Your attorney will take the difference between what you would’ve earned had the crash not taken place and what you’ll actually earn now. Whatever the difference is, they’ll multiply it by the number of years before you can retire.
Depending on the Nature and Extent of Your Injuries, You May Be Entitled to Pain and Suffering
As with most other personal injury cases, you’ll likely be entitled to damages for pain and suffering. These damages are meant to cover any physical and mental anguish you suffer.
These damages tend to make up the lion’s share of your settlement. It is here that your Carrollton accident attorney will have the most leeway when they attempt to negotiate a settlement.
Typically, the Insurance Company Won’t Settle for an Amount That Exceeds Coverage Limits
Typically, the insurance company will only settle if they can agree on an amount that is below their client’s coverage limits. For example, if their policy covers $125,000 and your damages are $200,000, the most they’ll settle for is $125,000.
This can cause a problem when your accident lawyer in Carrollton is negotiating your settlement. Sometimes, there is just too much of a gap between the defendant’s coverage limits and your total accident damages.
Your Carrollton Accident Attorney May Need to Pursue the Other Driver Personally
If your Carrollton accident attorney is unable to negotiate a settlement, you may have to pursue the other driver personally. This is always a last resort. When you attempt to collect a judgment, you’re limited to the assets the other party has.
Since many types of assets are protected by Georgia law, there is a limit to how much you can collect. This is why we always suggest that you try to settle your case with the insurance company directly.
Ideally, Your Accident Lawyer in Carrollton Will Negotiate a Fair Settlement
There are times when our accident lawyers in Carrollton handle a case where the defendant’s insurance doesn’t cover our client’s damages. Thankfully, these cases are few and far between. Typically, we’re able to negotiate a settlement that is within the other driver’s policy limits.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and suffered devastating injuries, you may be entitled to significant accident damages. The only way to know for sure is to talk to a Carrollton accident attorney.
We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. Contact us today.