The usual advice for anyone incurring property damage or injuries in a car wreck in Roswell GA, for which they were not at fault is to seek compensation from the insurance company of the party at fault. This is great advice, but what happens when the party at fault is uninsured or underinsured? The immediate solution is to consult an uninsured motorist accident lawyer near Roswell.
Accidents involving uninsured motorists are quite numerous in Fulton County and especially Roswell. The Insurance Information Institute reports that, according to the 2015 statistics, more than 12% of the motorists in Georgia do not carry the minimum liability insurance.
In theory, when there is no insurance company to seek compensation from, accident victims have the option of filing a lawsuit against the party at fault in civil court. In practice, all experienced uninsured motorist accident attorneys can confirm that this is rarely a viable approach.
Just the fact that the respective motorist disobeyed the law to save a few dollars is evidence enough that they are irresponsible and they have a precarious financial situation. Even if someone turns to an uninsured motorist accident lawyer, takes them to court, and obtains a favorable verdict, there is no guarantee they will manage to actually recover the compensation the court awards.
Even if they do recover some money, after years of court trials, and valuable time and energy invested by both the claimant and their uninsured motorist accident attorney, chances are that money will not even cover their court trial expenses.
Of course, this does not mean the victim of the accident should give up the idea of obtaining compensation and cover the losses they incurred themselves. It only means they should take the time to call an uninsured motorist accident lawyer to find out what options they have and what the best course of action is.
At The Weinstein Firm, our uninsured motorist accident attorneys understand the difficult situation their potential clients are in and do everything in their power to help. One of the things we do is providing a free case evaluation.
During this evaluation, clients have the chance to tell their story, present any evidence they have, and receive the answers they need. Our uninsured motorist accident lawyers listen to the case details, carefully review the available documents, ask any questions they consider necessary and share their opinion with the clients.
In most cases, this is also the moment when our collaboration takes an official turn. Our injury firm near Roswell offers our clients contingency agreements, the latter never hesitate to hire us to represent them. If we do not win, they do not have to pay the uninsured motorist accident lawyer who represented them, so they have nothing to lose.
If we win, our service fee is directly proportional to the compensation we obtain, so it is in our best interest to fight for more consistent compensation. Our uninsured motorist accident lawyers know their job, and they always identify and pursue the best solution for our clients.
The best way to understand how important it is to work with an experienced uninsured motorist accident attorney and how helpful the latter can be is to find out more about the insurance requirements in Georgia.
Georgia Liability Insurance Requirements
All drivers in Georgia need to carry minimum liability insurance coverage of $25,000/person and $50,000/event for bodily injury and $25,000/event for property damage. The purpose of the insurance is to cover the property damage and injuries that may result from an accident for which the insured driver is at fault.
This is the money to which, at least in theory, any accident victim or their uninsured motorist accident lawyer should have access in order to recover their losses as a result of the accident. When this money is not available, there are two scenarios possible, each with its own repercussions.
The Driver at Fault Is Underinsured
Sometimes, the driver at fault does carry some insurance, but less than the minimum requirements in force in Georgia. When this happens, the priority of the victim and of their uninsured motorist accident attorney, if they hire one, should be to identify how much coverage the driver has available and if the coverage is enough to cover the losses of the victim.
If the victim’s losses are lower than the coverage available, the victim and their uninsured personal injury attorney have to file a compensation claim with the driver’s insurer. If the coverage is lower than the amount the victim needs to recover, the latter can still file the claim against the insurer and obtain whatever money available and find another solution to recover the difference.
Depending on the particularities of their case and the experience of their uninsured motorist accident attorney, they may be able to recover the difference from the driver by filing a lawsuit against them in civil court, or from their own insurer, if they have uninsured motorist coverage.
In theory, this last option, if available, is the safest. However, its availability should be established by an experienced uninsured motorist accident lawyer, by checking what type of coverage their client has acquired, and what terms and conditions govern that coverage.
The Driver at Fault Does Not Carry Any Type of Liability Insurance
When the driver responsible for the accident is uninsured, the victim has the same two options: filing a lawsuit against them in civil court, or seeking compensation from their own insurer. Again, the best approach would be to request the advice of an uninsured motorist accident attorney.
In most cases, the lawyer will first study the insurance status and coverage of their client to determine if the latter has uninsured motorist coverage. If they do, the lawyer will most likely recommend seeking compensation from their own insurance company.
If there is no coverage available, the uninsured motorist accident attorney will most likely investigate the party at fault, to see what chances they have to obtain compensation through a court trial. Their recommendations will reflect the findings of the investigation.
As mentioned above, The Weinstein Firm uninsured motorist accident attorneys prefer to file compensation claims against insurance companies. If their client has adequate coverage, it is important for the latter to understand how this type of coverage works.
Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage
When a driver purchases coverage for their vehicle, the law requires the insurance agent to offer uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as well. Offering it is in the agent’s best interest anyway, since they sell more.
Those who do not remember rejecting the offer probably received it as part of their insurance package. It is quite common for The Weinstein Firm uninsured motorist accident attorneys to discover that their clients have more insurance coverage than they knew or requested.
Those who are not sure what type of coverage they have available should check the Declarations section of their insurance policy. Another solution is to bring their insurance papers to one of our car accident lawyers to review them.
Assuming the attorney discovers that their client is insured, they will not hesitate to inform the latter of their rights and benefits. Uninsured motorist coverage holders can benefit from it if they are injured in a car accident, and the following circumstances applied:
- The party at fault is uninsured
- The party at fault is underinsured
- The party at fault flees the scene and cannot be identified
- The coverage beneficiary was walking or cycling when the accident occurred.
As our uninsured motorist accident attorneys often underline to their clients, these insurance policies cover not only the policyholder, but also their spouse, children, and step-children on the condition that they have the same residence, anyone driving the holder’s vehicle with their consent, and the policy holder’s passengers.
Thus, even if someone hurt in an accident by an uninsured motorist does not have adequate coverage, they may be able to use their spouse’s coverage. They can easily find out if that is the case by reviewing their spouse’s insurance policy with their uninsured motorist accident lawyer.
Another important aspect worth clarifying about uninsured motorist policies is that they are of two types:
- Stalking policies add to, complete, or replace the coverage of the driver at fault. Let’s say the owner of a stalking policy with $30,000 coverage incurs losses of $50,000 in an accident caused by a driver with liability coverage of only $20,000. They can stalk their own coverage on top of that of the driver at fault and collect all $50,000: $20,000 from the insurance company of the driver at fault, and $30,000 from their own insurer.
- Non-stacking policies are also known as “traditional” or “reduction” insurance coverage. Holders or their uninsured motorist accident attorneys can only access these policies if the driver at fault has lower coverage. Also, this type of policy will only cover the difference from the driver at fault’s coverage, no matter what losses the holder has to cover. Let’s say the policyholder incurs personal injury losses of $50,000 and the driver at fault has only $25,000 liability coverage. The non-stalking policyholder can only recover the difference of $25,000 if their coverage is minimum of $50,000. If they have coverage of only $40,000, they will only be able to recover $15,000 from their own insurer and will lose the remaining $10,000, unless their uninsured motorist accident attorney manages to find another solution.
Of course, these calculations are only simple in theory. In practice, uninsured motorist accident attorneys know that insurance companies do not really care what losses their clients incurred and will do everything in their power to pay as little as possible.
That is why all compensation claims, no matter what type of expenses they cover or with whom they are filed, need to rely on conclusive, solid evidence. At The Weinstein Firm, our uninsured motorist accident lawyers always support the claims they handle with consistent evidence, some of them acquired through their own investigations.
This way, they avoid any delays and inconsistencies in the claim filing process, and they increase their chances of obtaining a higher compensation for their client. To better understand the importance of working with an experienced uninsured motorist accident attorney, it may help to take a closer look at the claim filing process and the role of the lawyer in it.
How a Lawyer Can Help An Uninsured Motorist Claim
The claim process is usually the same for all accidents in Georgia, the only difference being that when the party at fault is uninsured or underinsured the claimant needs to show this in the documentation they submit. If they file the claim with their own insurer, they will also need to show evidence of any previous proceedings involving the party at fault or their insurer.
Otherwise, filing an uninsured motorist accident claim involved the following steps:
This step is a mere routine for an experienced uninsured motorist accident lawyer. They need to organize the evidence they have gathered and presented it in the written presentation in such a way as to show as clearly as possible:
- How the accident occurred
- Who was at fault
- What damages and injuries their client incurred
- What expenses and losses those injuries and damages brought about.
At this point, the claimant already knows that the compensation can cover any or all of the following types of expenses: property damage, medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, lost wages and working capacity
Once the claim is ready, this step is a simple formality for any uninsured motorist accident lawyer in Roswell. It is important to take it on time, though, as there is a time limit for it. According to Georgia statutes of limitations, property damages claims require filing within four years from the accident date, and personal injury claims require filing within two years from the accident date.
Settlement Negotiation or Appeal
When the insurance company responds to the claim, their answer will be either a denial, a letter saying they find the evidence inconclusive and they will not pay any compensation or a settlement offer.
Depending on the response and the claimant’s expectations, the latter can accept the settlement or file an appeal. It is important not to make this decision without consulting an experienced uninsured motorist accident lawyer, as once the settlement is accepted, there is nothing an attorney can do to obtain more money for their client.
If the claimant decides the settlement offer is unacceptable, they can file the appeal with the defendant’s claim supervisor, or, if the response received at this stage is not satisfactory, with the civil court.
The Weinstein Firm uninsured motorist accident attorneys stand by our clients every step of the way, advising them, taking over the paperwork and formalities, and helping them save time, money, and effort. We do not rest until we obtain rightful compensation for our clients.
Get The Help You Need From An Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer Near Roswell, GA
If you incurred losses in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, recovering those losses could be a challenge. Contact an uninsured motorist accident lawyer at The Weinstein Firm now, and let them turn the odds in your favor. Since we offer free case evaluations and contingency agreements, the risks are all ours, and the benefits are all yours. Discover them now!