In the state of Georgia, any driver on the roads is legally required to have a minimum amount of insurance coverage. Most citizens of Georgia abide by this law and carry the required insurance, but there will always be a small percentage of drivers who do not. About 12% of drivers on the road in Georgia are uninsured – that’s about one car in eight on the roads. That is a problem, but perhaps a larger problem is the number of drivers in Sandy Springs who are underinsured. This means that they have at least the state’s minimum insurance, but the insurance coverage they have is not robust enough to pay for the costs incurred in a car accident. If you have been involved in a car accident involving a driver who is either uninsured, or underinsured, this does not change your right to compensation, and so you should consult an uninsured motorist accident lawyer near Sandy Springs, GA as soon as you can.
The staff of experienced uninsured lawyers here at The Weinstein Firm serving Sandy Springs, GA is ready to help you. Our uninsured motorist attorneys are among the most knowledgeable in the Sandy Springs area, and we are dedicated to the idea that everyone deserves competent, strong legal representation on par with the corporate lawyers and monolithic insurance companies on the other side of the negotiating table. Our mission is to be our clients’ closest ally and strongest advocate, exploring every legal route to recovering the compensation our clients deserve – and this mission does not change when the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. Our injury firm near Sandy Springs, GA, is ready and willing to help you.
If you have been involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, call The Weinstein Firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our uninsured motorist accident lawyers right away.
What Should I Do After an Accident in Sandy Springs with an Uninsured Motorist?
The most important steps you should take after an accident with an insured motorist are essentially the same as with any other car accident – but be aware that the other driver, if they are uninsured, will likely push to settle out-of-pocket, without involving emergency personnel or police. It is vitally important that you do not agree to this – there is no way for you to tell the extent of damage or potential injury you have suffered while at the scene of the accident. You must insist on calling the police, if you are able, in order to protect yourself and your rights. The most important thing that you can do at the scene of an accident with an uninsured motorist is to be your own strongest advocate.
- Contact emergency services, including police.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver. Exchange driver’s licenses, to make sure that you get the driver’s real name and information. You may offer your own insurance information even if the other driver has none. Exchange license plate numbers, and note their vehicle’s make and model.
- Keep Calm. Sometimes, uninsured drivers can lose their cool at the scene of an accident, insisting that the police not be involved, or attempting to blame you. It is very important for you to stay calm. Do not apologize, do not admit fault in any way, and do not try to justify or explain any part of the accident. Explain what happened only to the police when they arrive.
- Speak to witnesses. If there are witnesses at the scene, try to get contact information from them. Their perspective on the accident could be valuable to your case.
- Take pictures of everything. Since nearly everyone has a camera in their back pocket thanks to smartphones, it is easier than ever to document the scene of an accident. Take photos of the damage, injuries, the scene, and any details like skid marks or other property damage.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, see a doctor as soon as you can after the accident. Serious injuries may not show symptoms for hours or days after an accident, and catching these early is not only beneficial for your health – it is beneficial to your case.
Finally, after all of the work to be done at the scene and immediately following the accident are done, it is time to seek out a car accident attorney serving Sandy Springs GA. You are entitled to full compensation for your damages and injuries regardless of the at-fault driver’s insurance situation, but you need to have uninsured motorist attorneys on board from the beginning to ensure that your case goes as smoothly as possible.
How Can I Recover Compensation from an Uninsured Driver?
In most car accident injury cases, the settlements are paid out by an insurance company, not the at-fault driver themselves. A natural question that arises, then, in an uninsured motorist car accident, is “How will I get paid?”
First and foremost, we always encourage people to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy. If you do, then your own insurance policy will be able to compensate you for your damages and injuries. However, if you have already had an accident, and you did not have uninsured motorist coverage at the time, it may be too late to add this coverage. In this case, you can work with an uninsured motorist accident lawyer near Sandy Springs, GA, to identify other ways you can recover damages. There are a number of avenues available to you for this purpose, and your uninsured motorist accident attorney can advise you as to the best way to facilitate this process.
First, while the at-fault driver may not have car insurance, sometimes they have other insurance policies that can cover some of the damages. In an accident involving more than two parties, one of the other parties’ insurance may be able to contribute. Finally, your own insurance company may cover a portion of costs. Finally, the at-fault driver could be ordered by a court to compensate you out of their own pocket, and may be asked to sell assets, or face wage garnishment, in order to ensure that you are paid. The exact course taken by your uninsured motorist attorney will depend upon the circumstances of your accident.
You may be hesitant to take another individual driver to court – we understand the reluctance. However, ask yourself if you can truly afford to take on all of these costs on your own, just due to the irresponsibility of someone else? As uninsured motorists accident lawyers serving Sandy Springs, Georgia, we find that most of the time, our clients can’t afford to go it alone. That is why our uninsured motorist accident attorneys will work hard to help you recover the compensation you need. No one wants to be the ‘bad guy’ in a courtroom, but your injuries are real, your lost wages are real, and your damages are real – you are absolutely not going to be the bad guy by seeking to recover those costs from the person who caused you to incur them.
What if the Insurance Company Offers a Small Settlement Because their Client is Underinsured?
Sometimes, in early negotiations with an insurance company following an accident, the insurance company will claim the other driver is only insured for a small amount of money. As a result, the settlement they offer is similarly small – clearly not enough to cover your costs. If this is the limit of the driver’s coverage, should you take the offer?
No! Never agree to any insurance settlement offer without talking to your personal injury lawyer first. This is true for any settlement offer, and doubly true if the settlement clearly doesn’t cover your costs. The first settlement an insurance company offers you is almost always a low-ball offer that will not be the full, fair and just settlement to which you are entitled. If you accept any settlement, however small or large, you will sign away your right to seek any further compensation. As uninsured motorist accident lawyers, we can tell you that it’s just not worth it.
When Should I File an Uninsured Motorist Car Accident Claim in Sandy Springs, GA?
The courts in the state of Georgia, including those in Sandy Springs, follow the same statutes of limitation set by federal law. As such, any car accident injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of the accident itself. The at-fault driver’s insurance situation has no bearing on this statute of limitations. This statute is the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. The time within which you must file insurance claims is sometimes as brief as weeks following an accident. Missing this deadline could mean forfeiting your right to recover compensation entirely, so don’t delay. Your uninsured motorist accident lawyer near Sandy Springs, GA, can help you ensure your claims are filed on time.
How Claims for Uninsured Motorist Accidents are Filed
Filing a claim directly against the uninsured driver of a vehicle is a little different than filing a claim against that driver’s insurance company. The injured victims of auto accidents in which an uninsured or underinsured driver is at fault are known as a first-party (rather than third-party) claims. In a first-party claim, your uninsured motorist accident lawyer may advise you to file a claim against your own insurance company, making this a suit about your own insurance contract rather than the accident itself.
If your insurance policy has uninsured motorist coverage, this coverage will most likely provide compensation in situations where the at-fault driver has no insurance at all. If the at-fault driver is underinsured, then your own uninsured motorist coverage will take over when the at-fault driver’s coverage amounts are exhausted. In these cases, sometimes you can recover your compensation without the aid of an uninsured motorist accident lawyer near Sandy Springs GA – but it is always good to speak with one about your case because the process is not always straightforward.
In order to file a claim for an uninsured or underinsured motorist against your own insurance company, you should consult with an uninsured motorist accident attorney in order to make sure that you exhaust any other potential compensation sources. For instance, if the at-fault driver has a liability policy covering $30,000, and your uninsured motorist coverage has a $100,000 limit, you must file and recover a $30,000 claim against the other driver’s insurance before you can attempt to file a claim on your own insurance. The process can be a little confusing, so the help of an uninsured motorist accident lawyer is recommended.
Insurance companies claim to hold the best interests of their customers at heart, but they frequently undervalue the claims before them – even your own insurance company, which you may have been with for years, will try to undercut you in the name of their own bottom line. The primary goal of an insurance company is to make the most profit it can, and paying out undervalued settlements is a key part of that plan. Insurance companies will almost always begin by offering bare-minimum, low-ball settlement amounts, sometimes even claiming that this is their “best and final” offer. Telling them that you are working with an uninsured motorist accident lawyer will ensure that they don’t try these tactics, and will result in your recovering a larger compensation amount.
Speak to an Uninsured Motorist Accident Lawyer Near Sandy Springs Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident where the at-fault driver had no insurance or does not have enough insurance, this does not mean you’re out of luck and left holding the bag. With the help of the experienced uninsured motorist accident lawyers here at The Weinstein Firm serving Sandy Springs, you can recover the maximum possible compensation from one or several of a variety of sources.