Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists Accidents
All Georgia drivers must carry insurance with certain minimum coverage amounts. Insurance policies must cover a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Unfortunately, some people drive without the proper coverage. Furthermore, a serious crash can quickly exceed policy limits, leaving a victim without a way to pay for the full costs of his or her injuries. Accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists can get complicated when trying to get reimbursement. If you were harmed in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, Atlanta car accident attorney Terrence R. Bethune can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
SEEK DAMAGES FROM A NEGLIGENT DRIVER
People who are hurt in a collision caused by a driver’s carelessness can file a negligence lawsuit, whether or not the driver has insurance. This claim will allege that:
- The driver owed the victim a duty of reasonable care;
- The driver breached that duty;
- The breach caused an accident that resulted in injuries; and
- The injuries led to actual damages that can be compensated.
Every person needs to comply with the duty of reasonable care, which Georgia courts have interpreted as avoiding behavior that would needlessly endanger the safety of others. This means that someone who breaks a traffic rule and exceeds a posted speed limit, runs a red light, or fails to yield at an intersection may have breached this duty.
Another key step in establishing liability is causation. The defendant must be both the cause in fact and the legal cause of the accident. To be the cause in fact of your injuries, the defendant’s actions must have been a necessary link in the causal chain of events that led to the crash. In other words, you must show that you would not have been harmed without his or her failure to act with the required level of care. To prove proximate cause, your injuries must have been a foreseeable result of the defendant’s behavior.
Someone who succeeds in a negligence lawsuit may be able to recover damages from a careless driver, regardless of whether that driver has insurance. Both objective and subjective losses can be compensated, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Defendants whose carelessness was especially egregious may be held liable for punitive damages as well as compensatory damages.
In 2009, the state law was changed to give Georgia residents a chance to buy certain types of uninsured motorist coverage. If you have this type of insurance on your policy, you are covered in the event of a crash involving an uninsured driver. This coverage may also provide you with additional protection should your injuries exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s policy. Rather than filing a negligence lawsuit against whoever was responsible, some people with uninsured motorist coverage may choose to file a claim with their own insurance company.
A lawyer also may be helpful in making a claim with your own insurance company. Often, insurance companies are concerned with minimizing costs, so you may need an attorney on your side to ensure that your insurer reimburses you for the full amount of your injuries.
PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF INJURED GEORGIA RESIDENTS
If you were hurt in a car accident, you should make sure to contact an experienced attorney without delay. Taking this step puts you in a better position to deal with insurance companies, evaluate who was at fault, and seek the compensation that you deserve by whatever means is suited to your situation. Since 1997, injury lawyer Terrence R. Bethune has helped Georgia residents recover from serious accidents. To see if he can help you, fill out our contact form or call 1-800-INJURED.