Should I File a Claim with My Insurance Carrier After an Auto Accident in Georgia?
Should I file an accident injury claim against my own auto insurance following an accident caused by someone else?
In just about every case, the answer is yes, and you should do so quickly following your accident. The reason why is because you may not realize you need your own coverage until later, and if you do not file your accident claim with your insurance carrier early, it can deny coverage for untimely notice.
Why should I file a claim against my own insurance company when I'm not at fault?
When you make a claim against your own insurance, you are doing so in order to protect your contractual right to claim uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (if you have it). This type of coverage would apply if the person who caused your injuries has no liability insurance, or does not have enough coverage to compensate you. Moreover, you may also be covered by Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage, a no-fault type of insurance that can pay some or all of your accident-related medical expenses, depending on the amount of coverage and expenses.
Will my rates go up if a file a claim with my own insurance?
Many people injured by a negligent drivers are hesitant out of concerns that filing their claim with their own insurance company would cause monthly premiums to go up. However, according to O.C.G.A. § 33-9-40, insurance companies are prohibited from increasing premiums or cancelling coverage as a result of multi-vehicle accidents when their policy holders are not at fault.
Why shouldn't I wait until I realize I need the insurance before filing the claim?
It is important to recognize how imperative it is to make these types of claims early. After being involved in automobile accidents, most people with orthopedic injuries may not know the full extent and nature of their injuries until weeks or even months later. A typical example would be a patient who begins experiencing neck pain following a rear-end collision caused by someone else. If that person goes to an orthopedist, that doctor will commonly order physical therapy as the first course of treatment. If therapy fails to relieve the symptoms after several weeks, the doctor might order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study, and if it shows a problem in the spine, such as a herniated disc, that patient could be a candidate for epidural steroid injections or even surgery. As such, the patient may not know the full nature and severity of their injury for months. The type of injury and resulting treatment in the above example highlights an increased possibility that the amount of insurance available covering the at-fault driver may not be enough to cover the patient's injuries. After all, Georgia's legal minimum bodily injury liability coverage is only $25,000.00 per person, $50,000.00 per accident. If the plaintiff fails to notify their insurance carrier in the amount of time required under their policy, they could lose their ability to pursue underinsured motorist coverage for their injuries.
Additionally, an accident victim may be covered under auto accident policies owned by any household family members. In other words, if you live with a family member who has auto insurance, you are generally covered under the family member's insurance by virtue of living with them. This is called "resident relative" coverage. As such, you should always make sure that you notify your attorney of all auto insurance policies in your home, so that you can make sure to preserve your ability to claim the maximum amount of coverage available. You never know if you will need it.
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Do you have questions about your accident claim? If you or a loved one have been harmed in an accident caused by a negligent, distracted, or drunk driver, contact Montlick & Associates, Injury Attorneys, for your free consultation today. Our law firm has been representing those who suffer serious injuries for over 38 years, and our attorneys have recovered billions of dollars for our clients.
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