What UM/UIM Insurance Can Do For You
Many people do not realize the critical importance of uninsured motorist coverage or uninsured motorist coverage until it is too late. Georgia’s minimum auto insurance coverage requirement is a meager $25,000 per accident victim.
If you suffer serious injury in a car accident where the other driver has the minimum coverage, this amount of insurance can be woefully inadequate. While the driver who is at-fault may have assets such as equity in a home from which an accident victim can enforce a judgement for damages above the $25,000 minimum, the liable driver may not have any assets or sufficient assets to satisfy the difference in the judgement. And pursuing those assets is often not cost effective and can involve a lengthy process. In contrast, most of the time a settlement can be made with an insurance company at some point.
Additionally, even where a driver has adequate assets to satisfy a judgement, a negligent driver may file bankruptcy to avoid personal liability for any outstanding damages awarded in a personal injury claim or lawsuit that exceeds the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver. However, an at-fault driver may not file bankruptcy to be relieved of the obligation to pay a judgment in a Georgia auto accident lawsuit if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol which caused the collision.
Section 523(a)(9) of the United States Bankruptcy Code excludes from discharge debts arising from the “death or personal injury caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft if such operation was unlawful because the debtor was intoxicated from using alcohol, a drug, or another substance.” This provision may be used to enforce a judgement against a person who files bankruptcy following a judgment related to a DUI accident that results in personal injury or wrongful death. Of course, the prospect of ultimately collecting the money under this circumstance is related to the ability of the debtor/defendant to earn enough money to pay.
When you are involved in an auto accident with a driver who has no insurance or insufficient coverage, UM/UIM coverage can provide critical financial resources. Georgia law allows car accident victim to stack available coverage. If you are involved in an accident where the at-fault driver has only $25,000 in coverage but you suffer $200,000 in losses, you can stack your UM/UIM coverage on top of the other driver’s coverage. If you had at least $175,000 in UM/UIM coverage in the example above, you would be completely compensated by stacking your coverage on top of the $25,000 from the at-fault driver.
Additionally, UM/UIM coverage will pay benefits when an auto accident is caused by another driver, but their identity is unknown- as in the case where there is a hit and run driver.
UM/UIM insurance is also relatively inexpensive compared to the minimum liability coverage that you are required to carry under Georgia law. It is highly advisable to maintain at least $100,000 to $500,000 in UM/UIM and even more if you can afford it. If you are involved in a car accident with a driver with no insurance or who is underinsured, it may mean the difference between your family maintaining its standard of living and bankruptcy.
At Montlick and Associates, we have been representing Georgia car accident victims involved in collisions with uninsured drivers and underinsured drivers for over 36 years. Our experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers carefully investigate our clients’ accidents to identify every source available to help our clients get the compensation they need and deserve to recover and provide for their family in the aftermath of an Atlanta car crash that results in catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death.
Our experienced Georgia UM/UIM accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.