One of the most challenging situations for an Atlanta car accident lawyer is when their client was hit by an uninsured driver. This is a very serious situation because you are likely tens of thousands of dollars in debt as a result of your injuries and property damage.
Moments after the crash, you were already thinking about filing an insurance claim. Then the police arrive at the accident scene to investigate it. And they find out that the other driver is uninsured. At this point, you may even doubt whether an Atlanta car accident lawyer can do anything for you.
What are your recovery options if you were hit by an uninsured driver? In reality, an experienced lawyer can find ways to help you recover at least a part of your medical care costs and lost wages. However, you must schedule a free case review with one of our lawyers as soon as possible after the crash and before you make any kind of personal attempts to recover the damages from the other driver.
What Are the Consequences of Driving without Insurance in Georgia?
Our state has clear laws for drivers. When you register a car in Georgia, you are obliged to purchase liability coverage for at least:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage.
If a driver is involved in an accident or pulled over and the police discover that he is uninsured, the penalties are stiff, even on the first offense:
- $200 in fines
- Minimum 60 days license suspension
- $25 lapse fee
- $60 registration reinstatement fee.
If a person persists in driving without insurance, starting with the second offense the penalties are even more severe:
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Up to one year in jail
- Minimum 90 days license suspension
- $25 lapse fee
- Up to $160 registration reinstatement fee.
What Are Your Chances to Recover Damages from an Uninsured Driver?
Given the severity of penalties for an uninsured driver, one wonders: why would anyone risk them? And the most obvious answer is that they don’t afford to purchase insurance. Unfortunately, this is not a rare occurrence, and the simple fact is that a driver who doesn’t afford the monthly premium is likely to be unable to pay for your damages.
Once again, is there any point in retaining an Atlanta car accident lawyer if you were hit by an uninsured driver? You would be surprised, but a seasoned attorney can find ways to get you compensated.
Here are some potential options:
Getting Compensation Out of Your Own Insurance
First of all, the lawyer will want to look at your car insurance policy. It is possible that you may have purchased optional coverage, such as:
- Standard collision coverage
- Uninsured motorist coverage
- Comprehensive coverage.
If this is the case, the Atlanta car accident lawyer will help you file a claim against your own insurance policy. Do not think that just because you are dealing with your own insurer, they will be nice and accommodating. Just like any other insurance company, they want to minimize the amount of money they pay for claims. You will need an experienced lawyer to build a convincing case in your favor.
Actually, it is not unheard of for drivers who have a valid uninsured motorist coverage policy to take their insurer to court in order to obtain the compensation amount they are entitled to.
Suing the At-Fault Driver
While the most common reason why someone would drive uninsured is that they don’t afford it, this is not always the case. You can be hit by an uninsured driver who forgot to renew their insurance. There is no grace period – not even one day. Thus, there is a reasonable possibility that the at-fault driver affords insurance and you can also recover damages awarded by the small claims court by enforcing the judgment.
However, you will need an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer to look into the other driver’s financial situation and assess whether it is worth suing them. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you can be sure that we will make a thorough investigation before we advise you to take this course of action.
Finding a Different Liable Party
Car accidents are rarely simple and straightforward situations of “he is guilty, she is not”. In reality, a careful investigation of the circumstances of the crash can bring to light a different negligent party, who is even more at fault than the uninsured driver.
For example, the technical expertise of the other driver’s car may prove that the brakes or tires were defective. In this case, you will recover your damages from the manufacturer, distributor, or seller on the grounds of the product liability tort.
Or, it is possible that the uninsured driver was on the job, for instance making a delivery or sent by his employer on an errand. If this is the case, the employer is vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence in causing your accident. Thus, even if you were hit by an uninsured driver, you will be able to recover your damages from their employer.
Remember to Act within the Statute of Limitations
As you can see, there are ways to recover your damages even from an uninsured driver. However, one thing will put an end to any endeavors: taking legal action after the statute of limitations expired. In Georgia, you have two years after the date of your accident to file a lawsuit.
You may feel that this is a long time – but any Atlanta car accident lawyer can tell you that it is not. You may have to spend weeks in the hospital and then months in a rehabilitation center. Your lawyer will have to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement to calculate all your economic damages. Then, they will need time to prepare your case file and negotiate your settlement or argue your case in court.
Hit by an Uninsured Driver? Let an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Help You Recover Damages!
The team of car accident lawyers at H Groves Law is not afraid of taking on complex cases. And getting hit by an uninsured driver is very high on the complexity scale. We will analyze all the circumstances carefully and give you a realistic legal opinion.
You know that you have nothing to lose by bringing your case to us. We offer you a free case evaluation, giving you the chance to talk to a seasoned lawyer. If we believe that there are chances of recovery, we will represent you on a contingency fee basis. That means no fees until we win your compensation.
So do not let time go by, schedule an initial consultation with us as soon as possible after the accident by calling 770-329-1868!