One of the main purposes of car insurance is to help make you whole if you are injured in a car accident. However, not all car owners have enough insurance coverage or any at all. Unfortunately, it happens more often that it should – a person gets injured in a motor vehicle accident and suffers serious injury, and the person who caused the accident does not have car insurance. Sometimes, the at-fault driver may have some car insurance, but it’s not enough to wholly compensate the injured victim. So what can the injured person do to make sure they are fully compensated for their injuries? This is where you uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in your own car insurance policy comes into play.
Georgia law requires that all vehicles have a minimum amount of liability insurance of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for body injury. Unfortunately, many car owners do not comply with this law and are guilty of driving their car on the streets without any car insurance. Even more unfortunate is the person who happens to get hit by one of these car owners and injured as a result. There will be no insurance coverage by the at-fault driver to cover his injuries. Other times, you may be injured in a car accident and even though the at-fault driver has the minimum amount of car insurance, the $25,000 is still not enough to compensate you for your injuries and medical bills.
Uninsured motorist coverage, or UM coverage, is exactly what it sounds like. UM coverage is an option on your car insurance policy that provides you coverage if you are involved in a car accident with someone who does not have car insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage, or UIM coverage, is the option on your car insurance policy that provides the extra coverage you need for when the at-fault driver’s minimum policy does not compensate you fully for your injuries.
It is recommended that all car owners in Georgia have not only the required minimum liability auto insurance policy, but also UM and UIM coverage as well. This way, you will be protected if you are injured in a car accident.
To take advantage of UIM coverage, you must first exhaust all available liability coverage that the at-fault driver has, and then look to your UIM policy to cover the deficit. For example, if your medical bills are $75,000 and the at-fault driver only has $25,000, you could look to your UIM policy to cover the remaining $50,000. Damages such as future medical expenses, lost wages, as well as past and future pain and suffering can also be recovered through IUM coverage.
You should be aware, though, that just because you are making a claim on your own UM or UIM policy, the insurance company may still try to pay the least amount possible, and get you to settle early. This is where speaking to a car accident attorney can help you maximize your recovery.
If you or your loved one have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, talk to an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm to learn how to maximize your recovery for your damages.