Although these two terms are almost interchangeable, let’s look at this as a two-pronged question. Let’s start with getting hit by an uninsured driver. As I always tell my clients, it’s very important to protect yourself in case of the event that you’re hit by an uninsured driver. As of 2018, about 1 in every 8 drivers are uninsured. (Insurance Research Council) However, even if you’re hit by an uninsured driver, you do still have a chance of recovery, but it won’t be from the person that hit you. They obviously don’t have insurance, and you typically won’t have much luck going after the at-fault driver personally because they most likely don’t have enough money in their pocket to be able to pay for all of your medical bills and other expenses. The vast majority of the time your only avenue of recovery when you are hit by an uninsured driver would be Uninsured Motorist Coverage on your own car insurance.
If you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, get it. Nobody wants to be forced to pay for things they did not cause, and uninsured motorists will help protect you from this.
Now let’s look at what happens if you’re hit by someone who is underinsured. Let’s say their policy covers $25,000 of damages they caused in an accident, but you were so injured that even the at-fault party’s insurance isn’t enough to cover your injuries. This brings us right back to your only form of full recovery, your OWN insurance.
Let’s look at a real-life example. I had a client who was injured in an accident and ended up with around $70,000 in hospital bills. The person who hit her had $25,000 in coverage, which obviously was nowhere near enough to cover my client’s medical bills, not to mention her pain and suffering. Fortunately, the client did have uninsured motorist coverage of $100,000. This gave her a combined policy limit of $125,000 to cover her injuries. If she didn’t have underinsured motorist coverage, she would have been looking at a much more difficult situation.
Always protect yourself. Cars are nothing to play with; they are machines, and unfortunately, there’s a good chance that one day, you or somebody you know will get into an accident. When that accident does happen, it’s not uncommon for the person who caused the accident to not have any or enough insurance to cover the injuries that were inflicted.
Even when it is clear the other party was at fault, do you know what your case is worth? Do you believe that you will be able to get every single penny of what your case is worth? This should account for all losses, past, and future. Although some cases can be handled alone, many cases will have a much higher recovery with the assistance of an attorney. An attorney will be able to get you to the right doctors, help support arguments with necessary documents, and provide an expert take on any particular case.
Many times, I speak with a client who is considering settling with the insurance company or has even already settled for the quick offer by the insurance company. Almost always, money has been left on the table, money that is needed to assist with medical bills or wages when the injured party can’t work.
Let’s look at a real-life example. Recently I spoke to a potential client who was involved in an accident a year prior to speaking with me. He indicated that he did not want to get an attorney at the time and he thought he would be fine and did not go to treatment. Now, a year after the accident, the potential client was still in pain from his accident and wanted to get set up with a doctor. Unfortunately, it was just too late in this situation. Due to the client’s lack of guidance in getting treatment and letter a year pass, he made it almost impossible to prove that his injuries were caused by the accident.
It’s a mistake to not get your injuries treated at the time of the accident, and it’s a mistake to leave money on the table that could have gone into your pocket for your pain and suffering and your necessary medical bills. Get with an attorney immediately after a case to discuss your options and if an attorney is necessary. The consultation is free!
For more information on Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists in Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by contacting our office today.