The Driver Who Hit Me Only Has $25,000 in Insurance, What Can I Do?
Unfortunately, we see this situation very often. Even if a driver has auto insurance that can cover some of your expenses, many drivers only carry the legal minimum. In Georgia, the minimum requirement for a bodily injury policy limit is $25,000, which is often not enough.
What Happens If The Driver Who Hit Me is Under Insured?Not too long ago, our office received a question from an individual who was seriously injured in a car accident, but the person who caused the accident only had the minimum insurance policy limit to covery bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. The $50,000 limit applies if more than one person is injured in the accident.
The individual was obviously very upset and said, “I can not believe how low insurance coverage minimums are…they just aren’t enough. I was hurt so bad in my accident, missed six months of work, and have continual pain due to the surgery I had to have. My medical bills alone were higher than the $25,000 minimum. What about compensation for my pain and suffering?”
We always get upset when we have a client who has been injured, by no fault of their own, and there is not enough insurance coverage to adequately compensate them. But, what this person’s experience can teach us is the value of uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage, and why it is so important to make sure we all have.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can provide a saving grace when someone is seriously injured by another driver who either does not have any insurance or does not have enough insurance coverage.
Protect Yourself: Uninsured Motorist CoverageThe way it works with UM/UIM is an injured person can look to her own car insurance company to pay for the injuries that should have been recovered from the driver who caused the accident HAD that driver had enough insurance coverage to compensate them for the full extent of their injuries. Because the insurance world is very confusing, people sometimes think that the bodily injury coverage that they have on their own insurance policy will cover them for their injuries if they are hurt in a car accident. But, this is not the case. The required insurance coverage we all purchase is only going to pay other people if WE are the ones at fault. Meaning, if we cause an accident and someone is injured, our bodily injury policy would pay the person we hurt.
Therefore, it is very important for everyone to keep in mind that the total amount of pain and suffering monetary compensation you can receive for your car accident injuries is strictly limited to the amount of insurance carried by the driver who caused the crash.
How To Avoid This ProblemThe best way to avoid getting caught in the trap of not having enough insurance to claim against in the event you are injured in a car crash is to carry at least $250,000/$500,000 in uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage. Then, you will not have to worry that the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to properly compensate you. You will know, in the event that you need more money to compensate you, that you will be able to recover money from your UM/UIM coverage. We highly recommend contacting your auto insurance company and adding or increasing the amount of UM/UIM coverage you have.
You will be surprised to learn that UM and UIM coverage is actually pretty affordable. For around the cost of a lunch, you will be able to protect yourself and your family in the event of a severe automobile accident.
Get The Legal Help You Need to Make a Claim on Your UM or UIM PolicyYou should think about hiring a specialized auto accident lawyer because the UM process can be very complicated. An experienced auto accident lawyer will be able to make sure your rights are protected.