Uninsured and Underinsured Claims
Many automobile accidents and trucking accidents in Georgia often involve vehicle insurance coverage issues. Government statistics state that one out of every four drivers on the highway today are driving vehicles without any automobile insurance covering their vehicle or truck. Many times after an automobile accident or trucking accident, it is discovered that the at fault vehicle has no insurance. Many potential clients call our office and ask what they should do in this situation.
This is an area of law where an injured party needs the expert services of an experienced personal injury attorney. Just in case this uninsured situation occurs, at Falanga and Chalker, we ask all of our clients to bring us the declaration pages for all vehicles in the clients household for our review so that we can apply the law and proper procedures for determining stacking of uninsured/underinsured coverages. The declaration page of an automobile insurance policy is usually the front page that states the types of coverage and the limits of coverage for each type of potential loss. Many times, in addition to the actual vehicle driven by the client at the time of the collision, other vehicle insurance policies for other vehicles in the clients household can be stacked and utilized for providing coverage for a victims injuries. Unless specifically rejected, under Georgia law an insurance company issuing a motor vehicle policy in Georgia must contain uninsured coverage (O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11).
Another typical situation that often develops after an automobile collision or a trucking accident is when the injured victim has serious injuries but the at fault driver has minimum liability insurance coverage. What do you do when this happens? Well, at Falanga and Chalker our trained and experienced personal injury attorneys know how to find and recover every dollar that an injured victim is entitled to in their personal injury or wrongful death claims. Applying the complicated principals of insurance stacking, many times an injured victim can recover the full value of their personal injury claim by using other insurance policies available to the victim through a process known as the stacking of underinsured policy claims. In 2009 the Georgia uninsured policy law was changed to require an insurance company to offer the insured the option of selecting either “add on” uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage or “reduced” uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(b)(1) (D)(ii).
Keep in mind that under Georgia law, a driven motor vehicle must carry at least the minimum liability insurance mandated by statute. However, Georgia law does not require the owner of a vehicle to purchase a minimum amount of uninsured motorist insurance coverage. Georgia law allows for uninsured motorist coverage to be waived or rejected in writing by the insured.
Perhaps an example of applying these underinsured principals to an underinsured claim would be helpful as an example. Let’s say that the at fault vehicle that caused a collision and injured someone only had minimum insurance coverage of $25,000.00. The injured victim incurs $38,000.00 in medical bills plus pain and suffering associated with their personal injuries. Obviously, the $25,000.00 minimum coverage is not enough to pay the injured victim for his or her medical bills or their pain and suffering loss. In this situation, the experienced personal injury attorney at Falanga and Chalker has reviewed the injured clients vehicle insurance policy and discovered that the injured victim elected for “add on” uninsured motorist policy coverage of $50,000.00. The injured victim can now make a combined claim against both the at fault driver’s insurance coverage of $25,000.00 and then file a stacking underinsured claim on his own policy for up to the additional $50,000.00 of uninsured motorist coverage on his or her own vehicle policy for a total claim of $75,000.00. Many times, it is possible to then keep stacking other automobile insurance policies that exist in the injured victims household for additional coverage if the injuries are severe enough to warrant a larger recovery for the victims personal injury claims.
At Falanga and Chalker we work hard to get every client a full, fair and complete settlement for their personal injury or wrongful death claims. For a further explanation of your remedies in an uninsured or underinsured claim, please either call our office or fill out the contact form on this web site so that one of our experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorneys can consult with you regarding your personal injury accident or collision claim.