September 25, 2019
What happens if the at-fault driver does not have insurance?
In Georgia, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle without auto insurance in the amount of at least $25,000.00. Keep in mind that the auto insurance you carry protects your assets in the event you cause a collision.
But what if you are injured in a wreck caused by someone else, and the at-fault driver does not have insurance? If the other driver does not have insurance, who will pay for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the wreck?
The first possible answer to these questions is still the at-fault driver. The at-fault driver is still responsible for compensating you for any damages arising from his or her negligent driving. But, in this hypothetical situation, there is no insurance company to provide funds. So the issue for you becomes whether or not the at-fault driver is financially capable of fully compensating you.
If the at-fault driver has no money, no income, and no assets, then the at-fault driver will have no way to pay you even if you were able to get a judgment against him or her. And while there are exceptions to the rule, it is more likely than not that a person driving around without insurance has little to nothing to protect. In the legal profession, we call this type of person “judgment proof.” That is, even if you get a judgment against this person, there will be no way to collect your money.
So, what do you do if the at-fault driver is judgment proof? If the at-fault driver has no insurance (or not enough insurance), then you can recover using your UM policy, if you have a UM policy. “UM” can stand for Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist (although both are not exactly the same). UM is an add-on to a standard insurance policy, and it would be a part of your policy. If you are reading this and do not have UM (or do not know if you have UM), you should strongly consider adding this provision to your policy. You should call your insurance agent and get that set up.
A UM provision provides coverage to you when you are injured by an at-fault driver that does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance. A UM provision can also be used when you are injured by a hit-and-run driver.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how to handle a motor vehicle collision when the
at-fault driver lacks appropriate insurance coverage. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle collision, reach out to the DeWoskin Law Firm. Let us guide you through the process and maximize your recovery. Call us at 404-987-0026.