Law Offices of Jon R. Hawk
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Jon R.Hawk

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So You Got Into a Car Accident in Georgia

Most of us can drive for years without ever getting into a car accident. Fortunately, if we do get into a crash, it is likely to be a fender bender at low speed, with some damage to our car but no serious injuries. But what happens if the car accident is more serious, involving emergency medical treatment, on-going doctor's care and lost time from work?

This blog will discuss why you may find that your insurance company isn't on your side when you get into a serious accident in Georgia

How insurance works - Georgia is not a no-fault insurance state

Under Georgia insurance law, everyone who drives a registered vehicle on our roads is required to carry at least a minimum amount of personal liability insurance. This insurance will cover compensating people injured in an accident if you are found to be liable for negligence. The declaration page of your insurance policy will have a series of numbers that looks something like: 50/100/25.

•· The first number (50) refers to the thousands of dollars the insurance company will pay another party for personal injury compensation, including medical care, lost earnings and pain and suffering.

•· The second number (100) refers to the thousands of dollars the insurance company will pay all parties claiming personal injury compensation.

•· The third number (25) refers to the thousands of dollars the insurance company will pay for the other party's property damage - usually auto body repair or replacement.

In the event you are in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you will be filing a claim against their insurance company. In many cases, the insurance company will try to settle for a lower amount, and as quickly as possible.

What if your medical damages exceeded the amount of coverage?

Naturally, the more coverage purchased in each of these three categories, the higher the premium will be. Many drivers in Georgia, therefore, only buy the minimum amount required by law, which is currently at 25/50/25. Anybody who has ever been seriously injured in an accident knows that $25,000 in medical care will hardly cover the full cost of treatment, physical therapy, assistive devices and lost wages and earnings from work. Nor does the low amount include any money for pain and suffering. 

Without an attorney, you will be arguing your case for higher compensation against the insurance company. Just you against a roomful of defense lawyers. The insurance company will hope that they wear you down and you accept whatever money they offer, just to move on with your life. A knowledgeable lawyer will negotiate aggressively, presenting strong evidence that the amount of coverage wasn't enough and the proposed settlement should be full and fair. Although the large majority of car accident personal injury cases settle through negotiations, you should be prepared to stand up for your rights and financial interests in court, if necessary. The right personal injury lawyer will also have a successful record of trial experience that the insurance company will respect.

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