Marietta Personal Injury Attorney – Marietta Car Accident Lawyer
Before we can answer this question, we have to find out what different insurance coverages are and what they truly mean.
What is the minimum liability insurance required under Georgia law?
Under O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11, the minimum automobile insurance requirement in Georgia is $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident/$25,000 for property damage. Failure to have this minimum automobile insurance requirement is a misdemeanor with the following possible penalties under O.C.G.A. §40-6-10:
- Fines between $200 to $1,000; Or
- Imprisonment not more than 12 months; Or
Even though the above requirement exists, many people still decide to drive without any automobile insurance coverage in Georgia.
Are there any possible Civil repercussions for failure to obtain and maintain this minimum insurance requirement in Georgia?
The short answer is yes! Let us imagine the following scenario:
Joe does not have the minimum automobile insurance requirement in Georgia and crashes into Kate while driving. Kate is hurt, and she has Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) that pays for all her Personal Injury case. Kate’s UM/UIM insurance policy now has the right to go after Joe for the total amount they have paid for Kate’s injuries in this case in a Civil Case. Kate’s UM/UIM actions or rights to go after Joe in a Civil case is called the right of subrogation. So, there could be enormous consequences for not carrying the minimum automobile insurance limits in Georgia. We’ll talk about why even this minimum liability limit may not provide enough protection for you and your loved ones.
What is UM/UIM?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage/UM protects you in cases where the at-fault party does not carry the minimum required insurance limits under Georgia law. Unfortunately, the amount of people who are driving without valid insurance in Georgia is quite staggering.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage/UIM protects you in case where the at-fault party’s automobile insurance limits are not sufficient to cover all your Personal Injury expenses.
Let’s say that Joe has the minimum automobile insurance limits requirement in Georgia, $25,000/$50,000/$25,000, and he crashes into Kate. In this case, Kate has UM/UIM of $50,000/$100,000. How much additional coverage would Kate’s insurance offer her in this case? The answer is that it depends on what type of UM/UIM policy Kate has. Generally, UM/UIM policies divide into the following two categories:
- Added to: Kate’s UM/UIM limits in the above example adds to Joe’s policy limits. More specifically, Kate now has $25,000 (Joe’s limits) + $50,000 (her own UM limit). Therefore, she now has $75,000.
- In the above example, Kate’s UM/UIM limits are reduced by Joe’s limits. Therefore, Kate has an additional $25,000 ($50,000 – $25,000) for her Personal Injury case.
Are there any additional optional insurance coverages that are important for us to know?
Yes! We love something called Medical Payment Coverage or MedPay for short. MedPay is a fantastic additional optional coverage to have, and here’s how this could be a lifesaver.
Again, let’s go back to Joe and Kate. Just like before, if Joe is at fault of a wreck where his automobile insurance coverage is for $25,000 and Kate’s automobile insurance limits are for $50,000/$100,000 with $50,000/$100,000 of added to the at-fault’s UM/UIM. In this case, Kate is brilliant, and she had also added a $10,000 MedPay coverage to her automobile insurance policy. How much does Kate have to work within this case?
She has ($25,000 + $50,000 + $10,000) $85,000. Typically, MedPay is not an expensive additional optional insurance coverage to add to your policy. MedPay also protects all of Kate’s passengers for their medical bills up to $10,000 regardless of Kate’s fault for the accident.
What are our recommendations?
Our recommendation is always to have a minimum automobile insurance policy limit of $50,000/$100,000 with UM/UIM policy added to the at-fault’s policy. Also, to have a MedPay of at least $10,000.