Q: Can an uninsured driver file a claim in Georgia?
Yes, in Georgia, an uninsured driver can file a claim against an insured driver who caused the accident, with a few important caveats.
How am I able to file an accident claim if I am uninsured?
A person who has been injured due to the fault of another person can, with certain exceptions, make a claim against the person who was at fault. This is true even if the injured party was uninsured at the time of the accident.
It is possible for uninsured drivers to file an accident claim because Georgia does not have a “no pay, no play” law. In a “no pay, no play” state, uninsured drivers are responsible for covering their own injuries (and the other driver’s injuries) out of pocket.
You would go about filing your claim with the other driver’s insurer the same way as you would if you had insurance.
What do I do if I was partially at-fault?
Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence law when apportioning damages in accident claims. This means that if you are 50 percent or more at fault for the accident, you cannot make a claim against anyone in the accident.
As an example, Bob, an uninsured driver, was speeding and crashed with Ted, an insured driver, who was texting at the time of the accident. An investigation found Bob and Ted were each 50 percent at fault. In this situation, neither Bob nor Ted can make a claim against each other. Their own negligence of 50 percent or more bars them from making a claim against each other.
Let us consider another example. Assume Bob, the uninsured driver, was 20 percent at fault for speeding, and Ted, the insured driver, was 80 percent at fault for texting while driving. Bob has $20,000 in damages. Ted has $15,000 in damages.
Ted cannot make a claim against Bob because Ted is 50 percent or more at fault in the accident. Bob can make a claim against Ted, because Bob was less than 50 percent at fault and Ted was more at fault than Bob. However, modified comparative negligence laws hold that each driver’s percentage of fault will decrease their settlement. This means that if Bob asked for $10,000 in damages, he can only recover $8,000.
Does Georgia law require drivers to have insurance?
- $25,000 liability for injuries or death of one person, and
- $50,000 liability for injuries or death of more than one person, and
- $25,000 property damage
Although Georgia law requires owners and operators to carry insurance on their motor vehicles, it does not bar an uninsured driver from recovering for injuries caused by someone else.
Will I face any consequences for not having insurance?
O.C.G.A. § Section 40-6-10 provides that failure to comply with the requirement of maintaining at least minimum insurance coverage is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine between $200 and $1000 and/or imprisonment for no more than 12 months. This requirement applies to both the owner and the operator of the vehicle.
By way of example, Jane owns a car. She has a duty under Georgia law to maintain at least minimum insurance coverage on the vehicle. Jane lets her sister, Teri, borrow the car while Teri’s car is being repaired. Teri gets into an accident while driving Jane’s car. Both Jane and Teri can be guilty of of violating Section 40-6-10 of the OCGA if it turns out that Jane’s vehicle does not have currently valid insurance.
If you have been injured in a car accident, regardless of whether you are insured or not, contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. for an evaluation of your claim. Our auto accident team will fight for you to get all the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 404-474-0804 for your free consultation.