Uninsured motorist policies (UM) can cover your personal injury claim when a negligent driver injuries you and does not have any insurance. Most of the time uninsured motorist coverage is used when the following occurs:
- Uninsured motorist coverage comes into play when the negligent driver is driving without auto insurance. The minimum liability coverage in Georgia is $25,000 per claimant / $50,000 per accident.
- Uninsured motorist coverage can also arise when there is an unknown hit and run driver who causes an accident and then flees the scene of the accident. However, Georgia law sometimes does not allow for uninsured motorist coverage for personal injury claims when there is no contact between the unknown driver’s vehicle and your vehicle or when there is no eye witness to the accident.
There can also be uninsured motorist coverage for a personal injury claim against an unknown hit and run driver when any of the following conditions occur:
- Hit and run driver hits your vehicles: There is normally uninsured motorist coverage when there is contact between the unknown hit and run driver’s vehicle and your vehicle. [O.C.G.A. Section 33-7-11(b)((2)]
- Hit and run driver hits another vehicle: There is normally uninsured motorist coverage when there is contact between the unknown hit and run driver’s vehicle and another vehicle that is knocked into your vehicle. [State Farm Mut. Auto. Insur. Co. v. Carlson, 130 Ga.App. 27, 28-29, 202 S.E.2d 213 (1973)]
- Witness sees the hit and run accident: There is normally uninsured motorist coverage when there is a eyewitness that confirms the unknown hit and run driver caused the accident even if there is no contact between the unknown hit and run driver’s vehicle and your vehicle. [Hoffman v. Doe, 191 Ga.App. 319, 321m 381m S.E.2d 546 (1989).]
- Your vehicle hits an “integral part of the hit and run vehicle: There can also be uninsured motorist coverage when there is contact between your vehicle and an “integral part” of the unknown vehicle. A tire assembly has been held to be an integral part while a ladder or a storage box has been held to fall short of this standard.
It is always best to call an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your personal injury claim as soon as possible after the auto accident. Your personal injury attorney can make sure that the following steps are taken on your behalf:
- Notice of the accident needs to be sent to all liability insurance companies as soon as possible;
- Notice of the car accident needs to be sent to all insurance companies that provide uninsured motorist or under-insured motorist coverage as quickly as possible to avoid the coverage being revoked.
- Recorded statements need to be taken from each of the witnesses to the accident as soon as possible.
- Assistance in making sure that medical treatment is obtained needs to be done as quickly as possible to avoid gaps in treatment. Treatment can be paid for by health insurance, med pay coverage on auto policies, doctor liens, or medical funding companies.