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Georgia Automobile Accidents and Insurance

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The damages inflicted upon a person who has been injured in an automobile collision as a result of another person's negligence obviously contain very real-life consequences. In fact, the nature and extent of damages caused to an injury victim may have a debilitating effect on the individual, conversely giving the victim an emotional disincentive to pursue his or her claims.

For example, what many persons injured in accidents find-even those in relatively "minor" accidents-are enormous and escalating medical bills arising from necessary care and treatment. To this end, some persons injured in an automobile collision may have health insurance or what is known as medical payments coverage (med pay for short), an item offered in certain automobile insurance policies which pay for medical bills and other health expenses for an insured who becomes injured in an accident. But those persons injured in an automobile accident without private health insurance may be reluctant to follow up with necessary treatment or to seek medical help at all.

Additionally, some injury victims whose vehicles have been seriously damaged or totaled in an accident and who do not carry full coverage on their automobile insurance policies may not understand that they are entitled to seek compensation for the damages caused by the tortfeasor, much less know how to proceed in doing so. Persons involved in automobile collisions for which they were not at fault must resist the urge to refrain from seeking necessary and prescribed medical care and necessary repairs to their damaged property should they lack the insurance or funds to pay for the treatment or repairs involved.

For all of these reasons it is important to have the highest and proper amount of insurance adequate to fit each individual's needs. In this respect, it is generally a good idea to have an adequate amount of uninsured / underinsured insurance or UM coverage. UM coverage pays for those bills and expenses caused by the tortfeasor where the tortfeasor's own limits on his or her insurance policy are inadequate to cover the damages for which the tortfeasor is liable.

For example, suppose the tortfeasor's policy limits are $25,000.00 for personal injuries and the injury victim has hospital and medical bills of $50,000.00. Therefore, even if the tortfeasor's insurer admits liability and tenders the full amount of the coverage up to the policy limit of $25,000.00, there remains a deficit of $25,000.00, irrespective of other items of damages, such as lost wages or pain and suffering. To recoup this amount, the victim has two options. He or she can sue the tortfeasor individually and hope that the tortfeasor possesses sufficient assets to cover the judgment and does not declare bankruptcy. Or, if the injury victim has UM coverage, the injured party's own insurance coverage may be available to pay for the damages which exceed the tortfeasor's own policy limits.

However, dealing with the tortfeasor's insurance company and navigating the intersection between one's own UM coverage can be a very time-consuming, confusing, and arduous task for laypersons. It is imperative that any person injured in an automobile collision-whether he or she is insured or not-understand his or her rights under Georgia law.

If you have been injured in an automobile collision, call the office of Mills & Hoopes today to arrange for a free consultation with one of the firm's highly trained and skilled attorneys.

Steve Mills is the managing partner in the law firm of Mills & Hoopes, LLC, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. For more information on our legal services or your legal needs in areas such as contractual matters, litigation, commercial real estate, immigration, environmental matters, wills, divorce and family matters, personal injury, collections, small claims, landlord tenant or any criminal matters, please visit out website www.millshoopeslaw.com 

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