My husband was in a car accident wit a individual that was drunk and also that was exempt from their wifes insurance. the insurance company is now stateing that they will not pay for the damages to my husbands car.
is this right? we have uninsured motorist coverage but i dont think that we should have to file with our insurance company since it was the other individuals fault... please help me!! what should we do?
3 Answers from Attorneys
No one here has their policy to see what is excluded - that is a contract between the insurer and insured, and not with you. You can file a lawsuit against the other driver to collect from them or their insurer, or turn it over to your insurer and let them handle it. You likely have a duty to inform them. You might also take this opportunity to check your own policy to see what it does and does not cover.
First, I am sorry to hear of the collision and hope that your husband will be OK. The seriousness of his injuries impacts upon what I am about to say. As I do not know the severity I will couch my answer for both situations. If your husband is only slightly injured you have a claim against the driver of the other automobile and whatever insurance there is. Usually the insurance policy the covers the car the drunk driver was driving would provide primary coverage for this claim. Under Georgia having insurance on one's car is mandatory. Are there situations where the liability insurer can escape coverage for a wreck? Yes, but those are somewhat limited because of the mandatory requirement that all vehicles in Georgia be insured. Liability insurers can, and often do, pretend that there is no coverage when there really is coverage. Even if there is no coverage under the auto policy of the owner, is the driver himself had a car, his liability insurance policy, again which is mandatory under Georgia law, would provide coverage for this collision. Also, if there is really no coverage under the first 2 policies, you apparently have UM (uninsured motorist) coverage under your policy. That is insurance that you paid for in the event you find yourself in the exact situation you have described. USE IT! That is why you bought it. Finally, if your husband's injuries are severe his claim may exceed the amount of the first policy, if there is coverage (I think there is).If such is the case, you are allowed by Georgia law to "stack" the policies on top of each other until the claim is fully paid. The amount of the claim is subject to negotiation or if that fails to determination at a trial. In my opinion you absolutely need a lawyer--and not just any lawyer. You need an attorney experienced with automobile insurance matters and you need him NOW! Do NOT hire some lawyer that you heard from a friend did a good job on his DUI or divorce. A lawyer like that will screw up your case. Get someone who knows what he/she is doing in personal injury and insurance claims. There are many resources for finding such a lawyer. Use them. Please be careful what you say to the insurance company representatives. In fact, I recommend that you do not talk to them at all. They are purposely tricky and will try to get you and/or your husband to say something that will negatively impact the claim. If you want to talk to me you can reach me at (770) 427-8468. I will be glad to talk to you free of charge and will either help you myself or recommend someone that I know would do a good job for you. Good luck!
Definitely consult an attorney. In Georgia, insurance follows the car, not the driver. So, even if the other driver had no license or insurance, the vehicle still has coverage. If he stole the car, they could argue no coverage, but this is unlikely. If you use your uninsured coverage, your insurance company will file a lawsuit to collect against the other company and/or driver, so you shouldn't hesitate to use your coverage.
The bigger personal injury firms will have you to talk to a law clerk or secretary, so if you want more personal interaction with your attorney, go with a smaller firm. A second consideration is the fee agreement. Make sure the firm you hire does not raise their contingency fee just because they have to litigate your case.
I do not raise my contingency fee and I only charge 25% if you mention LawGuru on our initial consultation. Feel free to give me a call at 404-529-9081.
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