Car accidents are always a distressing experience. When the other driver is unlicensed and uninsured, the situation becomes even more complicated. Georgia law requires all drivers to possess a valid license and carry insurance. Unfortunately, many drivers in Georgia are uninsured, or drive on an invalid license. Neither changes how you determine who is liable for causing a car wreck, however Whether a driver has a license isn’t necessarily the direct cause of the collision. Something else, such as speeding, might be.
If you find yourself in a car accident with an unlicensed driver, it is crucial to understand your rights.. Read on to learn more about how to prove liability in such cases, the damages you can pursue, and the role of your insurance in an uninsured motorist claim.
Proving Liability with an Unlicensed Driver Following an Auto Accident
Liability in a car accident usually depends on the negligence of one or more parties involved. When an unlicensed driver is involved in an accident, proving liability can be complex, but it’s not impossible. Some of the steps for building a solid case include the following.
Gather and Preserve Evidence
Collecting evidence is essential in proving the unlicensed driver’s liability. Helpful evidence includes:
- Photos or videos of the accident scene,
- A copy of the police report,
- Repair estimates and photos, and
- Statements from any witnesses.
The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be. Sometimes it might be necessary to hire an industry expert, such as an accident reconstructionist, to prepare a report that discusses the most likely way the accident occurred.
Document Your Injuries
Seek medical attention immediately following the accident, even if your injuries seem minor. Keep records of all medical treatment and expenses, as these will be evidence of your damages. Maintain records of lost wages if you missed work due to your injuries. This time off can be due to pain, or it can also be from having to visit doctors, get physical therapy, have diagnostic tests done, etc. Make sure to keep track of any sick days or PTO you are forced to use. You should log any time you miss work because of your injuries.
Consult an Attorney
Hiring an experienced attorney is especially important when dealing with an unlicensed driver. This is because Unlicensed drivers are typically uninsured. A skilled attorney can help gather evidence, establish negligence, and use their experience to help find uninsured motorists or other coverage to help compensate you for your losses in the wreck. Finding insurance coverage to step in when an uninsured driver causes a wreck can be tricky-it is best to let an attorney guide you through this process.. We can also help you navigate Georgia’s complex car accident laws and determine the best course of action for your specific case.
Damages You Can Pursue
In Georgia, if you are the victim of a car accident involving an unlicensed driver, you may be entitled to recover several types of damages. The two main categories are economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage resulting from the accident. You can seek compensation for past and future expenses related to your injuries and any necessary repairs to your vehicle. Any damages that have an associated financial loss fall under economic damages.
Non-economic damages refer to the pain and suffering you experienced due to the accident. This category can include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible losses. Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate because there’s no associated financial loss.
Unlicensed Drivers: Who Pays for My Damages?
While Georgia law requires all drivers to carry auto insurance, an unlicensed driver may not have insurance. In this case, your own insurance policy may cover your damages. Two types of insurance can help in such situations—UM coverage and collision.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
Do you have uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist UM/UIM coverage? Georgia requires insurance companies to offer it, but you are not required to purchase it. If you have not opted out, UM coverage can compensate you for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident with an uninsured driver. It is crucial to notify your insurance company promptly after the accident and cooperate with their investigation.
Uninsured motorist coverage can be a tricky area of the law. Much of it is counterintuitive, and there are strict rules that must be followed in order to not lose coverage.,It’s essential to have an attorney represent you when dealing with UM coverage. Although you’re making this claim to your insurance company, you should not assume that the insurer has any goal other than paying you as little as possible. There’s no automatic payout, and you must be cautious of your interactions and what you say. That’s another reason why having an attorney represent you for a UM claim is crucial.
Collision Coverage: Repairing Your Car
Collision coverage pay for repairs or the replacement of your vehicle regardless of who was at fault. You may have to pay a deductible before the insurance company covers the remaining costs, though, depending on what your policy says.Unfortunately, there’s no compensation for your injuries or other losses under this coverage.
4 Ways to Protect Yourself Financially and Legally
Remember these helpful tips to ensure you are financially and legally protected after a car accident with an unlicensed driver:
Maintain Adequate Insurance Coverage
Comprehensive insurance coverage, including UM and collision coverage, can help protect you in an accident with an unlicensed and uninsured driver (or even with an insured driver). Regularly review your policy to ensure it meets your needs and provides adequate protection.
As mentioned earlier, gathering and preserving evidence is crucial in proving liability. Keep all records related to the accident, including medical bills, vehicle repair estimates, and any correspondence with the at-fault driver or insurance companies. Scene photos from the accident can also be crucial evidence in your case.
Be Cautious in Your Communication
When speaking with insurance adjusters or the at-fault driver, be cautious not to admit fault or downplay your injuries. Any statements you make can be used against you, potentially reducing your compensation. Consult your attorney before providing any formal statements or signing documents.
Georgia has a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims, generally two years from the accident date. It is essential to act quickly to ensure that your case is filed within this time frame. Hiring an attorney early on expedites the process and ensures you meet all necessary deadlines.
Contact the Legal Staff of MG Law
At MG Law, we understand the challenges you face when pursuing a car accident claim. We will guide you through the process with clear communication and education on what you can expect each step of the way.
If you need assistance pursuing compensation after being struck by an unlicensed driver, please contact MG Law today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review your case and help you decide the best course of action.