- Uninsured Motorists may be sued in Georgia using your policy of Underinsured or Uninsured (UIM) coverage.
- Although many of the Rules for suing a UIM carrier are the same as suing any other motorist, there are some important differences.
- Georgia law prohibits your UIM carrier from raising your insurance rates simply for making a claim.
Sometimes it is necessary to file a lawsuit against your own insurance company, using your Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. Most often this may be done if you have been hit by a driver who had a small or minimal bodily injury (liability) insurance policy and you have large medical bills, or if you have been the victim of a hit and run. Bringing a lawsuit against a UIM carrier is similar to other litigation, but there are some important differences.
When an uninsured motorist (UM) insurance carrier in Georgia is served with a copy of a lawsuit, the insurance company generally has three options:
- Answer in the name of the person who caused the accident
- Answer in the insurance company’s own name
- Take no action and do nothing
Most often, uninsured motorist insurers answer in their own name. Usually, this is because the company wants to fight the cause of the accident or the proximate cause of the injuries being claimed. Additionally, answering in their own name gives the insurance company the right to serve their own discovery and not have to rely on the at-fault party to do so.
If a UM insurer chooses to file an Answer in its own name, the insurance company becomes a named party or defendant in the lawsuit. This means that the issues of liability and coverage under the UM policy are combined into one case.
By answering in their own name, the UM insurer waives the requirement of first obtaining a judgment against the at-fault driver and then filing a separate lawsuit against the UM carrier. This means that a Plaintiff must amend the complaint to include the UM insurer as a named party, and must present evidence at trial to show that the UM insurer has a valid policy of insurance and that the plaintiff has complied with all of the conditions precedent to recovery.
If a Plaintiff does not amend his or her complaint and present this evidence, the Court may be able to enter a directed verdict against the Plaintiff.
Can an insurance company raise my rates or cancel my policy for making a UIM claim?
No. O.C.G.A. § 33-9-40 prohibits insurance companies from raising your rates or canceling your policy as a result of an accident involving more than one car or vehicle, when you are not the at-fault driver. O.C.G.A. § 33-23-45 prohibits an insurance company for not-renewing you simply because you made a claim UIM coverage for an accident that is not your fault – although there may be certain other conditions that, combined with having made a UIM claim may legally allow an insurance company to not-renew.
If you do receive a notice that your insurance company is not-renewing your policy due to having made claims for coverage, you have the right to ask for the Georgia insurance commissioner to review your company’s decision within 15 days of the time you received the notice.
I didn’t use the legal services, but they gave teachers 150 pencils to use this school year.