A car accident can be a scary and unexpected event. Depending on the severity of your collision, you may sustain serious injuries, experience extensive property damage, and develop other complications that affect your physical, emotional, and financial health. The long-term impact of a car accident can be devastating.
In these situations, you may be eligible to recover compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. To file a successful claim, it is important to understand Georgia’s car insurance requirements.
Georgia Car Insurance Laws
In the United States, car insurance laws typically fall into one of two categories: fault or no-fault. Under a no-fault system, drivers carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for their own losses after an accident, regardless of who was responsible. These drivers can pursue a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit if their injuries meet certain severity thresholds.
Like the majority of states, Georgia follows a fault car insurance system. Under state law, drivers are financially responsible for the damages of their victims in any accident they cause. If you are injured in a collision caused by someone else, you can file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party.
All drivers in Georgia must carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance coverage.
$25,000 for injury or death to one person per accident
$50,000 in total injury or death liability per accident
$25,000 for property damage per accident
This coverage pays for the medical bills, property damage, and other losses sustained by drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and other parties involved in the accident. Drivers can choose to purchase higher amounts of insurance if they wish. Once a driver’s policy limits are exhausted, he or she is personally responsible for paying for the remainder of the victims’ damages.
Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Georgia
It is highly illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle without insurance in Georgia. Depending on the circumstances, drivers could face fines, jail time, and license suspension for this violation. Insurance carriers notify the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) when a policy is expired or terminated.
If you do not provide proof of new insurance within 30 days, the DDS will send a Notice of Pending Suspension, where you will have an additional 30 days to provide insurance. If you do not provide proof of insurance by the end of the second 30-day period, the DDS will suspend your registration and you can face the following penalties.
For a first offense, you will pay a $25 lapse fee and a $60 fee to reinstate your vehicle registration. You may also face up to one year in jail and have your license and registration suspended for 60 days.
For a second offense, you will pay a $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee. You may also face up to one year in jail and a 90-day license and registration suspension.
For third and subsequent offenses, you will face a $25 lapse fee and a $160 reinstatement fee. You could face up to one year in jail and a six-month license and registration suspension.
It is important to comply with Georgia’s insurance requirements, but not all drivers do. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can help evaluate your legal options and identify your optimal path to maximum recovery. Contact an Augusta car accident lawyer immediately after your accident to strategize your next steps.