Can I Sue an At-fault Driver Personally in a Car Accident?

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One of the major fears of many car owners is getting into a car accident. Vehicular crashes are a horrible thing to experience. Not only do they result in car damage, but they can also cause serious bodily injuries. In some cases, they’re fatal.

Sometimes, even if you’re driving carefully, you can’t vouch for other drivers on the road. At any point, there’s a possibility of a drunk, speeding, or simply negligent motorist ramming into your car. When that happens, you’re usually at crossroads about what to do immediately.

Many drivers will opt to pursue claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance. If you would, you should know beforehand that claiming against an insurance company doesn’t always work out well. If it doesn’t, Georgia laws allow you to sue the negligent motorist in some cases. Before we get to that, let’s see how to determine that the negligent driver is indeed at fault.

How Do I Determine Fault in a Georgia Car Accident?

Georgia, like some other American states, uses the fault-based system in vehicular accidents. As such, the at-fault driver will be liable for any property damage or bodily injury that the car accident caused. Usually, claimants are required to pursue compensation from the negligent drivers’ insurance company.

If you’re pursuing a claim with the motorist’s insurance, you can either approach them through your insurance or personally. Either way, you’d have to prove the driver’s fault to get your financial benefits. To do this, you must establish the following:

  1. That the motorist owed you a duty of care to use the road in a way that doesn’t harm you.
  2. The driver failed to exercise the duty of care, resulting in negligence.
  3. The driver’s negligence caused damage to your property or bodily harm to you.

Note that even if you were also at fault in the car accident, you could still get damages. However, you must be less than 50% at fault to successfully file your claim.

When Can I Sue Personally?

Insurance companies lose a lot of money when they keep paying damages. To reduce their losses, they may try to frustrate your claims in any way possible. While you should always consider a settlement with the insurance company first, you can sue the driver personally if that fails.

Specifically, you should consider suing the motorist in a personal capacity in these situations:

  • The Insurer Denied Your Claim

Like we mentioned earlier, insurance companies are generally antagonistic to claimants. When you bring a claim, they will scrutinize it and check for any inconsistencies or loopholes. If they find any, they can deny your privileges on that ground.

Sometimes, even when your claims are valid, they will still deny you damages. One reason they may give in this instance is that the insurance doesn’t cover your type of claims.

When this happens, the best option is to approach your personal injury attorney for advice. Depending on the facts of the case, your lawyer can instruct you to sue the driver personally.

  • The Insurer Offers Meagre Settlement Sums 

If the insurers don’t deny your claims, then the next stage is negotiation. If you agree with them on a sum, they will pay you the damages, which ends the case.

However, it’s not easy to agree with many insurers. Usually, negotiating with the auto insurance company is draining. They will almost always offer you a meager settlement, hoping you’d be comfortable with that.

If you’re not, the negotiation lags on and on till you’re sure that they wouldn’t budge. As such, your only other option may be to file a lawsuit against the driver in his capacity.

  • The At-fault Driver is Uninsured

In some cases, you may not have the opportunity to speak with an insurer because the at-fault driver is uninsured. In that case, you can turn to your insurance for benefits if you have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage.

If you don’t have such insurance coverage or it isn’t enough, your attorney may advise you to sue the motorist. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to get compensation through any other means.

Get Help From a Reputable Georgia Car Accident Attorney Today 

One of the first things to do after a car accident is to call a car accident lawyer. But just any lawyer wouldn’t suffice. To get the best settlement, you must contact an experienced and dedicated one.

That’s precisely what our personal injury attorneys at Calvin Smith Law are. At Calvin Smith, we promise to make them pay for your property damage and bodily injuries. Give us a call this minute to kickstart your journey to the maximum compensation.

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