In Georgia, accident victims often face challenges when trying to recover for their injuries and losses. The majority of these issues arise from inadequate insurance coverage. Although the law requires Georgia insurance companies to provide under or uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage, many claimants face difficulties evoking the coverage. The three main issues that arise in these situations concern the stacking of commercial and personal insurance policies, recovering against an uninsured motorist, and uninsured motorist offsets.
Stacking occurs when insurance companies provide coverage to a driver under more than one policy. This is usually applicable when a driver suffers injuries when operating a non-owned vehicle with permission from the vehicle’s owner. In these situations, most policies consider the non-owner driver an additional insured under the policy. Issues typically arise when there is proration among more than one insurance company or policy. However, it is essential to note that there are exceptions to the general rule that “insurance follows the car.”
Exceptions and exclusions to UIM coverage may apply in situations where the car owner is a dealership, or the policy provides for specific exclusions. The law provides that Georgia statute OCGA § 33-7-11 covers UIM litigation, and resolution of coverage disputes must comport with the policy’s terms. A recent state court opinion stemming from a coverage dispute illustrates the common challenges that claimants face when evoking coverage.
In that case, a plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment that established that they were covered under a UIM policy. In this instance, the plaintiff was a member of an LLC that purchased insurance from the insurer. The policy included UIM coverage for vehicles licensed under the LLC. The case arose after the plaintiff suffered injuries in a store parking lot after purchasing items for the LLC.
Evidently, the driver of the at-fault vehicle was an underinsured motorist. The plaintiff submitted a claim to the insurance company, and the company denied the claim. The insurance company argued that coverage did not apply because the vehicle the plaintiff drove on the day of the accident was not explicitly listed as one of the policy’s covered vehicles. The plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in granting the defendant’s motion because the policy was rife with ambiguities and exclusionary provisions are against public policy. However, in this case, the court found that the terms of the agreement clearly laid out who and what vehicles were covered. Furthermore, they found that reasonable exclusionary provisions were not against public policy. Ultimately, the appellate court affirmed the ruling.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Georgia Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Georgia car accident and are facing difficulties recovering for your losses, contact the attorneys at McAleer Law. The Atlanta personal injury attorneys at our office have extensive experience successfully handling cases on behalf of injury victims. We understand the difficulties that many people have dealing with adversarial insurance companies. Our attorneys possess the skills, resources, and tools to handle these complex and daunting challenges. We have recovered substantial amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact our office at 404-622-5337, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our firm.