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Suing your own driver for damages in Georgia

Unlike many states across the U.S., Georgia does not subscribe to no-fault insurance coverage. Drivers who are found to be at fault for causing the accident may be sued by any injured party, including passengers in their own car, under most conditions.

This blog post will explain how "comparative fault" insurance works in Georgia and the pways to file a personal injury liability insurance claim for compensation. 

How Georgia's modified comparative fault laws work

The first insurance matter to be settled in any motor vehicle accident on a Georgia road will be to determine which driver was at fault and whether both drivers may have shared some percentage of responsibility. If one driver is held 100 percent liable for causing the accident, then his or her insurance will be responsible for covering all liability damages paid to injured parties, including passengers in their own vehicle.

However, if the other driver is determined to share some of the fault, 20 percent for example, then that driver's insurance will pick up responsibility for 20 percent of the damages.

How to file

Georgia's insurance works differently from no-fault states primarily in the way injured parties file a claim for compensation. In no-fault states, an injured passenger must first file against their own driver's insurance carrier, no matter who is held liable for causing the accident. When your driver's amount of liability coverage is expended, only then may you sue for additional compensation from the other at-fault driver's insurance.

However, in Georgia, there are multiple ways for an injured passenger to seek compensation, including:

  • File a claim against your driver's insurance company, which must later file a "subrogation" claim against the other driver's insurance company. (The end result to you, the injured party, is much the same as the no-fault process above.)
  • File a claim against the other at-fault driver's insurance directly, which is commonly referred to as a third-party claim
  • Skip the insurance claims process and sue the responsible driver or drivers in civil court

Injured passengers are almost always eligible to claim damages

Just because you got into the back seat of a car or on the back of a motorcycle in Georgia, it doesn't mean you forfeit your rights to personal safety or your rights under the law. If you were injured, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney before you start the insurance process. Learning about your rights may mean getting a full and fair settlement you might otherwise miss out on.  

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