One Settlement May Affect the Other
When Georgia drivers purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, they expect to be covered to the full extent of their policy limits. Unfortunately, many of them don’t fully understand policy limits as they pertain to Georgia law.
When Randolph Adams suffered catastrophic injuries in a car crash caused by another person (tortfeasor), the at-fault party’s insurer paid out the full amount of coverage (in this case, $25,000.00), part to Mr. Adams himself and part to the hospital that treated Mr. Adams and had filed a lien. Damages far exceeded that amount, so Mr. Adams turned to his own insurer, filing a claim against his Uninsured Motorist coverage.
His insurer reduced coverage by $25,000.00, claiming the right to the discount because of the settlement from the tortfeasor’s insurer. Maintaining that his insurer had no right to a credit for damages paid to the hospital by the tortfeasors, Mr. Adams’ counsel filed suit on his behalf. The case eventually ended up before The Georgia Supreme Court, who ruled in favor of Adams’ insurer. Examining the language as well as the purpose of the Uninsured Motorist Coverage Law OCGA § 33-7-11 (b) (1) (D) (ii), the Court also considered OCGA § 44-14-470 as it pertained to the fundamental purpose of a hospital lien.
Finding that the purpose of the Uninsured Motorist Coverage statute was to ensure that the injured party would be treated as if the offending driver had been fully insured and that the insurance was to cover actual loss, the underlying purpose rather than Georgia’s full compensation rule should prevail. The payment by the first insurer to the hospital did not meet the standard for Uninsured Motorist law that liability should not be diminished by “other claims or otherwise”, since the hospital lien was only for the purpose of acting for the insured. The decision was not unanimous. Two judges dissented, which certainly indicates that Mr. Adams’ assertions had merit.
West Georgia Accident Victims Should Choose a Carrollton Personal Injury Attorney who Knows How to Win Insurance Claims
While Georgia motorists may not recover all they feel they should because of the interpretation of uninsured motorist law, there may be other avenues to pursue. Consulting with a Carrollton or Douglasville accident injury attorney is recommended. Choose someone who is qualified to represent clients in all Georgia courts concerning recovery of damages due to negligence or deliberate malice. West Georgia injury victims, for instance, should contact a highly regarded Carrollton personal injury attorney qualified to argue a case in either state or federal court and with the experience to guide the case to a successful conclusion.