Georgia and South Carolina laws require all vehicle owners to purchase car insurance before they take their vehicles on the road. Both states set minimum auto insurance liability limits that motorists must carry in case they cause a crash. However, buying the minimum insurance coverage required under your state law may not adequately protect you and your family if you are in an accident caused by a negligent driver—especially if he broke the law and did not even purchase the required insurance.
Both Georgia and South Carolina Are “Fault” Insurance States
Georgia and South Carolina are both “at-fault” states in terms of liability in a car accident. This means that the negligent driver would be responsible for compensating the victim for his injuries and property damage caused by the crash. If you were hurt in an auto accident, you could recover your damages in one of three ways:
- Make a claim with your insurance company who would then seek reimbursement from the negligent driver’s insurance company.
- Pursue a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
- File a civil lawsuit against the negligent driver if you are unable to settle your claim.
Which is the best option for you? To help you make the right choice, you should first contact an experienced car accident attorney who can advise you on the best way to proceed and can negotiate a much more favorable settlement than you would receive on your own.
Georgia’s Minimum Insurance Requirements
In Georgia, you are only required to have liability insurance for personal injuries and property damage you could cause in an accident. The minimum requirement is:
- $25,000 for the injury or death of one person—which includes a passenger, other driver, pedestrian, or you—in a single accident
- $50,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in a single accident
- $25,000 for property damage in a single accident
As you can see, this coverage does not give you much protection if you seriously injure or kill someone. You should consider purchasing additional coverage to avoid having to pay the additional damages on your own—which could ruin you financially.
The Minimum Liability Coverage Requirements in South Carolina
Like Georgia, South Carolina law only requires you to have a minimum amount of automobile insurance coverage, and you should purchase additional insurance coverage to be more adequately insured. In South Carolina, you must maintain the following insurance:
- $25,000 for injury or death of one person in one accident
- $50,000 for injury or death of more than one person in one accident
- $25,000 for any vehicle or property damage
Unlike in Georgia, every policy sold in South Carolina must include uninsured motorist coverage that at least matches the minimum liability insurance coverage listed above and provides $10,000 in coverage for your own vehicle and other property damage.
Why You Need Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage If You’re in a Crash
You may wonder why you should purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage since the negligent driver would be responsible for compensating you for your injuries. Unfortunately, many drivers drive without purchasing insurance because they cannot afford it. While you could still sue them for compensation, most people do not have the income or assets to pay $100,000—or most likely significantly more—in compensation they could owe you.
Uninsured motorist coverage would protect you in a situation where the other driver had no insurance. Underinsured motorist insurance would provide you with additional compensation when the negligent motorist has insufficient coverage to fully pay what you are entitled to—like the minimum coverage under state law.
When deciding how much insurance coverage to buy, you need to consider that $25,000 would do little to pay for all your lost wages, expensive medical bills, and pain and suffering. Even if you suffered a “minor” injury like a fracture or whiplash, your medical bills alone could exceed the insurance limits. It could be catastrophic to not have this insurance if you suffered a debilitating injury like paralysis, traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, or internal organ damage, and the negligent driver did not have adequate insurance to compensate you.
If you or a family member was hurt in a car accident caused by another driver, our experienced and compassionate car accident attorneys are here to help you get the compensation you could be entitled to—whether or not the other driver had sufficient insurance coverage. Start an online chat or call us at 888-795-6261 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.