Whether you or the other driver were at fault in the accident, one of the first things you need to do is hire a lawyer.
It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to be compensated for your injuries if you were at fault in the accident and you don’t have insurance or an attorney fighting for you. You might end up having to pay your and the other driver’s medical bills out of pocket.
If the other driver was at fault, it’s still too easy for their insurance company to deny your claim. Even with a 1 day lapse in car insurance, you need an attorney to protect your rights and get you the compensation you need.
Keep reading to learn about lapses in coverage, then call our Athens car accident lawyers today.
The State of Georgia defines a lapse as “10 or more days between the termination date of the previous policy and the effective date of the new policy.” This can happen if you forget to pay your bill or if you intentionally choose not to renew your policy.
If you choose not to renew, you can’t just drive without insurance; you’ll need to buy a new plan to comply with state law.
Georgians have 30 days to submit new insurance information to the DDS’ insurance database. If there is a lapse of 10 or more days from the end of the previous coverage to the start of the new coverage, you will face fines and suspensions.
You won’t face penalties if you provide proof of your new insurance to the Georgia Department of Driver Services within 30 days and do not have a lapse in coverage.
For the most part, it’s easy to reinstate or purchase a new policy, so if you realize that you’re in the middle of a lapse, contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible. Don’t ignore or try to hide the fact that your policy lapsed. You could lose your license or have your policy canceled altogether.
Penalties for Lapse in Coverage
Penalties for insurance lapses increase with frequency. The more times you let your coverage lapse, the greater penalties you’ll face.
If you were not at fault in the accident, the other driver will be responsible for paying your medical bills and related expenses. As soon as possible after the accident, call your insurance company and notify them of the accident, then reinstate your policy.
If you have a good history with your insurance company – paying your bills on time, not getting in accidents – they should be willing to work with you, and you’ll probably just have to pay a small fee.
If you caused an accident during an insurance lapse but had already taken steps to reinstate your policy (for example, you paid for reinstatement but it hadn’t kicked in at the time of the accident), one of two things could happen.
Your insurer could deny any of your claims related to the accident, or they could cut you a break and approve your claim. This outcome probably depends on your history with the company. If you pay your bills on time, haven’t gotten into any previous accidents, and don’t have a lot of tickets, they’ll likely help you out.
In any case, you need to contact your insurance as soon as possible and be honest with them.
However, your insurance company probably won’t help you out if you caused an accident and didn’t pay your premiums until after the fact. You’ll be entirely liable for damages and will have to pay for your injuries, your property damage, and the other driver’s injuries and property damage out of pocket.
The other driver could even sue you for your personal assets, including your home. You could try and explain your policy lapse to your insurer, and they may cut you some slack if the lapse was caused by something completely out of your control (bank fraud, medical emergency, etc.). However, this is unlikely.
If this situation applies to you, you still need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible, and you must be honest with them. If you lie about the date of the accident in an attempt to make it look like you were covered, they’ll know, and you could be charged with insurance fraud.
In any of these three circumstances, you need to call your insurance company and hire an attorney. Policy lapses are extremely complicated, and you don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re paying way more than you should.
Call an Athens car accident attorney today to speak with our dedicated team.
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