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Hoffspiegel Law Blog

Your car is struck by another driver and you sustain injuries.  And you are not happy about it.  You try to resolve the matter yourself but get nowhere.  You hire an attorney.  The attorney files a lawsuit.  But he only sues the person who caused the collision.  Not their insurance company.  What does that mean?

Most drivers in Georgia have automobile insurance to protect themselves in the event a claim is made against them.  And the liability insurance covers others in the event they are injured.  The minimum coverage in Georgia is $25,000 per person and $50,000 total per collision.  And uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is optional.  That is coverage you pay an additional premium for which can be added to the coverage the wrongdoer has, if you choose ‘add-on’ uninsured motorist coverage.

When you file suit, though the person who caused the collision is the named defendant in the lawsuit, their insurance company bears the responsibility for hiring and paying counsel to defend them.  And that insurance company will be responsible for paying off the settlement or judgment, up to the limits of coverage.  The risk to the wrongdoer personally is not usually great.  Their premiums will probably go up in the future.  In a rare case, if they don’t have enough coverage for the injuries they caused, they can remain exposed to the extent a judgment for more than their insurance coverage is obtained against them.

Thus, there is no reason to be concerned about the insurer not being listed as a party in the lawsuit pleadings.  There is an exception for collisions involving interstate trucking, but generally it is only the people involved in the collision.

Once a case is tried, there will be a verdict, which the court will turn into a judgment.  Once the judgment is paid, it will be marked as Paid and Satisfied in the court records and will not affect anyone’s credit.