In Georgia, if you make a claim under your uninsured (UM/UIM) motorists insurance and your insurance company unreasonably, and in bad faith, refuses to pay your claim, it is possible that you may be able to file a lawsuit against your own insurance company known as a “bad faith” action.
In such case, If a jury then finds from a preponderance of evidence (meaning, more likely than not) that your insurance company refused, in bad faith, to pay your claim for uninsured motorist benefits within 60 days after your demand was made, the insurance company may be liable to for the entire amount of the judgment plus an additional penalty of 25%, plus reasonable attorneys fees.
This law is found in O.C.G.A. 33-7-11(j):
“If the insurer shall refuse to pay any insured any loss covered by this Code section within 60 days after a demand has been made by the insured and a finding has been made that such refusal was made in bad faith, the insurer shall be liable to the insured in addition to any recovery under this Code section for not more than 25 percent of the recovery and all reasonable attorney’s fees for the prosecution of the case under this Code section. The question of bad faith, the amount of the penalty, if any, and the reasonable attorney’s fees, if any, shall be determined in a separate action filed by the insured against the insurer after a judgment has been rendered against the uninsured motorist in the original tort action. The attorney’s fees shall be fixed on the basis of competent expert evidence as to the reasonable value of the services, based on the time spent and legal and factual issues involved, in accordance with prevailing fees in the locality where the action is pending. The trial court shall have the discretion, if it finds such jury verdict fixing attorney’s fees to be greatly excessive or inadequate, to review and amend such portion of the verdict fixing attorney’s fees without the necessity of disapproving the entire verdict. The limitations contained in this subsection in reference to the amount of attorney’s fees are not controlling as to the fees which may be agreed upon by the plaintiff and his attorney for the services of the attorney in the action against the insurer.”
If you have been injured in a Georgia Car, Truck or Motorcycle Accident, it is a good idea to have your own insurance coverage reviewed by a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer to see what coverage and benefits you may be owed. In many cases, my office finds that injury victims are entitled to benefits that they were totally unaware were owed.