Failure to notify the insurer of an accident can have catastrophic consequences for an injured party and the person that caused the accident and injury. The insurance industry did a fantastic job of protecting their money by getting the Georgia legislature to enact a law that provides for the denial of coverage upon the failure of a person insured to (1) notify the insurance company of service of any legal process and (2) cooperate with the insurer in defending against the claim. Georgia law requires that the insurer establish prejudice in order to deny coverage.
(a) No motor vehicle liability insurance policy covering a motor vehicle principally garaged or principally used in this state shall be issued, delivered or issued for delivery, or renewed in this state unless such policy contains provisions or has an endorsement thereto which specifically requires the insured to send his insurer, as soon as practicable after the receipt thereof, a copy of every summons or other process relating to the coverage under the policy and to cooperate otherwise with the insurer in connection with the defense of any action or threatened action covered under the policy.
(b) Noncompliance by the insured with this required provision or endorsement shall constitute a breach of the insurance contract which, if prejudicial to the insurer, shall relieve the insurer of its obligation to defend its insureds under the policy and of any liability to pay any judgment or other sum on behalf of its insureds.
O.C.G.A. § 33-7-15.
PROTECTING AGAINST FAILURE OF THE INSURED AGAINST THE FAILURE TO NOTIFY THE INSURER OF AN ACCIDENT
Despite the ridiculous windfall that Georgia law gives to an insurer when the insured fails to notify it of a claim, Georgia law also gives the injured party the ability to circumvent this problem by preemptively notifying the insurance of the claim:
(c) Subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section shall not operate to deny coverage for failure to send a copy of a summons or other process relating to policy coverage if such documents are sent by a third party to the insurer or to the insurer's agent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery within ten days of the filing of such documents with the clerk of the court. If the name of the insurer or the insurer's agent is unknown, the third party shall have a period of 30 days from the date the insurer or agent becomes known in which to send these required documents. Such documents must be sent to the insurer or agent at least 30 days prior to the entry of any judgment against the insured.
O.C.G.A. § 33-7-15.
If you have a question regarding you car accident, contact the Macon car accident lawyers at The Sessions Law Firm.