Claiming Damages from Uninsured Motorist In Georgia

It is true that a known motorist is deemed uninsured when he cannot be personally served. Smith, 246 Ga. at 52. But, under those circumstances, a plaintiff is not "legally entitled to recover damages from the uninsured motorist" unless he or she serves the defendant by publication and reduces his or her claim against the defendant to a judgment. Id. at 51; Boles v. Hamrick, 194 Ga. App. 595, 596 (391 S.E.2d 418) (1990). And, under O.C.G.A. 33- 7-11 (d) and (e), the uninsured motorist carrier can answer in its own name, become a party to the litigation, and contest issues of liability, damages and coverage. The carrier is allowed to assert any defense that would be available to the defendant. Milburn v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 228 Ga. App. 398, 399 (1) (491 S.E.2d 848) (1997).