Hire a Property Damage Lawyer for Your Car Crash Case
After a car crash, your primary focus is your health and recovering from any injuries. Also of importance is the potential damage caused to your personal property. Repairing the damage or replacing your items can cost you thousands of dollars. Why should you foot the bill after someone else’s negligence or reckless driving? Consulting with a property damage lawyer may help you determine how much you might receive to cover the costs.
What Is Property Damage?
Any defect caused to your personal property by a car crash may count as property damage. However, you do need to weigh the cost of legal fees versus the cost of repairing your personal property before making a decision.
For example, if a car crash cracked the screen on your phone and your phone insurance can cover this with a $50 deductible, it may not be worth pursuing compensation in court. If you have other claims to make in court, however, you may include minor damages in the tally.
What Are Some Types of Property Damage?
When it comes to property damage after a car crash, there is no single established standard for categorizing them. However, you can group damages into the specific objects affected and how the damage occurred.
Car Crash Vehicle Damage
Vehicles in motion tend to sustain greater damage than those parked. This is especially likely if both vehicles were traveling at high speeds or in opposite directions. These property damage claims can also include injury claims, because people as well are more likely to suffer injuries in these situations.
Stationary Vehicle Damage
Have you ever parked your car at a place of business and returned to find someone had caused damage to your vehicle? In some cases, the responsible party may stick around or leave a note. Other times, your motion-activated dash cam or nearby CCTV cameras may capture enough footage to identify the driver. You may use this and other evidence to pursue damages.
Real Estate Damage
Every so often, a story surfaces in the news of a car launching into someone’s living room or driving into a restaurant. Chances are that your business has video surveillance. More than 20% of homes also have surveillance. Even if your building has no surveillance, your neighbor’s or traffic cameras may gather evidence.
Whether these items are inside your vehicle or a building, belongings may become damaged after a car crash. These may include the laptop in your car, the furniture at a restaurant or the antiques stored in your garage. It can be possible to receive compensation for these items. To accomplish this, you may need to provide estimates of their worth.
What Is the Process for Filing a Property Damage Claim?
How you file a property damage claim depends on several factors. This includes the type of property, your ability to identify the responsible party and whether the insurance company fights back. Because of this, we can only provide general information on the claims process.
1. Identify the Responsible Party
Begin your property damage claim by attempting to discover who the responsible party is. Sometimes, the person who crashes into your property may not be the only responsible party. Another vehicle may run them off the road or a drunk person may have wandered into the street. Local laws determine when and how you go about filing a police report.
2. Identify the Liable Party
The entity liable for damages is not always the responsible party. For instance, if you identify the driver who crashes into your car, their insurance company becomes liable. The individual may only become personally liable if they are uninsured. Similarly, if you cannot determine who caused the accident, your own insurance policies may need to cover the damage.
3. File a Claim
The importance of determining the responsible and liable parties surface when it’s time to file an insurance claim. Insurance companies tend to have their own established processes for filing a claim, so you generally need to follow their recommendations.
4. Seek a Settlement
Not every property damage case goes to court. Your property damage lawyer may successfully negotiate a private settlement with the insurance company. If the insurance company rushes to make an offer, think twice before accepting. Oftentimes, insurance providers do this to low-ball injured parties when they know the case is worth more money.
5. Go to Court
If you cannot reach a settlement, your property damage lawyer may need to pursue a case in court. Most insurance companies and other liable parties may not want to go to court because of the potential for higher payouts and media scandal. Even so, many will take the risk if they are determined not to pay the full worth of your case and feel convinced they can make a persuasive argument.
When Do You Need To Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer?
Claims for property damage after a car crash rarely occur independently. Even if a car crashes into your home instead of your vehicle, people in the home may have suffered injuries. Those who did not sustain physical injuries may later suffer from serious PTSD. These factors can add to the complexity of filing a claim and pursuing compensation.
The insurance company may also use its resources to sway the odds in its favor. This begins in the negotiation process and may carry on into court. Insurance companies have teams of lawyers to defend them. Hiring your own property damage lawyer may help you level the playing field and may help ensure you do not get taken advantage of.
Cases that go to court require a property damage lawyer more than most. Insurance companies may stop at nothing to discredit your story, your driving record and even your personal reputation. It may surprise you the lengths they are willing to go to avoid paying for cases.
Would you like to speak to a property damage attorney to determine the worth and feasibility of your case? Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!