What is Property Damage?
Your property has been damaged in some way, and insurance is being no help. It’s a common story, one that happens way too often. How do you know how much the insurance company should be paying? What are your rights? How do you get them to listen? Injury Smart Law is here to help.
When dealing with property damage, there are usually two categories:
1. Acts of Nature – hurricanes, tornados, and floods can be devastating and often result in water in your basement, and roof damage, and can even cause damage to your fence, yard, or awnings. Insurance companies will attempt to deny these claims using an “act of God” as a reason for denial.
2. Acts of Man – This can be deliberate damage such as vandalism, or it could be damage that happens as a result of negligence. Accidents such as a driver losing control of their car and crashing into a property are usually the result of negligent operation of the vehicle caused by a person. In damages as a result of acts of man, you may have to deal with two insurance companies—your own and that of the person who caused the damage.
In either case, insurance companies have one goal in mind: Their goal is to pay as little as possible in claims. Only then can they satisfy their shareholders – whose sole motivation is higher profits. And those profits can only be achieved by NOT paying claims.
“Insurance companies have legions of adjusters and lawyers who practice settling claims for pennies on the dollar. And consumers don’t even know the rules of the game” ~Ron Alford, author
How Can a Property Damage Lawyer Help My Claim?
Auto insurance companies often resist fully compensating you in order to save on their bottom line. That means getting fair and full compensation from these companies can be a struggle. The last thing you need to deal with after an accident is an argumentative insurance company.
Unfortunately, many law firms will not help either. Because a property damage case doesn’t result in enough compensation to pay a lawyer, many law offices will send you away, leaving you wondering what to do next.
At Injury Smart Law, we will assist you with your property damage claim for free. You may ask why we do it for free. If you are interested you can read Brad’s story of why he became a lawyer, but at the end of the day, it’s because he wanted to help people and make a difference for good. We want you to be able to get on with your life and not have the headache of getting your property taken care of. We also know that when you help others, it comes back ten fold. All we ask is that you tell your friends that if they are injured, Injury Smart Law can help.
What Should I Be Paid for Auto Damages?
Repair Cost vs. Fair Market Value
After an accident, you should get paid for either the cost to repair your vehicle or the fair market value of the car. Every car is repairable. However, not every car should be. Insurance companies will use a ratio to determine what happens to the car – either paying for it to get repaired, or determining to “total” the car, and pay you it’s fair market value.
The law entitles you to be fully compensated for your vehicle, whether you seek the repair value or the fair market value. But, if you disagree with the insurance’s decision and go to court, the judge or jury is likely to only allow you to get compensated for the fair market value if the cost of the repairs is more than the value of the car.
What Is the Fair Market Value of My Car?
To determine the value of your vehicle, you can use sites such as NADA to find the fair market value. You can also search for used cars in your area that are of the same make and model as your vehicle. Remember, the fair market value is simply the value that someone is willing to pay you. If similar vehicles in your area are selling for $5,000, then the fair market value is around $5,000.
What Is the Cost to Repair My Car?
You do not have to accept the estimate the insurance company gave you for repair. For instance, if you have a Land Rover and you would like to take your vehicle to a certified Land Rover dealer for repair, then you are entitled to do that. If you dispute the amount of repair given to you by the insurance company, then try to get an estimate from a few other mechanics. Having more than one opinion will give you a good idea of the cost of repair.
How Will a Mechanic Determine the Repair Costs for My Car?
A mechanic will inspect your car and write a report that details the amount of damage and parts needed for repair. The estimate should include labor and car parts, as well as any services that may be necessary such as towing. Your insurance company may recommend some places to get an estimate, but at the end of the day you should get your own mechanic to put together this estimate because car repair shops recommended by the insurance company may be biased toward the insurance company. This may lead to an estimate that will decrease your compensation.
What Should I Do If the Insurance Company Is Not Paying Me What I Deserve?
If you have already submitted an estimate from a mechanic and the insurance company still refuses to pay what is owed, then it may be time to contact an attorney. An Injury Smart Law lawyer will help secure fair compensation for your car’s damage.
Can the Insurance Company Deny My Claim?
In most cases, car insurance companies must pay for car damages. However, if the car accident was not covered by your car insurance policy or another driver’s car insurance policy, then the claim may be denied. This could also be true if you were at fault for the auto accident. An experienced Injury Smart Law property damage lawyer will be able to analyze your claim and determine if your policy did cover the accident, or they may be able to help prove you were not at fault.
The insurance company may also offer you a lowball amount for the damages you suffered. You should not accept such a settlement. Such lowball payments are likely far lower than what you deserve or what you need to get your car back in full working condition.
If your car insurance company denies your property damage claim, give Injury Smart Law a call. We will fight for your rights when dealing with an insurance company so that you get the full amount of compensation that is due to you. If the other driver was at fault, we can help make sure their car insurance pays out.
Can I Be Compensated for Diminished Value?
If your car is repaired, then you are entitled to be compensated for the diminished value. This is the loss in value that the car experienced by being repaired. In other words, if you sell the vehicle after the repairs are completed, you’re not going to get the same amount of money. The value of the car would be the same as if the car had not been repaired.
Can I Sue Someone for Damaging My Car?
Yes, you can sue someone for vehicle property damage but only under certain circumstances. Normally, the other driver’s insurance will handle damages to your property, but certain factors could allow you to sue the other driver. For instance:
- If you have proof that the other driver was at fault and caused your vehicle to be damaged, but their insurance will not cover the damages.
- If insurance coverage limits are too low to cover the cost of damages
These are not the only situations that could lead to you filing a lawsuit against the other driver in a car accident. There are also nuances that could easily invalidate any lawsuit you are seeking to file. That is why it is very important to consult with an auto accident lawyer before pursuing a lawsuit against the other driver. If you are in a bind, give Injury Smart Law a call. We can help determine which legal route is appropriate for getting your vehicle repaired or replaced.