Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for a Property Damage Claim?
Nonetheless a car accident can be a scary experience, and it can be devastating to have to either total out your car, or spend weeks or months in a rental car while yours is being fixed. The question most victims of a car accident have is, “Do I sue the person who caused the damage?” Or, “Do I just submit a property damage claim directly to the other persons insurance company?” We get it, once you have been in a car accident, there can be a lot of unanswered questions.
What is Considered Property Damage in a Car Accident?
To put it in the simplest terms, property damage is harm to anything other than a person. Property damage can be related to anything involved in the car accident that is not a human. This could be your car, a tree, home, fence, etc on the outside of the car. Additionally, property damage can include items inside of an automobile like special speaker systems, laptops, cellphones, car seats, etc).
Damages are often defined by their replacement value or the cost of repairs. Including the loss of the use until the items are replaced or repaired. In rare cases sentimental value will be a consideration if something damaged was a family heirloom of sorts.
Property Damage Claims are Typically Handled Through the Insurance Company
If you were lucky enough to be in a car accident and walk away with no physical injuries and rather only some property damage, most of the time these property damage claims will be handled directly with the insurance company. You shouldn’t need a lawyer to help you with with the insurance claims process. This will usually happen with a few back and forth phone calls with the insurance agent and/or auto shops that are fixing the vehicle. However, if you find that you need some extra manpower to review your policy with someone or help get your claim moving in the right directly, you can consider speaking with a car accident lawyer like the ones at B|B Law Group.
How to File a Property Damage Claim After a Car Accident
Filing a property damage claim after a car accident doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Preparation is key. Following the proper steps can help make the claim process easier.
1.) As soon as the accident has happened, make sure that no one is hurt. Confirm with both parties that everyone is ok and that there is only property damage present.
2.) Call the Police. You will need to have the accident report on record for the insurance company when you file the claim. The police will write up their own accident report, but it never hurts to make your own accident report too.
3.) Make your own accident report. Write downs many details as you can. Details such as the weather, the road conditions, damage to your vehicle and the damage to the at-fault vehicle, the area the accident occurred, what property was damaged, and any other relevant details. You can never have too much information and it is better to have more information than not enough.
4.) Make sure you collect the other driver’s insurance information and license plate details. Also, use your cell phone to take several photos of the scene and the surroundings so that you can use present that evidence in your property damage claim
Before filing a property damage claim, make sure that you have all your necessary documents and pieces of evidence in place.
When Should I File a Property Damage Claim?
Each state will have its own Statute of Limitations. Each state has a statute of limitations for both a personal injury claim as well as a property damage claim. Sometimes it is the same, but not always. For example, in California, the Statute of Limitations for property damage claim in 3 years. But, for a personal injury claim it is only 2 years. Although depending on your state you could have between 2 and 6 years to file a property damage claim, the sooner the better. You don’t want to sit on this too long. Also, the sooner you get it filed, the sooner you can be compensated for the damages to your property.
Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney to File A Property Damage Claim?
As we mentioned before, you shouldn’t need an attorney to help you with the insurance claim process. Although it can seem daunting, as long as there are no injuries involved it can be a pretty straight forward process.
There are some special circumstances that you will want an excellent car accident attorney on your side. For example, if your insurance company refuses to pay you benefits that you’re owed or denies your claim without a reasonable basis, this is said to be “acting in bad faith” and you may actually have grounds for a lawsuit. Or, if during your car accident you received a personal injury in addition to your property damages, you will definitely want a car accident attorney on your side.
Do I Need to Sue Someone for Property Damage?
There is a time and place that you may want to sue someone directly for property damage. Rather than only going through the insurance company. For example, if you want to recover the deductible you had to pay to your insurance company. In that case you would need to file a lawsuit in small claims court against the person who caused damage to your property.
Or, if you don’t live in a no-fault state, you may be able to pursue the damages to your property from the at-fault party. This would also be held in small claims court.
On a general basis small claims court lawsuits do not involve lawyers.
Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
If you do find yourself in need of a Los Angeles Car accident lawyer, the personal injury lawyers at B|B Law Group can help.
At B|B Law Group, our goal is simple: preserve and protect the legal rights of the people of Southern California. Our award winning team of attorneys are experienced in the fields of personal injury, employment and habitability law, and it is our mission to provide our clients with the best legal representation.
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