Car accident victims can claim more than just compensation for medical bills. Aside from medical injury claims, they may also file for property damage claims. However, it’s never recommended for them to try and handle these claims on their own. It’s always best to get qualified legal advice for personal injury and property damage claims.
A seasoned car accident attorney understands the tactics used by insurance companies, including avoiding the payment of a fair settlement. Because of this, a car accident lawyer can help you secure adequate compensation for property losses.
Essential Details About Property Damage Claims
Your car is one of the most important tools you own. It’s also one of the most expensive purchases you have made. You need your vehicle to go to work, take your kids to school, buy groceries and go on weekend trips.
Your car is a crucial element of daily life. According to the US Census Bureau, over 287.3 million cars are registered in the country. And only 8.45% of US households don’t have access to a family car. So it’s an essential investment for any individual or family.
Getting your car damaged in an accident is a terrible loss and a considerable inconvenience. You may need some expensive repairs done before driving your vehicle again. However, most auto policies won’t pay for a totaled vehicle. This condition is also called a total loss, rendering the car irreparable. If insurance companies determine that it costs more to repair the car than it’s worth, they won’t pay for repairs.
Instead, they should pay you the book value of the vehicle so you can purchase a new one for the same price.
Another factor you should consider is you’ll be driving a rental while waiting for a replacement or for repairs to complete. These conditions add to the inconvenience you have to suffer, apart from potential injuries you may have sustained during the accident. All of these factors should be considered when computing for just compensation, which is why it’s crucial to have a reliable car accident attorney on your side.
The Benefits of Working With a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney When Filing Property Damage Claims
Without sound legal advice, you may de-value your case, which means not getting adequate compensation for property damages. In addition, insurance companies can take advantage of your lack of legal knowledge. An experienced car accident lawyer will understand the details of your case and your rights. The goal is to pursue all the legal steps that ensure that you’ll receive the best possible outcome and compensation.
Your lawyer is quite familiar with the tactics used by insurance companies, dealing with them regularly. The goal of some of these companies is to try to pay you less than what you truly deserve to improve their bottom line.
Some of their more common tactics include the following:
- Outright claim denial: some insurance adjusters may say that you didn’t fill out the correct forms, so they can’t pay for your car’s repairs. Sometimes they will give you the runaround, making the claims process frustrating. Your lawyer can help clear the process, especially if the adjusters deny your claim based on paperwork.
- Delaying tactics: delaying tactics runs down the time of any statute of limitations, reducing the liability insurance companies will have to pay. This tactic results in further aggravation for the accident victim, who may be suffering from injuries, lost wages and medical bills.
- Early settlement offers: some insurance adjusters will offer an early settlement. Accident victims who are already desperate may fall for this trap, which usually gets them a reduced claim amount for property damages.
- Blame shifting: some insurance companies may shift the blame for the accident to the victims, saying, for example, they violated certain traffic laws. In some states, the awards may be reduced depending on the percentage of the blame a party carries.
- Downplaying injuries: sometimes, insurance adjusters may downplay the severity of your injuries. They may say that your injuries aren’t as severe as you say they were, or maybe you only need a shorter recovery time. As the victim of the accident, you need just compensation to pay for both the medical bills and the loss or damage to property.
It’s best that you leave claims processing in the hands of an experienced car accident attorney. Let your attorney handle the legal details so you can focus on getting healed. Your attorney understands the complexities of property damage and personal injury claims and will work to bring you the best possible settlement. In addition, your attorney can also gather all relevant documents, preventing insurance companies from using technical loopholes.
Getting a Rental Vehicle
A seasoned car accident attorney can also help you acquire a rental vehicle. Texas law obligates insurance companies to provide you with a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired. You may also be entitled to receive compensation for the diminished value of your vehicle, if applicable.
There are three insurance policies you need to be aware of in a property damage claim:
- Liability: According to Texas law, the insurance company of the driver who is at fault is obliged to provide you with a rental vehicle. You have the right to demand the same type of vehicle.
- Rental Reimbursement: It doesn’t matter who is at fault for some policies. The insurance company will be required to reimburse you for the cost of hiring a rental vehicle. Your attorney will ensure that you receive the rental reimbursement as stated in your policy.
- Comprehensive Coverage: With this type of policy, your insurance company must supply you with a rental while your car is being repaired, no questions asked.
Recovering a Vehicle’s Diminished Value
Recovering your vehicle’s diminished value is another important aspect of property damage claims. Any vehicle that has been damaged in an accident loses a percentage of its trade-in or resale value.
If your vehicle loses value because of significant damage, you’re entitled to a diminished value claim. It should amount to the difference between the vehicle’s current and estimated value if it weren’t damaged. You can only make this claim if the other driver was at fault during the accident.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you file a diminished value claim as just compensation for damages to your vehicle. If the insurance company declines to pay the settlement, your attorney can pursue the case in court.
Claims for Accident Injuries
Pain and suffering damages can vary depending on the permanence and severity of the victim’s injuries. Pain and suffering can be debilitating, preventing you from working or enjoying your life. However, determining the amount of damage for the pain and suffering can be difficult. In addition, it’s one thing to claim to experience difficulties due to injuries and another to prove it in court. Your attorney needs to gather sufficient evidence to prove the severity of the pain you’re suffering.
To create a more objective claim, your attorney will use medical records and testimonies from your doctors. You may also need testimony from a psychiatrist who can identify your emotional struggles.
Besides medical records, video and photographic evidence may also be used to build your case. In addition, your diaries and journals can be used to prove your in-the-moment thoughts at the time of your recovery.
An experienced car accident lawyer can gather all the necessary evidence to prove your case. Then, with expert legal advice, you can evoke sympathetic responses from insurance adjusters, jurors and judges. Your lawyer can also quantify your injury and property damage claims.
Call the Law Offices of David Kohm today at any of our convenient locations and get a free consultation.
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