Atlanta Property Damage Lawyer
Working to secure compensation for you and your family
Property damage (PD) refers to any damage suffered to your personal property as a result of an accident. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, your vehicle will more than likely be the biggest portion of your PD claim. However, you should know that you are also entitled to receive compensation for other items that were damaged in the accident.
While there is usually a property damage component in every personal injury claim, there are other times when you may only want to file a property damage claim.
Property damage only claims:
You should file a property damage only claim if:
- Your car was damaged in an accident
- There were no physical injuries and you will not need to seek any medical treatment or physical therapy
- Other personal items that were inside of the car at the time of the accident were damaged or destroyed. For example, this may include items like your glasses, clothing or even electronics like your laptop, camera or cell phone.
Car accident without bodily injuries
What steps should you take after an accident if there are no bodily injuries?
1) File a claim: If another driver caused the crash, that driver’s insurance company is responsible for reimbursing you for any damaged property as a result of their driver’s negligence.
2) Get a rental car: The length of this process depends on how quickly the opposing insurance company accepts liability.
If there is a dispute regarding liability, or if the other insurance company is simply taking too long to make rental car arrangements, you may be well served going through your own vehicle’s insurance’s collision coverage. You will have to pay your deductible for the time being, but after the responsible driver’s insurance company completes their investigation and accepts liability, your deductible amount will be refunded to you as part of your settlement.
3) Have your vehicle appraised for repair: The sooner you complete this step, the sooner you can expect to have your vehicle repaired.
After the insurance company has appraised your vehicle, decide where to take your car for repairs. People are often under the misconception that they have to use the insurance company’s recommended repair shop. The insurance company may make it sound like this is the only option, but this is not correct. After an adjuster has appraised your vehicle, you can choose to have it repaired at a repair shop of your choice. Keep in mind, however, that the insurance company will only pay what they believe is a reasonable amount for repairs. If you choose to have it repaired somewhere with a higher cost, you must first get approval for the extra expenditure. If the insurance does not approve of the higher cost, they may be willing to write you a check for the amount of the appraisal. You will then have to work out the cost of the repairs with the shop of your choice.
If you’ve made additions to your vehicle or installed aftermarket parts (e.g., an expensive sound system or customized special rims), it’s always a good idea to keep receipts to prove their cost. You’ll need to include these as proof to recover these additional costs.
4) Include all damaged items in your claim and send receipts to the insurance company: You have a right to be compensated for any item of value that was damaged in the collision. Remember to list these items in your property damage claim. It helps to gather photographs and receipts for these items to prove their value.
Don’t forget about your car seat! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that parents replace car seats if they were in a vehicle that was in a crash – even if the child was not in the car seat at the time of the car accident. Since the extreme forces caused by a car accident can bend the steel frame of a vehicle, the explosive force of even a minor car accident can damage the plastic of a child’s car seat. Even if you can’t see the damage with your naked eye, the crash protection of a car seat or booster seat may be compromised. Don’t risk your child’s safety; besides, the car insurance company should pay for a replacement car seat as part of your property damage claim.
TIP: If you don’t have the receipts anymore, you may try reaching out to the retailer where the items were purchased, as the seller may be able to provide you with a copy of your receipt.
Contact our property damage attorneys in Atlanta, GA
While most attorneys will not handle property-damage only cases, as a courtesy, we provide assistance to our personal injury clients with the handling of their property damage claims. From our offices in DeKalb, Henry, Rockdale and Gwinnett counties, the experienced car accident attorneys at Kaine Law help our clients with every aspect of their claims throughout Atlanta and across Georgia.. Call us today at 404-214-2001 or contact us online to set up a meeting. Hablamos español.