The vast majority of lawsuits that result from a car accident involve bodily injuries. That said, you can sue for a car accident if you are not hurt but your vehicle is damaged. These are known as property damage claims.
Unlike personal injury claims that contain some degree of subjective losses, the value of a damaged vehicle may not be disputed by the at-fault driver. That does not mean every property damage claim will be simple to resolve. Uninsured drivers can complicate your efforts to obtain compensation for your property damage claim. However, according to USAGov, there are several types of insurance coverage that may be available to you in an insurance policy, including uninsured motorist coverage.
Understanding Property Damage Claims
It is challenging to estimate the dollar amount of property damage claims filed each year. However, most motor vehicle repairs run in the thousands of dollars. Repairing or replacing luxury vehicles can cost substantially more.
Property damage claims play a large part in liability insurance coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 18 percent of auto insurance premiums go toward property damage claims.
There are different aspects of a property damage claim. Each of these aspects will determine exactly what your claim is worth. One important question regarding property damage cases is whether or not the vehicle is a total loss. A total loss occurs when the damage to a vehicle is so substantial that it makes more financial sense to replace it entirely instead of attempting to repair it.
Depending on whether or not the vehicle is a total loss, the ultimate goal will be to recover the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle. That is not the end of your potential property damage recovery, however. It may also be possible to pursue compensation for the cost of any vehicle rental that was necessary after the crash. Alternatively, you may be able to recoup the cost of public transportation costs after your accident as well.
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Moving Forward with a Property Damage Claim
More than likely, a property damage settlement offer that reflects all of your losses may not just fall into your lap. Often, you will have to build a successful claim before the insurance company will make a settlement offer that compensates you sufficiently. The good news is that an attorney can assist you with this process. Some of the steps that come with a property damage claim include:
- Gathering documentation including repair estimates, tow bills, and rental receipts
- Investigating the cause of the accident
- Identifying the at-fault parties
- Contacting the other driver’s liability carrier
- Arranging for repairs if necessary
If you have been involved in a property damage accident, it might not be immediately obvious to you what your next step should be. Your attorney can evaluate your claim and advise you on your next steps forward.
Resolving a Property Damage Claim
When it comes to property damage claims, there are two ways to obtain a favorable outcome. The first is by negotiating a settlement with the other driver or their insurance company. The second is through winning a judgment at trial.
Many property damage claims end in settlement. In fact, these claims are often less contentious than personal injury cases. The cost of repairing motor vehicles is fairly uniform. The lack of subjective losses largely simplifies the claims process.
That does not mean every settlement offer is a good one. In some cases, the insurance company will undervalue your vehicle. They might imply the damage is not as serious as it looks or even suggest your vehicle was damaged prior to the crash. In other cases, an insurance company might only be willing to provide compensation for the cost of substandard parts. These disagreements often necessitate a trial.
While claims involving nothing but property damage may not require a trial, it is inevitable that some of these cases will go before a jury. To obtain a judgment in your favor, you must establish that the other driver was negligent. Additionally, you must also demonstrate the amount of compensation you are entitled to recover. If the court agrees with you, they will enter a verdict in your favor.
Obtaining a verdict is only part of the process. You must also collect on the verdict. If there is no insurance coverage, collecting the money you are owed can be difficult. An attorney can assist you in these efforts as well.
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You Could Recover Compensation for Your Property Damage
If you are wondering if you can sue for a car accident if you are not hurt, the attorneys of Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. are ready to discuss your property damage claim. Let our team investigate your case and help you gather the evidence to fight for your compensation. Call (317) 636-7777 to schedule a free consultation.