Property Damage In Auto Accidents

Property Damage in Auto Accidents

Property damage is not in and of itself a personal injury. However, I believe that anyone involved in a car accident should understand how to deal with property damage after a crash. In this blog post, we will provide a summary of the issues involving property damages to your car. Many people do not know their rights regarding damages to their vehicle. We will also go over the different categories of damages that you should know about and mention some areas of interest within each category.

Repairing or Replacing Your Vehicle

The types of damages that can be obtained after an accident depends on many factors. One of the main factors is whether the accident was your fault or another driver’s fault. Typically, when an accident is your fault, you can obtain whatever damages your own insurance policy provides. Along with certain things that your insurance company is required to cover by law. On the other hand, when the damage is the fault of the other driver, one must typically recover damages from them. As for car repairs, you are entitled to have your car fixed by the insurance company. Additionally, if it is not cost effective to repair your car, the insurance company may elect to “total” the car and simply pay you for its value. In some states, if the repair estimate for your car exceeds a certain percentage of the market value of the car, then the car will be totaled. For  instance, the law might provide that if the cost to repair a damaged vehicle exceeds 80 percent of the value of the car, then the insurance company must declare the vehicle totaled. In that example, if a car is worth $10,000 and the cost to repair the vehicle is more than $8,000, the car must be totaled. Another issue that you may want to pay attention to is when an insurance company choosesto repair your vehicle. Oftentimes, the insurance company will use aftermarket or used repair parts. Aftermarket parts are parts manufactured by companies other than the manufacturer of your car. Used parts typically come from the non-damaged portions of otherwise totaled and “junked” cars which are sold off for parts. Insurance companies can save a lot of money by purchasing after-market or used repair parts rather than new parts from your car’s original manufacturer. These parts may or may not be as good as new original manufacturer’s repair parts. Your state’s law might allow the insurance company to repair your vehicle with used parts, especially if your car is older. In some states, insurance companies must repair cars with new parts that are made by the vehicle’s original manufacturer. This usually applies when a vehicle is within a certain number of years old and/or under a certain mileage. If the insurance adjuster declares your vehicle a “total” loss, then the adjuster must pay you the value of the vehicle, as provided by law. In many states, insurance companies must pay you the value as determined by some government approved used car valuing guide, such as the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) guide. Another type of damages that you may be entitled to in some states and that often insurance companies fail to point out is diminution in value. This type of damage applies when another party is at fault and your vehicle is repaired rather than declared a total loss. The concept of diminution in value damages is relatively easy to understand. You have most likely had the experience of trading in a car at the dealership and had the salesperson ask you whether your car has ever been wrecked. They ask you this because if the vehicle has ever been wrecked, even if it was properly repaired, its value is reduced, especially if there were repairs to the frame. Thus, they will give you less money for your tradein than if it had never been wrecked. Since this is a loss that was the fault of the other driver, you are entitled to make a claim at the time of settlement with the wrongdoer’s insurance company for this lowered vehicle value, called diminution in value.

Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in South Florida Today!

If you or someone you love was hurt in a traffic accident involving property damage, do not delay in contacting a skilled car accident lawyer as they will be familiar with the applicable Florida law and procedures involved in obtaining compensation. No matter the type of accident you were involved in, the personal injury lawyers at Suarez & Montero have the resources and experience to successfully accomplish your goal of receiving maximum compensation for your personal injury claim. We offer our legal services with no money down and no fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation in your case. Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation and stand ready to protect your rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation!

We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas:

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester.

Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston; and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach.