Will my personal injury case pay for my car damage?
At Christina Pendleton & Associates, we assist in the swift resolution of personal injury claims involving automobile accidents every day. Working your case includes confirming treatment, gathering medical bills and records, accounting for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, inconvenience etc. But what about your vehicle and property damage claims?
Personal injury firms typically do not pursue property claims. Even though the negligence of another driver caused injury to you and damage to your vehicle, attorneys tend not to get involved with property damage. This is because property damage claims are governed by contract law. When you sign your automobile insurance policy agreement, that is an actual contract. You agree to be bound by the contract’s terms. In exchange for paying a monthly premium, the auto insurance company lists out over many pages the coverage they will provide, and the limits and exceptions to that coverage. So everything that your personal injury attorney might argue you deserve, such as greater value for your damaged vehicle, rental car expense, etc. is governed by the contract signed.
So while there is room to negotiate with your property claims adjuster, the basis for value for your repairs or total loss property claim on your contract is unlikely to be retail, but rather some type of diminished value calculation.
What do I do?
1. Read your contract-if you know what you’re entitled to, you can avoid being shortchanged by insurance adjusters
2. Bring your own research. There are multiple websites that will value your vehicle based on age, mileage and other factors. Use these websites to support your estimated value of your vehicle. If your vehicle was not totaled but merely damaged, have it assessed by a repair shop you trust to get an alternative estimate for repair.
Your Pendleton Law team is happy to serve as a sounding board as you navigate your property claim.
Give us a call at 804-250-5050 option 1.