If you've been in a car accident, you may have property damage to both your car and other belongings. With modern cars, it's possible to have extensive property damage even if you walk away perfectly safe and healthy. Here's what you need to know about having that damage paid for by the at-fault driver.
You Have the Right to the Current Value of Your Property
You have the right to recover the current value of any property that's damaged or destroyed in an accident. Say that you bought your car for $20,000 and it's now worth $10,000. If your car gets totaled in an accident, you have the right to receive $10,000. Even if you'd go out and buy another $20,000 car to replace it, your loss was $10,000 since that's what you could have sold your car for.
Damage that you're going to repair gets treated the same way. If it costs $1,000 to repair your bumper, you're entitled to $1,000. The same math applies to any other property that gets damaged or destroyed in an accident, like your phone.
You Have the Right to Recover Your Loss of Value
Cars that have been in an accident often sell for less than the same car that has never been in an accident. Even when they're repaired, cars that have been in an accident are often never quite the same as they were before. Say you have your $10,000 car with $1,000 in bumper damage. You get your $1,000 check and get it fixed, but now you can only sell it for $8,000. You're entitled to an additional $2,000 in loss of value.
The Insurance Companies Will Fight You
Now that you understand the theory, it's time to face the reality. Even your own insurance company will often try to pay you less than you're entitled to because paying you lowers their profits. If your car is totaled or loses value, they may use an unreasonably low book value that doesn't reflect what you could actually sell your car for. If you need repairs, they may want to go with a low estimate that doesn't provide a full repair.
Your car accident attorney is the only one who is required by law to put your interests first. They can help you negotiate with the other driver or insurance company or go to court to get you what you're owed. To get started, contact a local car accident attorney today.Share