Property damage in a personal injury lawsuit typically refers to the damage or destruction of a motor vehicle that has been involved in an accident. However, other types of property can be harmed by others’ negligence or wrongdoing, including:
- Trailers, boats or other items being towed at the time of a car accident
- Personal property within a vehicle
- Clothing, shoes, jewelry, wristwatches and similar items
- Real property such as your home.
A property damage claim requires an appraisal of the property’s value before and after it was damaged and an estimate of the cost to repair or replace the property.
Seeking a Recovery for a Damaged or Totaled Motor Vehicle
After a serious car accident, your vehicle will need to be repaired or replaced. The insurance company may declare your car “totaled.” This means that an insurance claims adjuster has determined that your vehicle is so badly damaged that it would make more fiscal sense to pay the actual cash value of the car than to repair it.
Issues can arise concerning:
- Whether the car should be declared a total loss
- The cost of repairs (your insurer may want the repairs done by a shop it has chosen; on the other hand, you may want the repairs done by another shop)
- The actual cash value of your vehicle if it is “totaled.”
If your car is a classic or rare vehicle, or it has upgrades such as custom paint or after-market parts, it may have value that the insurance company does not recognize or has chosen to ignore. An attorney can help you to sort through these and other issues with the insurer.
Property damage issues can and should be resolved at the outset of personal injury litigation that arises from a car accident. After all, you will need transportation right away.
Diminished Value Claims
Virginia law allows accident victims to seek not only the costs to repair property damaged by another person’s negligence, it also allows a person to seek payment for the damaged property’s reduced value.
For instance, a car that has been repaired may work perfectly well. However, its resale value may be far less due to its involvement in a wreck.
This is known as “diminished value” or “diminution in value” claim. It can be applied to all types of property damage.
Get Help for Your Property Damage Claim
It is important to get help from an attorney if you are facing a property damage claim in Richmond or elsewhere in Virginia. To learn more, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates.