Can The Amount Of Your Property Damage Affect Your Settlement Offer?

Property damage is the destruction caused to public or private property of a person caused either by the person who is not the owner or a natural occurrence. In most cases, the destruction is caused by someone other than the owner. The damage may be intentional or accidental. However, property damage has to be filed separately from the personal injury settlement amount and cannot be a part of the settlement amount. If you have a personal injury claim and a property damage claim together, the property damage claim should be settled first as "the fact of the accident or medical condition" because it could have a great impact on the outcome of your personal injury settlement amount. The client in these cases has two choices: 

  1. Make a claim with their own insurance company
  2. Make a claim with the other person's insurance company.

If the client chooses the first option, he/she must make sure that any estimate the insurance company provides includes the cost of original manufacturing parts. If the client chooses the latter option, it might be more difficult in getting the original parts instead of the aftermarket parts. This will depend on whether your insurance policy allows aftermarket parts or not. There may be another dispute with the insurance company over the actual cash value (ACV) of the property. This could lead to a conflict whether the insurance company should provide the total value of the property or the total cost of repairing the property. There are three ways to determine the value of the car in case of auto accidents:

  1. Consider how much the car has been used in terms of mileage and age of the car.
  2. Have a comparison of the car by advertising the car in local newspapers for sale and 
  3. Computerized car evaluation services/programs -- In this way, essential data relating to the vehicle is put into a program and the program automatically generates an amount for the claim. 

Unlike the more complicated and higher value injury claims, property damage settlements can be done on the phone without sending demand letters to the insurance company. Within 1 to 3 weeks, you can receive a check with a release letter which requires your signature and after that you can deposit the check. Daytona Beach injury lawyers and Port Orange injury lawyers follow such a process in cases. It depends on if the property claim is being handled by your insurance company or not and the law of your state. Clients must be careful when signing the "release" and be sure to check to see if it actually says it is written "in full and final release of the all property claims" or "in full and final release of any or all claims."

If the property damages are filed with the other driver's insurance company, the insurance company will likely provide you with a rented vehicle until yours is repaired, but they may try to minimize the dollar value of the property damage. This can help them make an argument for a lower personal injury settlement amount. Otherwise, if the property damages are filed with the client's insurance company, the adjusters may argue that "If the property damage was so minimal, then you must not have been injured" which in turn can cause a lower personal injury settlement amount.

Injured? Don't get hurt twice!

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