What is a Property Damage Claim?
A property damage claim is a report or evidence that you submit to an insurance company in the event that your car or personal property has been damaged. The property damage to your automobile after a car crash can be extremely frustrating, especially when coupled with the pain and suffering that you are experiencing. Dealing with the car insurance companies to get a rental car after a car accident can be frustrating. It is important to understand what you are entitled to and what to expect.
How do I make a property damage claim after my car crash?
After your car crash, you will need to obtain a copy of the Georgia Motor Vehicle Accident Report, which is generated by the responding officer following the collision. Normally the report is available within a week. Read the report and ensure that the information contained within is accurate. If you notice any inaccuracies, it is a good idea to call the officer as soon as possible to discuss the errors and request an that an updated report that includes the corrections.
Within the police report you will see the identity of who was cited as the at-fault party. The at-fault party’s insurance company will be listed on the police report. Searching online for the insurance company and you will find a toll- free number to call to report the collision and create a claim.
If you were found to be at fault for the collision, you should call your own insurance company and report the collision. You do not want to run into an issue where the insurance company tries to deny you coverage at a later date because they take the position that you waited too long.
During this entire process, it is extremely important that you do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company. The insurance company may claim that this will help them investigate the claim, but this is nothing more than a form of evidence gathering. The insurance company will benefit from you saying something against your interest, even if you did not mean it the way that you stated it.
Is an insurance company refusing to pay your property damage claim?
Under Georgia law O.C.G.A. §51-1-32 establishes how a Plaintiff can pursue separate causes for personal injury and property damage from a single incident. It states in part that “[i]n cases arising from the wrongful or negligent operation of a motor vehicle in which the single wrongful or negligent act causes or results in both physical injuries to a person and injuries to the property of such person…” This means that a Plaintiff can recover the reasonable value of repairs that were necessary because of the crash. . Alternatively, the Plaintiff can show the difference in fair market value of the property before the crash and afterwards and recover the value of any permanent impairment to the vehicle
If your vehicle is deemed to be a total loss, usually what people referred to as “totaled”, then the insurance company will be responsible for paying the fair market value of your vehicle. Do your homework about the value of your car before dollar figures start to get exchanged with the insurance company. You will benefit from trying to establish the value of your vehicle before you receive an initial offer from the insurer for the value of your vehicle. Check out well known sources like Kelly Bluebook, the NADA, Black Book and Autotrader.
Practically speaking, the amount you recover from your property damage insurance claim is unlikely to make you whole and leave you satisfied. The tools given to you by the laws of the state do not compare in power to the resources that the insurance company has at its disposal. You are significantly more likely to recover fairly for your bodily injury claim than your property damage claim following a car crash.
Wolfe Law Group, LLC does not take property damage cases, but we are happy to make recommendations to our auto accident personal injury clients to help them through their property damage claims. However, this article contains most of the information that you will need.