When your car or other vehicle is damaged in an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for repairs, as well as diminishment of value or the totaling of your vehicle. After an accident, you may need to file separate claims, one related to bodily injury and one related to property damage. In many instances, you can obtain compensation for vehicle repairs or salvage without an attorney. This may be appropriate for minor accidents in which you were not hurt, for instance. However, in some cases, when the property damage is substantial, and you have serious injuries, it may be wise to retain an experienced attorney. You can contact the Atlanta property damage lawyers at Van Sant Law.Property Damage
You may be entitled to recover the costs of repairing your vehicle and its diminished value from an at-fault driver and his insurer. Most people do not have enough money to pay a significant property damage claim out of pocket. If an at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you may need to make an uninsured/underinsured claim with your own insurer.
To recover property damage from another party, you will need to establish that party’s liability. In many cases, you will need to prove negligence. This means showing that it is more likely than not that another driver failed to use reasonable care, such that you were injured, and your vehicle was damaged as a result.
When your vehicle is repaired after an accident, the shop will make these repairs by using either the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or aftermarket parts. Insurers prefer aftermarket parts because they are cheaper. It is important to be aware that if your vehicle is repaired with aftermarket parts, the value of the vehicle drops. A buyer or dealer may offer you less money down the road if your car has been repaired by using aftermarket vehicle parts. You should not assume that an insurer is on your side and will make decisions in your best interest regarding the value of your car or motorcycle. Instead, it is important to retain an experienced property damage attorney in the Atlanta area.
Once your vehicle is repaired after an accident, you will be entitled to diminished value. Diminished value is the decrease in value after the vehicle has been damaged. An insurer may not tell you that this is an aspect of your damages. You should be aware that a buyer or dealer can use your VIN number to determine whether your vehicle was involved in an accident. If they see that you were in an accident, you may be offered less money for the vehicle. In Georgia, you can seek compensation for the diminishment of value in your vehicle after an accident caused by someone else.Settling Your Property Damage Claim
Under Georgia law, your property damage claim may be handled separately from your personal injury. You may be able to settle only the property damage claim, while leaving your personal injury claim open. In fact, if you have serious injuries, your attorney and you will need to wait to figure out how severe and extensive these injuries are before settling your personal injury claim. In some cases, an insurer tries to take advantage of a claimant’s lack of knowledge if they are not represented by an Atlanta property damage attorney. The insurer may offer a settlement that is too low soon after you make a claim, hoping that you accept it and sign a waiver to forgo your right to obtain the full scope of your damages.
When you have been injured in an accident that was caused by someone else, you should retain an experienced attorney before you talk to another party's insurer. Sometimes an insurer asks questions to an accident victim with the goal of obtaining admissions of fault. Additionally, if an insurer has offered you a settlement, and you are unsure about whether you are being offered an appropriate value for a property damage and personal injury claim, you should discuss your situation with an experienced attorney.Retain a Skilled Motor Vehicle Collision Attorney
If you sustained property damage in an accident, you should discuss your losses with Van Sant Law. We represent clients throughout Georgia from offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Athens, Cumming, Duluth, Lawrenceville, and Gainesville. We can sign you up electronically without face-to-face interaction when needed. Alternatively, we can visit you in your home if you prefer. Call us at 855-GA-INJURY or complete our online form to discuss your case with a property damage lawyer in Atlanta or surrounding areas.