An auto accident claim involves two parts: the personal injury claim and the property damage claim.
The personal injury claim seeks to compensate you for damages that occurred as a result of physical injuries from the auto accident. The property damage claim seeks to compensate for damage that occurred to your car as a result of the accident.
Car accident victims don’t just deal with property damage. Most struggle with injuries or medical problems after a crash. Without a reliable vehicle, victims can suffer even greater losses.
Don’t settle for less when you don’t have to. The DeMayo Law Offices can help you fight for equitable compensation.
Filing a Property Damage Claim in North Carolina
To receive compensation for damaged property, you can file a claim against your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. How you file your claim depends on which driver was liable for the auto accident and what type of insurance coverage you have.
North Carolina requires all drivers to carry $25,000 of property damage insurance. This coverage is for direct and accidental loss to your vehicle. There are two types of property damage insurance:
- Collision: physical damage to your vehicle caused by a collision with other vehicles or objects.
- Collision coverage pays the lesser of the cost of repair or the actual cash value (ACV) of your automobile.
- Comprehensive: Losses caused by almost everything else (e.g., missiles or falling objects, fire, hail, theft, vandalism, earthquake, animals, etc.)
- Comprehensive coverage pays the cost of repair or ACV of your automobile less the deductible.
Read your insurance policy carefully before you make a claim. Next, contact a knowledgeable North Carolina property damage attorney to discuss liability.
Liability, or who is at fault for the accident, is important when dealing with property damage, as it may inform you about how to pursue compensation.
For example, if you’re not at fault for the accident, you will likely pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurer (no deductible). However, this isn’t always possible (e.g., hit and run accidents, uninsured motorists, etc.). Conversely, if you make the claim against your own insurer, you pay the deductible.
Liability is especially important in North Carolina, which follows contributory negligence rules. The doctrine of contributory negligence bars recovery by the plaintiff, if they’re found partially at fault for the accident.
In cases of clear liability, you may not need legal counsel to recover damages. If liability is disputed, a property damage attorney can help.
The next challenge is negotiating with a claims adjuster. The claims adjuster will take your statement and information from the police report and/or Driver Exchange Form.
Next, the insurance company will send out an auto appraiser to inspect your vehicle, estimate repairs and its pre-crash fair market value.
You can disagree with the inspection or estimate, and you don’t have to settle for the money they’re willing to pay for repairs or total loss. Get a second opinion from a preferred auto shop, or contact a North Carolina property damage attorney for help.
Remember, insurance adjusters work for the insurance company, not for you. Their priority is saving money, not your compensation.
Without help from an experienced auto accident attorney, you might not receive complete compensation including diminished value, loss of use, and reimbursement for rental cars.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo have the experience you need to get the compensation you deserve.
We have three convenient office locations in North Carolina including Charlotte, Hickory, and Monroe.
Loss of Use & Diminished Value Explained
A property damage claim presents complex problems for the plaintiff. Without a safe and reliable vehicle, getting to work, medical appointments, or the grocery store can be frustrating and expensive.
You may need a rental car. But who pays for that? And what about ride-sharing services? Can you be reimbursed for those?
You may be eligible to collect loss of use damages or reimbursement for a rental car. Generally, you can make these claims if:
- You’ve been in a car accident
- You’re NOT at fault for the accident
- Your vehicle is unusable for a period of time
- You accrue damages while the car can’t be used
Proving loss of use damage(s) can be difficult unless you’re able to show that the car is used daily, and without the vehicle, you suffered financial loss.
At the very least, you should make the case for rental car reimbursement, which is calculated using local or state averages. In some cases, the insurance company will pay for a rental car directly.
Diminished value is another complex problem plaintiffs might face. Diminished value is the perceived loss of value (regardless of repairs) following an accident. This is especially true of new, exotic, sport, and luxury vehicles.
Prospective car buyers have access to crash records and auto history. Your auto accident and property damage will be included in those reports and reduce the value of the car, even if it’s been repaired to ‘like new’ condition.
A diminished value insurance claim can offset the loss of value to your car, but insurance companies won’t be eager to pay. However, your uninsured motorist coverage (which is mandatory in North Carolina) will typically pay diminished value if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Read your insurance policy carefully for more details.
Aggressive Legal Representation
Filing a property damage claim with an insurance company can be difficult. Not only will it require interactions with insurance adjusters and auto appraisers, but without help from an experienced auto accident attorney, you may not receive the right amount of compensation.
At the DeMayo Law Offices, we’ll handle your difficult property damage claim when filing your auto accident.
Our auto accident lawyers work on a contigent fee, which means we don’t get paid until your case gets settled.