Even a minor car accident can cause property damage, but can a personal injury lawyer help you file a claim on it? The laws for handling personal injury claims and property damage claims are different. Most personal injury attorneys have experience with both. They’re more likely to handle your property damage claim if you have a personal injury case with them.
About Insurance and Property Damage Claims
In California, the minimum liability insurance requirements include $5,000 to cover property damage. The cost to repair damage from an automobile accident can easily exceed that amount, given the cost of parts and labor. If you’re at fault for the damage, your insurance coverage should protect you from having to pay.
How your lawyer handles the claim depends on how much property damage there is. If it’s worth only a few hundred dollars to fix, you can let the insurance company settle the claim. Once it accepts or denies your claim, by law, it must settle it within 30 days. The insurer can pay to repair or replace the car if you have collision insurance.
However, car accidents can involve more extensive damage to vehicles and sometimes buildings, including homes. Regardless of the damage, an insurance company requires you to report the accident in a certain amount of time, which is usually 24 to 48 hours after it occurs. The statute of limitations is a different story; in California, it gives you three years to file a claim for a loss of personal or real property.
Challenges of Filing Property Damage Claims
If you’ve hired a personal injury attorney, chances are you’re seeking compensation to pay for medical bills and focused on recovering physically and mentally. Personal injury lawyers often have the expertise to help with a wide range of matters. This is helpful for the following reasons:
- Repair Costs: The cost of repairs after an accident that’s serious enough to cause major injuries often exceeds property damage liability limits on the driver’s policy.
- Insurance Companies Love to Save Money: They use many tactics to reduce payouts and avoid paying claims. A personal injury lawyer can step in when the insurer challenges your claim.
- Insurance Adjusters Often Undervalue Claims: The adjuster works for the insurance company to save them money. Anything you say, do, or fail to do can be used against you. An attorney’s objective is to represent you and fight for your rights.
- Insurance Companies Undervalue Property: This is a common tactic that often involves a request for you to get multiple estimates; nonetheless, their offer is surely to be less than what you need.
- Cars Depreciate In Value: Few car owners fully understand how vehicles depreciate over time. Therefore, it can be hard to understand the value the insurer places on your car. Your attorney has access to resources to determine if its offer is fair.
You can research and find that the insurance offer isn’t enough to cover your property damage claim. While it can give you leverage to negotiate, insurance companies use many strategies. For example, they can ask you to sign documents that are later used against you. An insurance adjuster is always steps ahead of you. That’s why you need a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with their tactics and how to work around them.
How Do I Get an Insurance Company to Pay a Property Damage Claim
Filing a property damage claim may seem secondary after a car accident, but not to your attorney. They know insurance companies rely on claimants’ lack of knowledge to deny or reduce payouts. However, the insurer is not exempt from the law. A skilled lawyer has extensive knowledge of the law and can analyze various factors of your case and use them to protect your rights. Their representation and expertise enable them to prevent an insurance firm from discrediting or de-valuing your case.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with an Insurance Claim?
Personal injury lawyers regularly deal with insurance companies. Their representation is important because an insurance company’s goal is to pay you less than your claim is worth, even if it means using tactics that catch you off-guard.
Personal injury laws also vary from state to state. Our personal injury attorneys know every rule set by the state of California, including those that, under certain conditions, can extend the statute of limitations. Therefore, we can give you more time to file your claim (the defendant’s insurance company will never share this information).
Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers have years of experience representing clients and negotiating with insurance companies. If you’ve been injured in an accident and also have a property damage claim, our team can fight to get the compensation you deserve. Call (888) 952-2952 for a free consultation.