Car accidents can cause substantial amounts of property damage, so it’s important to know what to do to be fully reimbursed for your losses. Property damage claims are much less complicated and are quicker to resolve than personal injury claims, but must still be filed properly and backed up with the proper type of evidence. If there is a dispute over how the accident happened or the value of the property, it can be helpful to hire an experienced California property damage claim attorney to represent you.
How To File A Property Damage Claim
As soon as possible after the accident, take photos of the damage to your vehicle and write down everything you remember about how the accident happened. Next, you need to file form SR-1 with the California DMV if the accident caused injuries or property damage in excess of $1,000. Failure to file this form can result in loss of your license, so it’s a good idea to file it even if there is minimal damage and nobody is hurt. The next step is to contact the responsible party’s insurance company to negotiate the claim. They will want to see the police report and photos of the car. Some insurance companies will want to inspect the car themselves and others will want to see an estimate you obtain from a mechanic.
Bumps in the Road
Some property damage claims are simple. The police report says that you were hit in the rear and the insurance company negotiates with your body shop to get your car fixed. The insurance company may not want to pay the full cost of the repairs if the police report doesn’t indicate clearly that their insured was 100% at fault. Your car is considered totaled if it would cost more to fix it than its book value. This is frustrating because an older car may have been getting you around just fine, and the insurance company isn’t willing to pay you enough to replace it. If you don’t have Guaranteed Auto Protection (known as Gap Insurance) you may be responsible for payments on your lease in excess of what you collect for your property damage claim. If you’re not sure if you’re getting the right deal for your property damage claim, you should consult with an experienced California property damage attorney. Please call today for a free consultation.