What Is The Difference Between Property Damage And Personal Injury?
After a car accident, it may seem that everybody is just throwing several different legal words at you. After an accident, we recommend that you look after your own health, but in order to do that, you should have an experienced car accident attorney to take care of all of the required steps for a lawsuit.
Whether you will be filing a claim with your insurance company or filing a lawsuit against a negligent party, there may be several different terms used to describe different factors and compensation. For example, the two most common terms used in both car accident claims and lawsuits are property damage and bodily injury. There are very key differences between each type of damage. Based on each damage, you could get compensated for the losses, that is why these two terms should not be grouped together.
When you file a claim with an insurance company, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your claim. An insurance adjuster is an employee of the insurance company that will investigate your claim to determine how the accident occurred, and how much you have suffered in damages. The insurance adjuster will take a variety of steps to investigate the accident, including asking for photos, reviewing the accident scene, interviewing all the drivers involved, and interviewing witnesses. When the insurance adjuster determines liability, they will then have to determine damages. In order to determine damages, the insurance adjuster will have to figure out what the car accident victim missed out on or suffered.
What is property damage?
Property damage claims specifically refer to damage done to your personal belongings during the accident. The most common example used in car accident claims is car repair. Your vehicle will most probably suffer some type of damage. Property damage refers to the costs needed to repair or replace your vehicle. If your car suffered minor damage, then you most likely will only recover repair costs. If your vehicle is not operable anymore and the cost to repair the vehicle is more than the value of the actual vehicle itself, then you most likely will receive the value of the vehicle.
What does property damage include?
Property damage could include a variety of different damages that you suffered because of the damage done to your vehicle. Examples other than repair include:
- Cost to tow your vehicle to the body shop
- Damage to other items that were in your vehicle, such as laptops or cell phones
- Cost to rent a vehicle while your car was at the repair shop.
Who determines property damage?
After a car accident, our car accident attorneys recommend that you visit a car body shop to determine the amount of damage that your car has faced. A body shop will be able to review all the damage around your car and create an invoice as to what work is needed and what has been damaged. An invoice from a body shop is a key type of evidence that could be given to an insurance company when they are determining the property damage claim.
What do insurance adjusters do when determining property damage?
We advise that you provide all necessary documents that evidence property damage to the insurance adjuster. Oftentimes, insurance companies will try to pay as little as possible. This means that insurance companies may try to reach out to the auto body shop and ask various questions to determine the damage and limit the amount the insurance company will pay out.
Another tactic that an insurance adjuster could take is having their own body shop take a look at the vehicle and determine the damage. The body shop may offer a lesser amount, and may describe the damage done to the vehicle as minor.
How do you prove property damage?
Other than having receipts and invoices of all the damage done to your vehicle, you must also meet a variety of elements under a personal injury lawsuit. The elements of negligence must be proven. These include:
- The other driver had a duty to drive safe and to be on the lookout to prevent any potential accidents
- The driver fails to act within that duty and drove recklessly
- The driver caused the car accident
- Because of the car accident, now the victim has suffered property damage
What is bodily injury?
In car accidents, bodily injury compensation is more sought-after than property damage. Bodily injury is usually the largest portion of compensation that an insured could recover when compared to property damage. Bodily injury refers to a variety of damages that the car accident victim suffers. Examples include:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Emotional suffering
The insurance adjuster will take a look at all three of these factors in order to determine how much they are to pay out their insurance. Keep in mind that an insurance company will always try to pay out as little as possible, so they may try to downplay your injuries and your emotional suffering.
How does an insurance adjuster review bodily injury?
In order to prove bodily injury in a car accident claim, you must provide proof of your medical bills, along with any images and reports created by doctors to your insurance adjuster. The insurance adjuster will review all the documents to determine what injuries you have suffered, and what future treatments you may need.
Do I need a lawyer to file an insurance claim?
Whether you are filing a property damage claim or a bodily injury claim, we recommend that you speak to our accident attorneys as soon as you have been involved in an accident. Our car accident attorneys will give you more of an idea as to what steps you must take to file an insurance claim. Keep in mind that each insurance company has a time limit on when you can file your insurance claim. You must make an effort to not miss this deadline. For example, some insurance companies require that you report the accident within 3 days.
Having an accident attorney represent you when dealing with insurance companies has several advantages, which could include:
- Your attorney will be able to investigate the accident and provide all the necessary documentation to your insurance adjuster. It could be very difficult to determine what documents you should or should not go to your insurance adjuster, that is why we are here to help.
- Our car accident attorneys will communicate with the insurance company because insurance adjusters may try to get statements out of the insured which could be used against them. Insurance companies may try to use this tactic so they could use the victim’s words against them to downplay their payout amount.
How much do our car accident attorneys cost?
Keep in mind that each attorney has a different fee schedule. For example, some attorneys require hourly payments whereas others may need a lump sum of money upfront. Our car accident attorneys only get paid through a contingency fee percentage. A contingency fee is an agreement with our clients that we do not recover any compensation unless you win a settlement or a judgment. We only get a percentage of the compensation we win for our clients.