How is Property Damage Assessed after a Car Accident?

Each year, tens of thousands of car accidents occur in the State of California, causing significant injuries and property damage. Many of these accidents occur because of the negligence of other drivers. Any damage to your car and other property that was in the car or on your person at the time of the accident is considered property damage. If you were in an accident and need assistance, contact us to set up a free consultation.

Damage To The Vehicle

When there is damage to your vehicle caused by a car accident and you file an insurance claim, there must be a determination made regarding the value of the car and how much you should receive.

First, the insurance company will determine the actual cash value or your vehicle. This is not the purchase price of your car. Rather, it is how much you should be paid if your car is totaled or stolen. This value is typically found by taking the value of your vehicle before the accident, and subtracting either the deductible for your comprehensive insurance or the deductible for your collision insurance. To determine that value of the car before the accident, factors such as age, mileage, make, model, and previous accidents will be considered.

If you believe the ACV that the insurance company comes up with is incorrect, you can dispute this by submitting comparable car prices/values in the area and other information that shows why your car should be valued differently.

Once they have the ACV of your car, the insurance company will determine if it would cost more to repair the vehicle. If this is the case, it will be considered a total loss. In this case, the insurance company that is responsible for compensating you will pay you the ACV of your vehicle. The insurance provider must also compensate you for sales taxes, title transfers vehicle registration, license plate transfer, and other fees that are mandatory in California when purchasing a car.

Property Damage Other Than Your Vehicle

In most car accident cases, the most significant damage to property will be to the vehicle. In some cases, however, the victim of the accident will have other valuable items with them that are damaged, such as phones, watches, and other expensive items that may have been in the car.

If the other driver was at fault, you can try to collect reimbursements through their insurance company. How much you’re entitled to will depend on the other driver’s insurance policy and limits. If the driver only has the minimum coverage of property damage and you had several expensive items that were damaged, the compensation might not even come close to fully reimbursing you. In this case, you would want to file an underinsured claim with your own insurance policy. You can recover additional damages up to the limits on your policy.

If after recovering compensation from both insurance policies you are still not fully reimbursed, you should speak with an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer who can help you file a civil claim to recoup the rest of your costs.

If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us today to set up a free consultation.