Can I Sue if I Wasn't Injured in a Car Accident?
Car accidents happen every day. In many cases, the injuries that result from a car accident are life-altering. While most accident claims stem from serious bodily injuries, you could pursue legal action even if you were not physically harmed in the collision.
Despite the lack of medical bills, the repercussions of a car accident could still be costly. Property losses in a car accident can be extensive, even in accidents that are seemingly minor.
There are a number of options when it comes to pursuing a claim for property damage. You could seek compensation through an insurance claim or file suit against the responsible driver. A dedicated car accident lawyer could assist you in pursuing your claim even when a physical injury has not occurred.
The difference between personal injury and property damage claims
While both types of claims can result from the same accident, there are important differences between injury and personal property claims. Injury claims can seek compensation for a variety of factors, starting with medical bills. These bills are often significant, but they are only a part of a personal injury claim. These claims can also have subjective components based on your pain and suffering, mental anguish, or disfigurement. Altogether, the compensation for these claims could be far more than the total amount of your hospital bills.
Property damage is different, as these claims are limited to the exact value of the damage to your vehicle. There is no subjective aspect like pain and suffering to establish, but that does not mean the value of a vehicle is never in dispute. In some cases, the other driver or their insurance company could claim that the value of your totaled vehicle is much lower than what you are asking for. In cases where your vehicle was repaired, they could find that you overpaid.
Facing a property damage claim
Even if you are not injured in an accident, a property damage claim can have a major impact on your life and your finances. Not only do you have to deal with your damaged vehicle, but you must also arrange for other transportation on short notice.
Dealing with these headaches can distract you from pursuing a legal claim for damages based on your property damage. The following tips can assist you in moving forward with your claim.
- Obtain an estimate. Unless you have experience as a mechanic or an insurance adjuster, you are unlikely to have any idea how much it will cost to repair or replace your vehicle. That is where an estimate comes in. A mechanic can inspect your vehicle and quote you a price on a repair. This can inform the insurance company on whether or not your vehicle should be repaired or replaced.
- Determine the value of your vehicle. If it is impossible to repair your vehicle or if the repairs would prove to be unreasonably costly, your goal will be to obtain compensation for a new vehicle. To do so, you will first have to seek the value of your old vehicle from the other driver or their insurance company. This involves the value of your vehicle prior to the accident. You can use your own experience as well as the original purchase price to make your valuation.
- Seek legal counsel. You might not have an obligation to seek an attorney when pursuing a property damage claim, but doing so could be the most important call you make after your crash. Experienced car accident lawyers would guide you through the claims process from start to finish.
How an attorney could help
The process of pursuing a property damage claim might not have the same degree of complexity as an injury case, but that does not make it simple. Insurance companies often put up a fight just like they would with an injury claim, even if it is clear their driver was responsible.
Following a crash, you should speak with an attorney about your vehicle damage. This is true even if you are not currently suffering from injury symptoms. The car accident attorneys of Ellis Injury Law can review your case and advise you on both property damage and personal injury claims. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.