Auto Property Damage Claims
Car Crash Property Loss in Florida: Know Your Rights
Many car accident victims, especially those who suffered significant injuries, are dealing with a lot of fallout from the wreck. Auto accidents can be very traumatic and one of the last things you want to worry about is what to do about repairing or replacing your damaged or, in some cases, totaled vehicle.
In other cases, car accident victims may have escaped serious injury, but are fighting the insurance companies to fairly compensate them for all the damage to their property. This can include not only the repairs of the vehicle and repair or replacement of other personal property damaged in the wreck, but also the loss of the value of their vehicle now that it has been in an accident.
The Florida auto property lawyers at Searcy Denney are experienced car accident attorneys and can help you hold the insurance companies and others responsible for compensating you for the total amount of your property damage.
While every case is different, the following provides an overview of how insurance companies in Florida treat property loss, how value is determined, and how you can work to get the insurance companies to give you what your property is really worth.
Who is Responsible to Pay for the Damage to Your Property After a Florida Car Crash?
Under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance law, every registered motor vehicle must carry at least $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL) insurance coverage. The purpose of this coverage is to cover the cost of repairing or replacing any property that was damaged in the accident, as well as other costs related to the accident.
In most cases, your own insurance carrier will pay for auto and property repairs and replacement up to the $10,000 amount — more if you carry additional optional coverage — after you pay the deductible that is set forth in your insurance policy. If the accident was not your fault, however, you may be entitled to reimbursement for your deductible and the damages that exceed the $10,000 mandatory no-fault amount.
It is important to understand that the term “no-fault” in Florida insurance law does not mean you cannot hold someone else responsible for your property damages. It merely means that you do not have to prove fault to recover from your own insurance company. You can still hold the at-fault party’s insurance company liable if your property damages exceed the $10,000 amount, along with other damages if you are pursuing a personal injury case against the at-fault driver at the same time.
You may also be able to hold a third party liable for your damages. Other drivers involved in the accident could also be at fault, as well as anyone who might have caused a dangerous situation that contributed to the crash. In addition, faulty vehicle parts could have contributed to the accident, making their manufacturers, distributors, and installers potentially liable.
How Much Can You Get For Your Damaged Car and Other Property?
How much you can recover for the damage to your car after a Florida accident depends on how much damage there was to your vehicle, the extent of your insurance coverage, and who can be held liable for excessive damage.
Typically, you would claim damages for any of the following that apply to your situation:
- Repairing your car. If the insurance company determines it is repairable, you can recover the cost to repair your vehicle, including the right to choose where it will be repaired and the type and quality of parts that will be used
- Totaling your car. If the insurance company determines your vehicle is a total loss — meaning it would cost too much to repair — the insurance company will pay you the fair market value of your vehicle. Generally, market value is what your car could have been sold for on the open market the day before the accident. You have the right to dispute the insurance company’s value assessment if you do not think it fairly reflects market value.
- Personal property loss. If you had personal property in the car at the time of the accident, you can recover amounts to replace or repair the property.
- Alternative transportation. You should be able to cover the costs of alternative transportation, such as a rental car, while your car is being repaired.
Making a Diminished Value Claim After a Florida Car Accident
Just because a vehicle can be repaired, that does not mean that it is going to retain its value. In fact, quite the opposite is usually the case, especially if you were driving a fairly new car or car that holds its value like a luxury or sports vehicle. People simply will not pay the same amount for a car that has been repaired following an accident as they will for a car with a clean record. This is the case even where the repairs were done expertly and the damage has completely been taken care of.
An experienced Florida car crash property attorney will be able to help negotiate for fair compensation to reimburse you for the difference between the value of your vehicle before the accident and after it was repaired.
How a Florida Car Crash Property Attorney Can Help
The lawyers at Searcy Denney have decades of experience helping clients negotiate the best settlement possible for their property loss. We will work hard to see that you receive compensation for all covered items and that your property is valued properly.
Many car crash victims have both property damage and personal injury damage. Sometimes the personal injury damage is not apparent immediately following the accident. A car accident victim has just one chance to bring an action against an at-fault driver for damages. You cannot make a claim for property damage and then later create a new claim for personal injury damage. For this reason, it is advisable to contact an attorney who works with both personal injury and property damage claims in order to make sure that you are putting yourself in a position to receive all of the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Not only will your attorney protect your rights to damages, but they will also take steps to preserve all the evidence needed to pursue your case, including ensuring that your damaged or totaled vehicle is inspected before repairs are made or, if totaled, that it is retained as evidence.
Contact the Florida Car Crash Attorneys at Searcy Denney Today
Searcy Denney is comprised of attorneys who have decades of experience working with people who have been involved in serious car, truck and motorcycle accidents. Please reach out to schedule your free initial consultation, by calling 800-780-8607 or contacting us online. You can reach us 24/7, and if we are not available immediately a member of our firm will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.