Does personal injury include property damage?

To what extend does a personal injury claim cover property damage?

‘Personal injury’ does not just cover injury to the person, it can also involve injury to property.  But to what extent are those who make such claims able to also claim for property damage?

For instance, the common auto accident situation obviously involves damage to the motor vehicle – less significant certainly than personal injury – but when can you claim for such property loss?

Given that there are over six million auto accidents alone – let alone all the other personal injury claims – in the United States means that the issue is massive.

The liability of the various parties will depend upon the state law, so this response relates to the rules in Georgia, but the State Law requirements are obviously the first port of call when determining the liability of parties for property damage.

The property damage claim needs to be filed separately from the personal injury claim and any amount paid cannot be a part of the personal injury settlement a claimant receives and your personal injury claim should be settled first.

The question is the issue of fault and no-fault insurance which will affect which party is liable for the property damage.

Whose insurance will pay my bills?

According to Henningsen Injury Attorneys, there are two different kinds of insurance laws in the United States:

In the United States there are two different kinds of insurance:  fault and no-fault. If you live in a fault or tort state, the person responsible for the accident is also responsible for paying its associated bills. This includes the bills for injury to you and damage to your property. 

The question arises as to whether to make a claim on your own insurance policy or make a claim on the other party’s policy.

If you live in a no-fault state, your insurance will pay your bills no matter who caused the crash. Georgia is a fault state, so you will file a claim against the at-fault person’s insurance company. 

When you file an insurance claim, you will fill out several different forms. One of those forms will be for your injuries, and another will be for damage to your property. The more details you provide, including providing information about the cost of original, manufactured parts etc, the better chance you have of getting a good settlement.

Frequently you can settle such matters quickly, particularly if it is on your own insurance. Frequently an attorney will not even be necessary when making a property claim.   If the other party’s insurance is paying (for instance for a rented vehicle) then such rental cost could potentially be deducted from any settlement on the personal injury claim.  Such factors need to be considered closely when making the insurance claims.

How much money will I get?

The amount paid on a property damage lawsuit will vary and will often be quite low, particularly when compared to a personal injury lawsuit.  Often different attorneys may be used to handle the two claims, as there are different considerations and money amounts involved and certainly a contingency fee situation is not necessary when making a claim for property damage.

In the state of Georgia, drivers are required to carry a certain amount of insurance. You must have bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 for each accident. You must also have a property damage liability of $25,000 per accident.

When you are injured, you will probably go to more than one doctor’s appointment. You may need physical therapy and even surgery. You will want to save the bills from all of your doctor’s appointments. You will also want to save the receipts for many medications you have taken, whether they are prescription or non-prescription.

When it comes to auto repair, You will want to save the bills from the auto mechanic that you take your car to. If you cannot afford to pay for auto repair upfront, you can get an estimate from the auto mechanic to give to your insurance company.

If the damage to your vehicle was especially severe, you may wonder if you can simply get money for the car’s value. The insurance company will estimate how much your car was worth based on its age and other factors.  If your insurance company is paying it will normally do so promptly, less your deductible.  If the other insuance company is paying and there is some dispute over costs then the matter will typically go to an arbitration situation that can be dealt with promptly (as there are thousands at any one time) and the matter should be settled quickly also.

So far as automobile repairs and costs are concerned, the insurance assessor will depreciate the automobile’s value for each year of its age. If the damages to the car are greater than its value, your car will be considered totaled, and the insurance company will have to pay you money for the car’s value.   Whatever the case, the matter should be remediated quickly.

Comparative Fault 

In many cases, an accident may be the fault of more than one person. In other cases, the accident may have been entirely the fault of one person, but their insurance company claims that the fault is shared.

Georgia is a comparative fault state. If you were more than 50% responsible for an accident, you will be considered to blame for that accident, and your insurance will have to pay.

 Although the state of Georgia does not require it, it is always a good idea to have personal injury protection. PIP does not cover damages to your car. You only need separate insurance on your vehicle. If you cause an accident, you can get your insurance company to pay for your medical bills and damages to your car.

When do I need a lawyer?

When you file an insurance claim, there is a good chance that the insurance company will try to get out of paying you what you are owed. They might claim that your injuries are not as severe as you say they are or that you caused the accident.

When you get a settlement offer from the insurance company, you should always talk to an attorney before agreeing to the settlement. An attorney can tell you if a settlement offer is fair. If it is not fair, they can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. 

A professional lawyer will have years of experience in negotiating with adjusters, and they will have a very good chance of getting you the money you deserve. Many people try to negotiate their own settlement, and this is often a recipe for disaster. The adjuster will know that you do not have the experience and expertise of a professional, and they will be less likely to give you a fair settlement. By hiring a lawyer, you can ensure that you are getting the best possible representation.

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