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Will a Personal Injury Attorney Handle My Property Damage Claim?

by Andrew Spainhower on December 12, 2020

New post regarding car accident claims answering the legal question “Will a personal injury attorney handle my property damage claim?” based on law in Utah and generally.

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, the focus should always be on treating injuries and getting everyone involved to a safe place. If there are injuries, an ambulance needs to be requested when you call 911. Severe injuries may even call for some first aid on the scene from those involved if they are able to provide it.

Whether you are injured or not, once the dust settles on the accident, another concern will quickly arise; the damage to your vehicle. Getting your car repaired or replaced as soon as possible is often at the top of your mind. You might rely on your vehicle to get to work or to get your kids to school. And if the accident was not your fault, you’ll be eager to make sure that the responsible party’s insurance is going to pay for the damage.

If you did suffer injuries, you may already be planning to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your claims and fight for a settlement. But will that personal injury attorney also handle your property damage claim? Keep reading to find out.

Who Pays for the Damage to Your Vehicle?

Who is responsible for paying to fix your vehicle depends on the circumstances of the crash and where you are located. In most cases, the insurance company of the person responsible for the crash has to pay. However, in a no-fault state, or if more than one party is responsible, your own insurance company will pay for the damage instead.

How Much Will Insurance Companies Pay?

Insurance payouts for property damages following a car accident fall under one of two categories; actual cash value and the cost for repairs. If the estimated cost of repairing your vehicle is less than 75 percent of the value of your car, the insurance company will likely choose to pay to fix the damage.

However, if the damages will cost more than 75 percent of the value, the insurance company may instead choose to pay the actual cash value for your car. This is based on the fair market value of your vehicle prior to the crash, the total mileage, the condition, and what similar models are being priced at for sale.

Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Handle My Property Damage Claim?

Whether or not a personal injury lawyer will handle your property damage claim depends on a few factors. The first is whether or not you were injured.

If You Were Injured

If you were injured seriously enough to warrant an ambulance ride or hospital visit, you may choose to hire an attorney to help you seek a settlement. In this case, the property value part of your claim will also be handled by your attorney. That’s because your lawyer will seek a single settlement for your losses.

Insurance companies are less likely to fight paying claims to repair a vehicle than they are the perceived value of pain and suffering. Your attorney may simply submit and follow through on insurance claims to get your property value taken care of, and pursue other legal measures to get compensation for your injuries separately.

If You Were Not Injured

If you were not injured in the car accident, the answer gets a bit more complicated. In most cases, it will not make financial sense to hire an attorney to handle your property damage case.

For example, say that an insurance company decides to pay you fair market value for your totaled car. While they may calculate that value correctly by their standards, your vehicle may be worth more to you than it is worth at market value. The amount you receive may not be enough for you to purchase a new vehicle, especially if you owned an older car or one with high mileage. However, hiring an attorney will likely cost you more than you would receive by fighting back.

Another instance that you might consider hiring an attorney is if you had to pay to rent a car while yours was in the shop. However, the insurance company is only likely to agree to cover this cost at a reasonable rate. So if you choose to rent an oversized vehicle or luxury vehicle, your payment may be much lower than your actual bill. For this reason, hiring an attorney may cost you more than simply paying for your rental on your own.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Property Damage Case

If you were injured in a car accident and seek legal help, your property damage case is covered as well. However, if you were not injured, it’s a good idea to think twice before investing in an attorney, such as those at McMullin Injury Law, to fight your case.

Andrew Spainhower

Andrew Spainhower

Andrew graduated from The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and has a breadth of experience in every aspect of personal injury law from simple insurance claims to complex jury trials. He has been with McMullin Injury Law since 2013 and became a partner at the firm in 2018.
Andrew Spainhower

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