How Is Property Damage Addressed in a California Car Accident Claim?

As the most populous state in the country, it is not surprising that California usually has the highest number of traffic accidents year after year. In fact, there were 3,606 accidents in California in 2019, according to data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).

So many car accidents result in an ample number of insurance claims. These claims largely revolve around the damage done to vehicles. While these claims are usually settled and rarely taken to trial, that does not mean an attorney is not needed. The practiced, knowledgeable attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. can help you if you’ve been injured in an auto accident, and they will also make sure your car damage is properly assessed by the insurance company.

Insurance Companies and Property Damage in California Car Accidents

When you are involved in a car accident, you are entitled to seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver for not only your injuries, but also damage to your vehicle, lost personal belongings, and more. Such vehicle-related property damage claims might seek compensation for the following:

  • Cost to repair your vehicle
  • Fair market value of the car, if it’s a total loss
  • Rental car costs while your car is in the shop
  • Replacement value of upgrades you made to your car, like a stereo system or special wheel rims

Additionally, you would include in your claim any lost or damaged personal property inside the car. This might include:

  • Mobile phones
  • Laptops
  • Jewelry, including smart watches
  • Ruined clothing
  • Sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses

You can file a claim for any property that was lost in the accident, even time-sensitive items like groceries.

How to Resolve Property Damage Claims in a Car Accident

In California, there are three main avenues for resolving property damage claims resulting from a car accident. They are:

Repaired to Original Condition

The damage to your car can be repaired and returned to its original condition (or at least as near as possible). The insurance company or the uninsured negligent party must pay for the cost of the repairs.

Fair Market Value

Extensive damage to the car could mean that the cost to repair the vehicle will exceed the value of the vehicle. In that case, you will be paid at fair market value for the damaged vehicle.

Fair market value is defined as the highest price that a willing buyer would have paid to a willing seller, assuming the following two factors:

  • That there is no pressure on either one to buy or sell; and
  • That the buyer and seller are fully informed of the condition and quality of the automobile.

For help assessing the property damage portion of your claim after a car accident, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney.

Payout from the Insurance Company

Another option for recovering funds for property damage in California is to estimate the reduced value of your vehicle after it sustained property damage and estimate the repair costs. The insurance company may compensate you for the cost of repairs, and you can choose whether to have your vehicle repaired or replace it.

To determine the reduction in value of the car, you must determine the fair market value of the car before the harm occurred and then subtract the fair market value of the car immediately after the damage occurred.

Consult with a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp.

Whether you’re driving to and from work or taking your family on errands or to school, nobody expects to lose property or become injured in a car accident. If this has happened to you, you should contact an attorney. Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. has over twenty-five years of legal experience and a reputation for obtaining clients outstanding results. If you have been in a car accident, call us at (916) 970-9100 or contact us via our website to schedule a free consultation.