What Steps Do I Need To Take To Pursue A Property Damage Claim In Court?
Once you decide that you are going to go to court, the next thing that you need to decide is whether or not to file the claim in magistrate, state, or superior court. Generally, the rule of thumb is that if the claim is worth less than $15,000, you can file it in magistrate, or small claims court. If it is worth more than that, then you would have to file it in state court or superior court. Magistrate court is a much simpler process, but not every claim is economical to take to magistrate court. If you are thinking that you are going to have to go to court, the best advice is to have a lawyer look at your individual case and help you determine which way to go.
How Is My Property Damage Case Valued?
If the insurance company decides that the cost of repairing a vehicle will exceed the actual value of the vehicle, then they’ll declare the vehicle totaled and issue a cash offer for what they believe to be the vehicle’s worth. Depending on the insurance company, they will use a valuation company. Many insurance companies use a company called CCC valuations. That valuation company will look at the condition of your car, as well as the value of other cars in the area that are of similar mileage and condition. Once these things are considered, they will issue a monetary value for your car.
In general, the first offer that you get is not the best. You should prepare to negotiate and to cite similar vehicles that indicate the value of your car. If you cannot agree after doing that, then you should consider getting an independent appraisal of your car. Getting an independent appraisal consists of paying an independent company to make a determination of your vehicle’s worth based on its value and condition. Then, you will be better able to determine whether or not the insurance company’s valuation is fair.
Do I Need An Attorney To Handle My Property Damage Claim? Does It Matter Whether I Was Injured Or Not?
If your car is damaged, you have a property damage claim regardless of whether or not you sustained injuries. Since it is generally much easier to place a value on a car than it is on an injury, many people are able to handle property damage claims on their own. However, I do recommend that you at least consult with an attorney about the process, even if you ultimately decide that you are going to handle it on your own. If you have also sustained injuries, I would recommend that the attorney handling the bodily injury claim be involved in the property claim. I recommend this for several reasons.
First, if you have a valuable bodily injury claim, you want to make sure that you don’t do anything in the property claim that damages your bodily injury claim. Secondly, if you are injured, the last thing you need to be worried about is property damage. If you have someone assisting you with your property damage claim, you’ll be better able to focus on the most important thing, which is recovering from your injuries.
Will My Personal Injury Attorney Charge Me To Handle My Property Damage Claim As Well?
In Georgia, most personal injury attorneys don’t handle property claims themselves. The reason for this is that the value on the property claim is usually not enough to have an attorney involved. In my office, I am available to assist in a property claim. I do not charge for helping clients through the process unless we have to take the at-fault driver to court over the property damage claim.
How Much Does It Generally Cost For A Lawyer To Help Me With My Property Damage Claim?
If you only have a property damage claim and you are not driving a luxury vehicle, it usually doesn’t make sense to hire an attorney. The reason for this is that if you think your car is worth $7000 and they offer you $6800, it’s going to cost significantly more than that $200 discrepancy to get an attorney involved. If, however, you have an independent appraisal that says your car is worth significantly more than what an insurance company is willing to give you, then it’s usually a good idea to get an attorney involved in your case.
If My Car Is Reparable, Are There Any Other Damages That I Am Entitled To?
In Georgia, we have something called diminished value. Anybody who has gone to a car dealership within the last few years knows that they can get a Carfax report for the vehicle that they are interested in buying. If that Carfax report shows that the car has been in a wreck, then that car is simply not worth as much as it would be had it not been in a wreck. Diminished value refers to the difference in value between a vehicle that has not been in a wreck, and that same vehicle that has been involved in a wreck. Since Georgia law recognizes this, you are entitled to that difference in value.
In most instances, the method for obtaining this is simply to ask. When you do ask for it, the insurance company will determine what the diminished value is and offer you a check for that amount. If you disagree with the amount that they give you, you can get your own appraisal and use that to determine what the diminished value should be. In Georgia, insurance companies aren’t required to offer you diminished value on your car unless you ask. So ask.
For more information on Property Damage Claims Process, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (770) 345-7624 today.