Personal Injury Law

Property Damage After An Automobile Accident


Knowing your rights in terms of being compensated for the damage someone causes to your car can benefit you greatly if and when you are involved in an auto accident. However, most people have no idea of what they are entitled to recover. What follows here is what every car owner should know regarding property damage claims after automobile accidents.

The Cost of Repairs

When someone else is at fault, you are usually eligible to recoup damages from that person in a number of different categories. Most importantly, you are entitled to have your car repaired or paid for. In most cases, if the cost of repairing your car is more than 60-70% of its actual value, the car will be declared a total loss and you will be paid its actual cash value (ACV).

The Use of Aftermarket Parts

Another matter that you may want to concern yourself with is whether the insurer repairs your vehicle using aftermarket or used parts. Aftermarket parts are manufactured by companies other than the company that manufactured your car, while used parts typically come from the undamaged sections of otherwise "junked" cars which have been sold for parts.

Insurance companies often attempt to save money by using aftermarket and/or used parts to repair your car, rather than new parts from the original manufacturer. These cheaper parts are sometimes inferior to the new original manufacturer's parts and may reduce the value of your car, which leads us to the next point.

Diminution of Value

Another category of damages that you may be entitled to recover and which insurance companies often fail to make you aware of is compensation for "diminution in value".

The concept of diminution in value, which only applies when another person is at fault and your vehicle is repaired rather than totalled, is simple to understand--A car that has been in an accident is worth less money than a car that has not been in an accident, even if repairs are made with original factory parts.

    This is especially true if the car has sustained damage to its frame. Thus, you are entitled to recover this loss in value from the wrongdoer's insurance company at the time you settle your case. The most effective way to prove diminution in value is to obtain a letter from an auto appraiser indicating how much less your car is worth because it's been in an accident.

    Loss Items Within Your Car and Aftermarket Additions

    Lastly, property damage claims should also include the loss of, or damage to, property within your car. For instance, if your car was rear-ended and as a result the items in your trunk were destroyed, your property damage claim should include the value of the items that were in your trunk.

    In addition, you can recover the value of expensive aftermarket additions made to your car, such as custom rims, body kits and audio equipment that were added after your car was purchased from the manufacturer or dealer.

    You might not be able to recover the cost of new tires that may have been recently purchased, because tires are included in the car's "book" value, which includes the original equipment that came with the car when you received it from the original manufacturer or dealer. However, if you have purchased new rims for the car that are much more valuable than the original rims, you may be able to recover the difference in value.

    Need assistance? 

    If you're having trouble making a property damage claim or negotiating a settlement after an auto accident, contact our experienced auto accident attorneys at https://rrcandassociates.com for assistance.