Were you recently involved in a car accident? Is your vehicle totaled or needs substantial repairs?
Access to a vehicle is critical if you hope to live efficiently and independently. And the party that caused your damages should be the one to compensate you. But things can get complicated after a car wreck. Insurance may give you the runaround, or the other party may deny responsibility. Do not let the liable party stick you with the bill.
Here’s how to make the liable party pay for property damage in Georgia after an accident.
When Can I Pursue Property Damage Claims?
You may not be sure when you have the right to file a claim for property damages. Generally, if someone else is responsible for causing your car accident, you may have the legal right to compensation. But not every car accident victim can file a claim for property damages.
If you suffered injuries, you might need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit instead. Some of the instances in which you may be eligible for a property damages claim include:
There were no physical injuries.
Your vehicle sustained physical damages in the collision.
It is important to remember that you can seek compensation for your vehicle damages and other personal property damages as well. That includes the costs of purchasing new car seats, damage to your electronic devices, or the costs of replacing other damaged personal items.
Who Pays for Property Damage after an Accident?
Usually, you’ll file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company to recoup your losses. However, this may not always be possible. The defendant might not have coverage, or their insurance may not be enough to cover everything.
Here are some factors that could impact who is held accountable for your property damages:
The type of accident
Whether multiple parties share liability
The severity of the property losses
Are Property Damage Claims Paid Automatically?
It is unlikely that your claim will be paid automatically. You should expect the liable party and insurance company to do everything possible to reduce their financial obligations. As you can imagine, this could make cases that should be handled swiftly take substantially longer.
If you hope to get through the claims process quickly, having an experienced attorney may be in your best interest.
Filing a Georgia Property Damage Claim
Every case is different, but the process for pursuing a property damage claim in Georgia is usually the same. Here is a basic idea of the steps you must take to recover the compensation you are entitled to:
1. Collect Evidence
Start obtaining evidence that can be used to support your case. Take pictures of the damage surrounding the accident or your personal property. Never admit liability or express guilt. That could be seen as accepting liability for the accident.
2. Report the Accident
Next, report the accident to local law enforcement. They can file a report with details describing the accident and other relevant information that could help your case.
3. Get Your Vehicle Appraised
Appraising your vehicle can determine the expected cost of vehicle repairs and its diminished value. You have the right to compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle along with the value the car lost after being involved in a collision.
4. File Your Insurance Claim
With help from your property damage attorney, you can file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. You might have the right to file a claim with your own insurer if you purchased no-fault protection. However, doing so could substantially increase your insurance rates.
You may want to discuss the potential implications with an attorney before you file with your insurance provider. If the liable party does not have insurance coverage, you may be forced to file a property damage lawsuit against the at-fault party.
5. File a Lawsuit (If Necessary)
No one wants to bring a case to court, but sometimes it is necessary to maximize the compensation you recover. You may have the right to claim against the liable party if they do not have insurance coverage. But you might also have the right to file a bad faith insurance claim against the insurance company if they delay processing your claim, misrepresent the policy terms, or otherwise handle your case poorly.
When Should You Involve a Lawyer?
As soon as you are medically stable after a car accident, it’s wise to consult an injury attorney to advocate for your rights. Aside from pursuing compensation for any injuries, a lawyer can outline the best way to recoup the cost of your property damage.
The statute of limitations for property damage claims in Georgia is just four years from the date of the accident under Georgia Code §9-3-32. Failure to file your lawsuit before this deadline will result in being barred from pursuing your case at trial.
Call The Champion Firm
With extensive experience handling property damage claims and a passion for recovering the maximum compensation for injury victims, The Champion Firm’s Marietta personal injury attorneys can guide your claim. To learn how much you could be entitled to in property damages and other losses related to an auto accident, call 404-596-8044 today. We offer free initial consultations, and there’s no cost unless we win.
About the Author
The Champion Firm is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. Our award-winning team of attorneys specializes in car accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and slip-and-fall cases. Learn more about our team here.