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Personal Injury Lawyers and Property Damage

By Butler Prather LLP on April 13, 2020

Car accidents can cause major issues for those involved. A worst-case scenario is that a severe injury occurs along with substantial damage to a person’s property. However, there are times when an accident causes no injuries and very little property damage. The truth is that most accidents fall on a spectrum between the two scenarios. Not all people involved in car accidents need an attorney. If there are no injuries, it may not make financial sense for some vehicle accident victims to hire a personal injury attorney.

However, if a victim does suffer substantial injuries in an accident, there are going to be two components of their claim:

  1. The personal injury component
  2. The property damage component

A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to offer substantial value to a car accident victim’s injury claim. However, a personal injury lawyer will not likely be able to add much value to property damage claims.

Personal Injury Lawyers and Property Damage

Because property damage claims usually revolve around determining the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle (typically through appraisal prices found in Kelly Blue Book or other similar resources), a personal injury attorney will not usually be able to add additional value for the claim.

So, how could an attorney help with a property damage claim?

As mentioned above, it will not make much sense to hire a personal injury attorney for your property damage claim if you have not been injured in an accident. However, if you have sustained significant injuries, the property damage component can typically be folded into the overall negotiations for compensation.

In these cases, your personal injury attorney will already be involved in negotiations for the costs associated with the incident. This will include working to secure coverage for your medical bills, lost income, coverage of certain household expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more. While those costs revolve around injuries you sustained, your personal injury attorney will also work to ensure you receive the best possible offer for damages to your vehicle.

Whether dealing with medical bills or property damage, the fact remains that insurance companies will do what they can to pay as little as possible in a settlement payout. Insurance adjusters are also trained negotiators, which is where your attorney will be able to help. They will work to secure maximum compensation for your property damage based on the estimated value of the vehicle.

What are the auto insurance requirements for Georgia?

It is also important to keep in mind Georgia’s minimum requirements for auto insurance:

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person in an accident you cause
  • $50,000 for total injuries or deaths of more than one person in an accident you cause
  • $25,000 for property damage resulting from an accident you cause

In Georgia, the property damage requirements are higher than they are in many other states, but that does not mean the insurance carrier will want to give out the maximum available under a person’s policy.

Since most personal injury and property damage claims are handled out of court and through insurance settlements, it will be important to know the minimum coverage that the at-fault party has. If the policyholder carries the $25,000 property damage liability, then the insurance carrier will not go above that amount for damages to your vehicle.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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