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What Is Considered Property Damage in a Car Accident?

Posted in Car accident on May 31, 2020

Car accidents are common enough to be a matter of when, not if, for most drivers. In 2017 alone, over 300 people lost their lives in fatal car accidents in West Virginia. This was almost a 13% increase from the number of car accident deaths in 2016 (269). Car accidents can cause serious injuries and deaths. They can also cause significant damage to the vehicles involved. If you were in a car accident in West Virginia, how you handle your property damage claim could determine whether you obtain compensation.

Compensation for Property Damages in a Car Accident

West Virginia is a fault-based state, meaning the at-fault party will be liable for the victim’s damages. In West Virginia, all drivers must carry at least $25,000 in property damage liability auto insurance. After a car accident, this type of insurance will cover a victim’s property damage repairs or vehicle replacement. This $25,000 property insurance can cover many categories of damages after an auto accident.

  • Cost of towing your vehicle to an auto shop
  • Price of a rental vehicle while you wait for repairs
  • The amount it will take to repair your vehicle, if repairs are possible
  • Money for vehicle customizations, such as an aftermarket sound system
  • Money to repair any damaged or lost property inside your car
  • Compensation for other property damages in the accident
  • The pre-crash value of your car, if the accident totaled it

Property damages during a car accident lawsuit in West Virginia can refer to any injuries to properties that require repairs. It often refers to vehicle damages but can also encompass damage to other properties, such as personal belongings. These may include sunglasses, laptops, schoolbooks, jewelry, cellphones or children’s car seats. During a personal injury lawsuit, a victim often seeks compensation for property damages on top of losses such as medical bills and lost wages. The at-fault party’s insurance may cover damaged property repairs or replacements on top of additional damages.

Proving Property Damages During a Claim

If you get into a car accident that damages or destroys your property in West Virginia, you could seek financial recovery from the at-fault party through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. The driver or another defendant may owe you compensation for the full amount of your damaged property. It will be up to you or your West Virginia car accident attorney, however, to prove the value of your losses and the defendant’s liability using evidence.

  • Letters from an auto repair shop
  • Photographs of the property damages
  • Property appraisals
  • Receipts and repair bills
  • Your totaled vehicle’s Kelley Blue Book value
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Expert opinions

The best way to optimize your chances of receiving fair compensation for property damages after an auto accident in West Virginia is by hiring a personal injury lawyer. An attorney with experience will know how to fight for fair compensation and prove the full extent of your losses using any available evidence. The burden of proof in a personal injury claim in West Virginia is to show your assertions are more likely to be true than not true. Your lawyer can handle evidence gathering to prove a property damage claim on your behalf.

What Other Compensation Is Available?

Your car accident suit might not only involve a claim to property damage compensation if the crash also caused additional losses. If the crash gave you a physical injury or emotional distress, for example, these are compensable damages you could list on an insurance claim or injury lawsuit. Compensable damages in West Virginia include physical injuries, past and future medical bills, physical pain, emotional suffering, mental distress, lost wages, loss of consortium, lost quality of life, and punitive damages. Discuss the full value of your car accident claim with a lawyer for tailored information.