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Will my Personal Injury Lawyer Handle my Property Damage Claim?

September 5, 2019 in

A New York personal injury lawyer will take care of your property damage claim as part of your case when a personal injury lawsuit is being pursued, due to severe injuries caused by another party’s negligence. However, lawyers typically do not handle claims for property damage that are unaccompanied by serious physical harm. It is simply not financially justifiable for certain car accident victims. 

Car Accidents with Property Damage Only

Unfortunately, there are limits to what an attorney can do in most property damage claims stemming from car accidents with minor or non-existent injuries. Oftentimes, it is a straightforward process. The only types of compensation available to recover in a property damage only case are as follows: 

Actual Cash Value

Even when your vehicle is considered a “total loss,” the payout can rarely be negotiated. New York insurance carriers typically decide it’s not worth fixing your vehicle if the repairs will cost more than 75 percent of its value. When that is the case, the compensation you will receive for the vehicle is referred to as the actual cash value (ACV). This number is adjusted based on the fair market value of the car prior to the crash, rather than the amount you originally paid for it. The ACV is calculated based on the vehicle’s make, model, condition, miles, etc., as well as by comparing similar models that are locally for sale. Hiring a lawyer to negotiate the fair market value price would likely cost more than you stand to gain. 

Sales Tax

The state of New York requires insurance companies to pay for the sales tax associated with buying a new vehicle, in the event of a total loss. 

Loss of Use

A loss of use claim is for the costs associated with obtaining a reasonable replacement vehicle or another means of transportation during the time it takes for your car to be repaired, or in some instances, a new vehicle to be purchased. However, the amount of money you may recover depends on a variety of factors. As mentioned above, a loss of use claim will only compensate you for reasonable substitute for your vehicle. Reimbursement on a luxury or otherwise expensive rental vehicle will often be turned down. In the event that you choose to not rent a vehicle, yet hope to still be compensated, a loss of use claim will likely be denied unless you can provide proof that you were unable to rent a vehicle. 

When to Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer

New York is a no-fault insurance state, which means that policy holders must go through their own insurance companies for property damages, regardless of liability. Nevertheless, there are situations in which consulting with a personal injury lawyer can be beneficial. For instance:

  • The insurance company is denying your claim. 
  • The insurer is not paying for full repairs. 
  • You are being accused of fraud or if the insurer has personnel from a “Special Investigations Unit” contact you. 

Far too often, insurance companies will use deceptive (“bad faith”) tactics to deny payment on a claim. If you feel that your insurer is violating a binding contract, a personal injury lawyer can evaluate your claim and advise if you are entitled to pursue a “bad faith” claim against the insurance company.  

When in Doubt, Contact Us

There’s nothing to lose by consulting an attorney. Find out what we can do for you in a free, no obligation case evaluation. Call us at (212) 732-9000 or reach us online