What Is Considered Property Damage in a Car Accident?

October 1, 2023 Car Accidents

The aftermath of a car accident is often filled with uncertainty and stress. When filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you may need to assess the damages that you sustained in the crash—all while dealing with serious injuries and emotional trauma.

Property damage is one of the most common, and complex, losses to evaluate after an accident. However, this category of compensation extends beyond damage to the vehicle. Here is what you need to know about property damage after an accident.

What Is Considered Property Damage in a Car Accident?

Damage to Your Vehicle

Being involved in a car accident can lead to extensive damage to the vehicles in question. From minor scratches and dents to more extensive structural damages, these repairs can quickly become a financial burden. In states like Nevada, drivers are required to pay for vehicle damage in any accident that they cause.

Generally, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will compensate you for the damage. The company will pay the lesser amount between the cost of repairs and the vehicle’s fair market value. For instance, if repairs cost $5,000 but your vehicle’s market value is $3,000, you may only receive the latter amount.

If you have comprehensive collision coverage, you can seek repairs or vehicle replacement through your personal insurance policy. Your insurance company will typically request that the at-fault driver’s insurance pay for your deductible, if applicable.

Damage to Your Personal Belongings

Although your car may sustain the brunt of the damage, a car accident can also impact your personal belongings inside the vehicle. Valuables like laptops, cellphones, designer accessories, and even essential items like children’s car seats might need repair or replacement. In your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you can recover compensation for these belongings as part of the property damage portion of your settlement.

Injury to Your Pet

If your furry friend was accompanying you during the crash, they may have sustained injuries as well. Under the law, pets are considered property. Typically, the at-fault driver’s property damage liability coverage might cover your pet’s medical expenses. Furthermore, many auto insurance policies include pet coverage, either within a comprehensive collision plan or as a standalone option. If you have such a provision, your insurer should cover your pet’s treatment costs.

How to Value Property Damage After a Car Accident

Getting an accurate estimate of your property damage is essential for fair compensation. However, assessing the damage’s true value can be a complex task. In these situations, it is important to work with a Las Vegas car accident lawyer who can help you calculate the extent of your property damage.

Depending on the needs of your case, your attorney can:

  • Connect you with a certified mechanic who can evaluate your vehicle
  • Gather evidence that documents the property damage, including receipts, photographs, and appraisals
  • Determine your vehicle’s fair market value alongside experts, considering the car’s age, mileage, and overall wear and tear
  • Negotiate with insurance companies and advocate for your right to a settlement that pays for the full extent of your property damage

If you or a loved one has sustained property damage in a car accident, seeking legal representation can make a significant difference. Contact a car accident lawyer today to discuss your case and identify your optimal path to compensation.