Posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2022 at 8:38 pm
Many people think that filing a lawsuit over personal property damage is the same thing as a personal injury claim, but the two types of cases are distinctly different. There are usually different legal issues involved in property damage cases than in personal injury cases, and property damage cases are generally less complicated than personal injury cases. Lastly, property damage cases usually involve a lot less money than a major personal injury case.
Having said all that, you absolutely have the right to file a lawsuit if someone damaged your property and refuses to pay for the damage. If your case reaches that point, you should seek help from a knowledgeable attorney. While property damage cases are usually less complex than personal injury cases, an attorney can help protect your rights and bring your case to a swift resolution. Keep reading to learn more about Georgia property damage cases from the attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C..
The Property Damage Claim Process
Most property damage cases can be resolved quickly and amicably if both parties keep things civil. If someone damages your personal property, you can file a claim with their relevant insurance company, and they should reimburse you for your losses. For example, you would file a claim with the other person’s car insurance company if you were involved in an auto accident, whereas you would file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company if someone damaged your home in some way.
Accidents are why we have insurance for our cars, homes, and other property, and most of the time, the system works reasonably well. Once you submit your claim, an insurance adjuster will come to take a look at the damage to your property and determine how much you will receive in compensation. If their settlement offer covers your losses, you can sign the agreement, and that will be the end of your claim.
The process works a little differently if the insurance company denies your claim or makes a lowball settlement offer. If that happens, you can appeal the claim and submit additional evidence to support your case. Hopefully, that will convince the insurance company to honor your claim and award you a fair settlement, but if not, you will need to take your case to court to force the issue.
Tips for Handling a Property Damage Claim in Georgia
You can likely handle a property damage case on your own, but here are a few tips to help you as your case progresses:
- Do your research – Take some time to determine the fair market value of your damaged personal property. You want to have a number in mind when you talk to the insurance company so you can set a baseline for settlement negotiations.
- Never accept the first settlement offer – Insurance companies will never make their best offer the first time around. Instead, they will try to get you to accept a lowball offer so they can save some money. If you reject the first settlement, they will come back with a more reasonable figure, though it may still be less than the fair market value of your property.
- Leave yourself some wiggle room – Just as you should always reject the insurance company’s first offer, they will almost certainly reject your first offer. But if you start at a higher amount than what you really want, you can negotiate for a more reasonable settlement that you and the insurance company can both live with.
- Ask for an explanation of their offer – If the insurance company gives you a lowball offer, ask them to explain why. Once they state their case, you can find ways to poke holes in their arguments so you can recover more compensation.
- Get the final offer in writing – Once you have reached an agreement with the insurance company, ask for the offer in writing. The insurance company will most likely honor the agreement, but you want it on paper anyway in case they try to go back on the deal.
Statute of Limitations on Georgia Property Damage Cases
If you have a case that is solely about property damage and not an injury you have sustained, you have four years from the date the damage occurred to file a lawsuit.
When to Hire an Attorney for a Georgia Property Damage Claim
Your best bet when you’re dealing with property damage only is to work together with the insurance company to get the money you need to repair your vehicle. But if you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, our Georgia personal injury attorneys would be happy to meet with you for a free consultation.
Give us a call today at (770) 205-8827 to speak with a member of our team.