Do you have serious property damage after a car accident? Learn what to do when suing for property damage in our article, then give us a call.
1) Examination Under Oath
If you’re making a claim for a collision coverage loss due to the damage to your vehicle in an auto accident here in Florida, your policy and most policies have a provision allowing the insurance company to have you submit to what’s known as an examination under oath. Basically, that’s an interview under oath similar to a deposition where the insurance company primarily is going to be looking for ways to minimize what is has to pay or even look for a way to not pay you at all. If you’re asked to submit to an examination or oath, you should immediately contact a lawyer or law firm like ours to assist you in your claim, because at that point, the insurance company is acting under the assumption that there’s something wrong with your claim or wrong with you or wrong with the policy that may be of no fault of your own and looking for a way not to pay you.
2) Common Mistakes To Avoid
Some people think that because they’re in an accident that the insurance company must take care of their vehicle right away when in fact it’s the claimant’s responsibility to move forward and prove their claim. If a car is drivable, many people don’t necessarily get an estimate on it right away or get it to a body shop or to an appraiser to get estimates when in fact, it’s the insurer’s or your duty as a claimant to mitigate or minimize your damages. You need to move quickly and get your car appraised, get it started towards repairs. If you’re in a rental car, then you need to get repairs authorized as soon as you possibly can because you need to minimize the time that you’re in the rental car because the insurance company only has to pay for reasonable time. Now, we can argue what’s reasonable and what’s not but our advice normally is to tell people get started right away on your repairs so that you can get your car back or get a replacement vehicle if it’s a total loss in a timely fashion so you’re not without a car and you’re not fighting over a rental and things of that nature.
3) Suing For Property Damage
Generally, very few lawsuits are filed for auto property damage in Florida because the insurance companies do have a good faith duty to pay your claim. If they don’t, then we can file suit. Generally, insurance companies are pretty good about paying claims. Therefore, we’re not called upon too often to file these claims but we can and if we also file an injury claim we can add on the property damage claim for loss of use of the vehicle and diminished value, which are damages you’re entitled to be compensated for from the at fault party.
4) Claim Qualifications
An auto damage claim in Florida simply means that some damage has been done to your vehicle or the personal property inside the vehicle as a result of a collision due to somebody else’s negligence. In those situations, you’re entitled to be paid for all the damage put in your car back to the way it was the moment before the accident happened plus payment for any damage to your personal property, like sunglasses, watches, jewelry, clothing, if you had food in the car that got damages. The defendant is responsible for that. The problem is just getting the people to document their loss so that they can be paid. That’s one of the things we do here at the firm. We help document exactly what was lost. It’s not just damage to the car but it’s also what’s inside the car that can be covered.
5) Case Timeline
There is a time limit for an auto damage claim in Florida depending on who you’re making the claim against. If you’re making the claim against the party that caused the accident, then the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident to either settle your claim or file a lawsuit, otherwise the claim will be forever barred. If you’re making a claim for damage to your vehicle under your own insurance company’s policy under your collision coverage, then there’s a five-year statute of limitations for bringing that claim either to settle it or file a lawsuit within that five-year window, otherwise the claim is forever barred.
Do you have serious property damage after a car accident and have questions about what to do when suing for property damage? Contact our experienced Southwest Florida car accident property damage lawyers today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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