ClickCease Car Accident Property Damage Settlement Guide

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Property Damage and California Car Accident Insurance Claims

How California Car Accident Insurance Covers Property Damage After a Crash

Over 40,000 fatal car accidents happen in the United States each year. In 2018, 8.4 million drivers were involved in a crash. Survivors of car accidents who are lucky enough to be free from injury may, however, suffer property damage. It was reported that nearly 8,464 drivers got into a property damage collision and the damages were estimated to be around $53.1 million.

What is covered under your property damage claim is dependent on your insurance policy and state laws. For professional advice regarding property damage, call the experienced car accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers to get a free consultation about your rights.

What Is Property Damage?

Property damage and personal injury are considered separate issues. Property damage refers to the destruction of a personal estate by means of another’s negligence or voluntary behavior.

The amount collected for a property damage claim is relative to the replacement value, repair costs, loss of use, and sentimental value of the damaged object or estate.

What Does Property Damage Car Insurance Cover?

Property damage car insurance is required by law in most states. The purpose of this insurance is to help you cover the incurred costs of damage done by your vehicle. It is meant purely for the other party and does not cover your personal expenses. In California, it is mandatory that car owners have a minimum of $5,000 worth of coverage.

Normally, this coverage is used for:

  1. Any and all restorations to the opposing vehicle, which includes but is not limited to replacement parts and labor costs
  2. Physical damage done to property, such as broken lamp posts, fences, or windows
  3. Depending on your policy, your property damage claim might include your legal defense fees.
  4. Loss of income due to car damage
  5. Additional fees determined by the court

How Does the Court Determine Property Damage Claim Amounts? 

Since property damage claims cast a wide net over what is covered, determining the recovery costs can be tricky. Many wisely choose to hire a property damage lawyer to help measure the value of objects that were destroyed. Listed below are a few considerations taken when examining recovery costs.

Market Costs vs Actual Cash 

As times change and the economy fluctuates, the value of the property may change, as well. While some items become vintage, others will depreciate in value. Insurance companies are usually inclined to pay the market value of the object damaged rather than the actual cash originally spent. When collecting funds from a damage claim, you may also be entitled to:

  • Cost of Repairs – This could include items like new car parts or even the labor costs, such as auto shop work or repairs.
  • Loss of Use – If the damaged item affects you financially, then you may also be entitled to lost work wages. For example, if your business is closed down due to an accident, or if your car is an essential part of your business, then you may be able to recover some of those costs.
  • Sentimental Value- This refers to items that may not be as expensive but which hold emotional value. These include items such as wedding photos or family heirlooms. The value of these objects is determined by the court.

Available Damages

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact are only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

West Coast Trial Lawyers will not charge you for a consultation. Our clients are represented on a contingency fee basis. If we do not win, you owe us nothing. There is no financial risk to prevent you from reaching out. Our qualified personal injury lawyers are highly-trained and have extensive experience with cases that are similar to yours. We are committed to helping you resolve your legal issues as quickly as possible while receiving the best results.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of emotional distress from an injury, reach out to our legal team 24 hours a day by calling us at (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].

Read More About Car Accidents 
Our excellent team of car accident attorneys have created several resources for you to read through. Feel free to browse these topics and read the ones you would like to learn about more.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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