Vehicle or Car Property Damage Insurance Claims in California

Most, if not all, auto accidents result in some property damage to the vehicles involved. In some cases, damages are minor, whereas in others, a vehicle gets totaled as to constitute a complete loss. How is property damage resolved in either case?

There are three ways to resolve property damage in an auto accident case:

  1. The vehicle, having been only partially damaged, can be repaired and restored to its condition prior to the accident (or at least as close as possible). The liable party’s insurance company is to cover the repair expenses.
  2. If the vehicle has been damaged to the extent that the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle, then you are to be paid the “fair market value” for the damaged vehicle.
  3. After receiving payment for the cost of repairs, you can decide whether to repair the vehicle or just pocket the cash.

Even though it does not seem fair, it is the responsibility of the person filing the claim to prove the reduction in the automobile’s value or the cost of repairs. To determine the reduction in value of the vehicle, you must first determine the fair market value of the vehicle prior to the accident and then subtract the salvage value of the vehicle immediately after the damage occurred.

“Fair market value” is defined as the highest price that a fully informed and willing buyer would have paid to a willing seller. The fair market value for a damaged vehicle can be determined by a professional appraiser. Consulting with online tools such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds may also be an option.

While property damage claims can be resolved without an attorney, you should most definitely get professional legal help if you feel as if you are not being treated fairly, or were injured in the accident.

Wilshire Law Firm serves all of California. Please call us at (800) 522-7274 if you have any questions about your particular accident case. We will provide you with a comprehensive evaluation of your legal rights and options so you will know exactly where you stand and what you can do to reach a positive resolution.