Guide to Filing a Property Damage Lawsuit after a Car Accident



In the US, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This nationwide effort brings attention to those statistics that show that there are more than six million car collisions every year in this country. Over 70 percent of these collisions result in property damage.

Did you recently sustain property damage in a car accident? Was the accident not your fault? If these conditions apply, then this article is for you.

Learn more here on the process for filing a property damage lawsuit. Act now so that you can recover what rightfully belongs to you.

Car Accident Defined

A car accident or “traffic collision” occurs when a motor vehicle collides into or hits a pedestrian, objects, or another vehicle. This legal definition of “car accident” comes with legal consequences for those who caused the accident.

A licensed driver needs to demonstrate what the law calls a “legal duty.” “Legal duty” means that a licensed driver must obey all traffic laws and manage their cars responsibly around pedestrians, bicyclists, or other people’s vehicles. If they fail to uphold their “legal duty” and hit another person’s vehicle, that injured driver can recoup their losses.

Steps to File a Property Damage Lawsuit

It pays to be organized. Your first crucial step is to get your own documents in order. Here’s where to start:

Organize Your Property Damage File

The first step is to organize your history file that contains the details of your property damage. This file should include your other driver’s personal and insurance information. Also, keep track of any notes you took from witnesses who saw your car accident.

Your file should also include pictures you have of your vehicle, showing the damage that the accident caused. It’s also best to keep a copy of the accident report from law enforcement in your file. Law enforcement will write down the details of the occurrence if it looks like there’s more than $1,000 in damages.

Notify Your Insurance Provider

Contact your insurance provider when you can, no matter how insignificant your damage might seem. Your agent can prepare an estimate that you need to recover your expenses. Sometimes an insurance provider will ask an adjuster to prepare this estimate for you.

Your agent will then be on alert if the other party’s insurance provider notifies them of your fender bender car accident. Your agent can then initiate the claims process for you.

Pay the Insurance Policy Deductible

You should pay your insurance policy’s deductible before your insurance company will pay for the repair costs. If the other party was at fault for your accident, your insurance company can subrogate your deductible and have the at-fault party pay this cost.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help?

A car accident lawyer provides legal representation for both a victim and defendant. Car accident lawyers are specialized in tort law. Tort law covers compensating a victim when a defendant is at fault for their damages.

A car accident lawyer can provide many services to help navigate the court system or reach a settlement with an insurance provider. These professionals can also provide these additional services:

Draft a Demand for Compensation

Demand for compensation outlines how the victim believes where the other party is responsible for the damages. A demand for compensation can also outline the specific damage to your property and how much it costs to fix it.

When the other party rejects your demand for compensation, your attorney can file a property damage lawsuit for you.

File Your Lawsuit

If the other party refuses your demand for compensation, your car accident lawyer can file your lawsuit on your behalf. They will also contact the at-fault party in your lawsuit and serve them a summons that has a copy of your complaint.

Lawsuits Against a Government Agency

If your property damage lawsuit is against a government or public agency, your attorney can file an “administrative claim” with that government office on your behalf. Deadlines to file these administrative claims are within six months of your collision. These public agencies have about 45 days to respond to your lawsuit.

The public agency may notify you in writing that they deny your claim. If this happens, you and your attorney will have six months to file a lawsuit against them in court. The deadline for you to submit this action is no later than six months from the day you received their denial.

Negotiate Any Settlements

A car accident lawyer will also help you navigate any other avenues for alternative dispute resolution. These other avenues can include mediation or arbitration or mediation.

If you participate in an arbitration session, your attorney can present your case to a neutral decision-maker. This neutral decision-maker has authority to make a binding decision.

If both sides in a property damage lawsuit reach an agreement solution outside of the legal system, they are mediating their case. Attorneys for both sides of the lawsuit will develop a settlement that outlines payment amounts and due dates.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to file your property damage lawsuit, you should act now. Organize your property damage file and make sure it includes witness statements, dates, and the accident report for your collision.

Get an estimate to repair your property. Sometimes an insurance provider will assign an adjustor to review your property and prepare an estimate.

Start interviewing car accident lawyers with torte experience and ask them to share their experiences with creating demand for compensation notices and negotiating settlements. When you find someone that you can trust, you can begin the process to file your property damage lawsuit.

Don’t forget to check out our website for more information on how to recover costs from your property damage lawsuit. Follow our advice and you’ll get the best outcome for your case.