A car accident can result in various types of damage suffered by multiple parties, including painful physical injuries and expensive property damage. In Arizona, all motor vehicle drivers are required to maintain certain amounts of liability insurance to pay for others’ property damage after a car accident. Defining property damage after a car accident can help you understand your rights as a victim.
Damage to Vehicles
The most obvious form of property damage in a car accident case is damage to the motor vehicles involved. Automobiles, commercial trucks, motorcycles, and bicycles all have monetary value. When a car accident occurs, the collision between two vehicles (or one vehicle and a fixed object) can cause extensive damage to the vehicle. Common examples include scratches in the paint, dents to the body, damage to the bumper or fender, broken windows, and broken headlights. It can also include damage to after-market upgrades, such as accessories, a stereo system, cameras, high-end tires, etc.
A standard automobile insurance policy in Arizona must contain at least $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. This type of car insurance on the at-fault driver’s policy will pay for the costs of repairing the other driver’s vehicle damage. In some cases, car accidents are severe enough to total one or both motor vehicles. This means the price of repairs exceeds the total value of the vehicle, marking it as a total loss. In this situation, the at-fault driver’s car insurance company would pay for the total pre-crash value of the vehicle.
Diminished Motor Vehicle Value
Even if a damaged motor vehicle gets completely repaired, its value will be diminished by the crash. Buyers will pay less for a vehicle with a crash history, as the collision can compromise the integrity of the vehicle even after repairs are completed. This is a compensable loss for the owner of the vehicle in a car accident case. The owner can file a claim for the diminished value of the vehicle or the difference between what the car was worth before the car accident compared to its value now.
Loss of Use of the Vehicle
In addition to the actual value of vehicle damage, the owner may also be entitled to compensation for the loss of the use of the car. This is a payment for the time that the vehicle is unable to be driven because of the car crash. If the owner has to use public transportation or a rental car while the vehicle is in the shop, this type of claim can reimburse the driver for these travel expenses.
Damage to Personal Property Inside the Vehicles
Property damage in a car accident case can also refer to personal property that was inside either vehicle at the time of the collision. Anything inside the car that was damaged, lost or destroyed in an accident could be included in a car insurance claim. This may include a laptop, cell phone, tablet, camera equipment or work equipment. It can also include a bicycle that was attached to the vehicle on a bike rack, as well as a trailer or any other attachments. The victim may be eligible for compensation to repair or replace these damaged personal items.
Damage to External Property
Finally, property damage can refer to anything outside of the car that was affected in the crash. This may refer to someone’s house, garage, fence, mailbox or landscaping. Any damage to someone else’s land or property could be included in the value of a car insurance claim to pay the owner for repairs.
For more information about how to seek fair financial compensation for the full extent of your property damage caused by a car accident in Arizona, contact an attorney at The Law Offices of John Phebus for a free case consultation.