Whether you are injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, truck accident, or other incident, severe injuries and property damage can result.
Personal injuries and property damage often arise out of the same event. Because of this, it’s important to understand property damage in preparation for the day when you might have to assert a property damage claim.
Common Property Damage Claims
Vehicle damage claims are far and away the most commonly asserted type of property damage claim accompanying a personal injury claim. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that car accident claims are the most common type of personal injury claim. Nevertheless, automobile damage claims are not the only kind of claim that is asserted.
Plaintiffs sometimes assert the following property damage claims:
- Home damage
- Personal property loss
- Landscaping damage
- Fire damage
- Water damage
- Business property damage
- Boat damage
- Signage damage
- Garage damage
- Driveway damage
- Fence damage
- Outdoor furniture damage
You must prove that the defendant’s acts or omissions caused your property damage to qualify for compensation.
Damage Versus Destruction
Two types of damage to property are sometimes relevant—partial property damage and property destruction. In partial property damage, it still makes sense to repair the property. You can repair your car after a fender-bender, for example, and perhaps after more serious damage than a fender-bender.
The second category of injury to property is property destruction. An insurance company will consider your car ‘totaled,’ for example, if the repair bill exceeds the car’s residual value. If the value of your car in its condition immediately before the accident was $8,000, for example, and if it will cost $10,000 to fix it, your vehicle is totaled. That means that the insurance company will pay you $8,000 to “buy” the car from you rather than $10,000 to repair it.
Texas Auto Insurance
Like other states, Texas offers many types of insurance to cover property damage and loss. Liability insurance is mandatory, while other forms of property insurance are optional.
Texas requires every driver with an automobile registered in Texas to carry at least $25,000 in property damage liability insurance. If you carry this type of insurance and you cause a car accident, your liability insurance company will pay the owner of the car you damaged up to $25,000 in compensation. If the driver is not the owner, the money will go to the owner, not the driver.
Remember, this is liability insurance, meaning you cannot receive any money from your policy. It is designed to compensate people whose cars suffered damage due to your misconduct. However, if you suffer property damage due to another driver’s misconduct, their liability insurance will cover your losses. Of course, some Texas drivers break the law by failing to carry insurance. This amounts to only about 8% of all Texans, however.
Uninsured Motorist/ Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Uninsured motorist insurance will pay for your personal injury and property damage (up to policy limits) if it turns out the at-fault driver does not carry insurance. Even if the at-fault driver does carry insurance, it will cover the extent to which the at-fault driver’s insurance isn’t enough to pay all of your claim. Insurance policy limits apply here, too.
Collision insurance covers the following losses:
- Repairs to your vehicle if it’s damaged in a collision with another vehicle or object, such as a tree or a guardrail
- Replacement of your vehicle if someone totals it in a collision
- Repairs or replacement due to single-car accidents
- Damage from potholes
If you finance your car, your bank might require you to maintain collision insurance.
Comprehensive insurance covers almost any damage to your automobile that is not caused by a collision. It covers hail damages, for example, as well as theft and vandalism.
Homeowners’ insurance (and renters’ insurance if you rent) protects you against property damage inside your home or on your property. Read your policy carefully for any applicable exclusions.
You may also have a property damage claim when you suffer a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence. The typical example, of course, is a vehicle accident claim when your car is damaged.
In settlement negotiations, it usually makes sense to resolve your personal injury and property damage claims together. That’s also true if you assert a personal injury claim and a car accident claim in court. The court will typically hear them together rather than having two separate proceedings arising from the same accident.
In a product liability claim, you allege that a product caused you injury because of a design, manufacturing, or warning defect. The product doesn’t have to belong to you for you to collect damages. If it does belong to you, however, you can collect damages not only for any injuries you suffered but also for damage to or destruction of the product itself.
Contact a Friendswood Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With a Property Damage Claim
An experienced Friendswood personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation for the property damage you sustain. The best way to find out whether your property damage claim is worth pursuing is by scheduling a free initial consultation with a Texas personal injury lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of someone else’s negligence, The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Contact or call an experienced Friendswood personal injury attorney at (281) 992-8633 to discuss your case and whether a claim for quality of life damages is right for you.