Car accidents happen every day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over five million police-reported car crashes nationwide in 2010, and according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were an estimated 290,611 accidents during the same year in our state. The cost of these accidents is substantial. For example, the car accidents in 2010 resulted in an estimated 32,885 fatalities nationwide, with 1,247 occuring in Georgia, and an estimated 2,239,000 injuries.
Besides the substantial loss of life that car accidents cause every year, the NHTSA estimates that car accidents cost our country $242 billion in 2010. These car accidents resulted in over 24 million vehicles being damaged, and resulted in an estimated $76 billion in property damage.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you will, more than likely, have to file a claim under the at-fault driver’s property damage liability insurance. As such, there are some important factors you should always keep in mind when filing a property damage claim in Georgia.
Property Damage Insurance Laws in Georgia
Georgia law requires all drivers to carry a $25,000 worth of property damage liability insurance, but many cars are worth more than $25,000. So the question then becomes “What happens if the at-fault driver’s property damage insurance can’t cover the full cost of replacing my vehicle?” There are many answers to this question that are dependent on what type of insurance you and the at-fault driver carry.
Although the state of Georgia only requires drivers to carry $25,000 in property damage liability coverage, many drivers will carry more than the required amount of coverage. After an accident where the other driver has been determined to be at fault, you have the ability to seek an amount of compensation to replace or repair your vehicle that is equal to the policy limit of that driver’s property damage insurance policy. If the costs associated with repairing or replacing your vehicle surpass the driver’s property damage liability insurance limits, you can sue the at-fault driver for the difference between the property liability insurance limits and the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Putting a Property Damage Claim Through Your Own Insurance
Since the minimum insurance required by state law is often not enough to repair or replace most vehicles, many people elect to carry physical damage insurance. Physical damage insurance usually consists of two parts, collision and comprehensive. Comprehensive insurance pays for things such as vandalism and theft. In contrast, collision insurance pays for damages to your vehicle, even those caused by another driver. So, if the at-fault driver is carrying is carrying $25,000 in property damage liability coverage and you are carrying $10,000 dollars in collision insurance, you will have access to $35,000 in insurance coverage to repair or replace your vehicle.
Tips for Property Damage Claims in Atlanta, GA
Property damage claims can be a source of frustration after an accident. As such, there are certain steps you should take to protect your own financial interests during the property damage claim process.
- Document the extent of your vehicle’s damages
- Insurance carriers will normally try to have you get your car repaired by a repair shop they favor, but keep in mind, you can take your car to a shop of your choosing
- Always make sure the repairs are authorized by the insurance company before getting the repairs performed. If you have the repair shop perform repairs and later discover that the at-fault driver’s insurance company does not want to pay for certain repairs, the repair shop will hold your car until the repairs are paid for by you or the insurance company.
Car Accident Attorney in Atlanta, GA
At Cambre and Associates, our team of car accident attorneys are dedicated to seeking the compensation you deserve after being involved in a car accident. Our personal injury lawyers have years of experience handling car accident claims and assisting car accident victims like you. So call our office today for a free consultation to find out how an experienced car accident attorney can help you.