Filing a Property Damage Claim After a Semi Truck Collision
Not everyone involved in a semi truck accident gets injured, but they are almost guaranteed to have damage to their vehicle or personal belongings. These eighteen wheeler accident victims can file a property damage claim with a third-party liability insurance provider if the driver of the truck or their employer assumes fault for the accident.
A property damage claim pays for the full cost of repairs to return the vehicle to the exact state it was in before the accident — or as close to it as possible. Your vehicle will be assessed by a body shop and possibly also a mechanic. These auto shops will then provide an estimate on the costs of repairs to the insurance company, who will then either agree to the costs needed to repair the vehicle or decide to declare the vehicle a “total loss.”
Vehicles that are “totalled” or declared a “total loss” by the insurance company are acquired by the insurer in exchange for a settlement in the amount of their estimated value of the vehicle.
This estimate usually accounts for the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle based on market factors. Some insurers instead provide replacement cost compensation, which is the cost needed to replace the vehicle if you wanted to go out and buy another one of the exact make, model, year, and condition. A replacement cost settlement is almost larger than ACV.
Disputing Your Property Damage Claim Settlement Offer With Help From a Truck Accident Lawyer
Usually, repairing or replacing the vehicle is a straightforward process, even if it takes some time. However, the insurance company may choose to debate the costs of repairs or the amount you are entitled to receive.
Common objections include “that repair shouldn’t cost that much” or, “we are not going to pay to repair damage that existed before the vehicle was in an accident.”
If the insurer you are working with wants to negotiate these numbers, you must provide documentation to prove they are in error. For instance, if they want to allege that your front bumper was already partially damaged before the accident, you can provide a recent photo proving otherwise.
Working with a truck accident lawyer can help you negotiate in your favor and potentially receive a larger settlement than if you had negotiated on your own. An attorney is especially valuable to those seeking a joint property and injury truck accident settlement.
Damage to Property Other Than Your Vehicle
Most insurance policies for truck accidents provide coverage for property damage up to a certain amount, which includes the costs of personal property damaged in the accident other than the vehicle.
If you $800 smartphone, for instance, was destroyed in the semi truck wreck, then you can include its value on your claim. Note that claiming property damage applies to passengers and not just the owner or driver of the vehicle involved.