ClickCease Can I Sue Someone for Damaging My Car if I Wasn't Injured in a Car Accident?

Can I Sue Someone for Damaging My Car in a Car Accident?

Is Filing a Lawsuit The Only Way to Get Compensation for Property Damage?

If you were involved in a car accident but were not injured, you’re probably wondering if you can sue someone for damaging your car. A lawsuit may even be necessary to recover money if your insurance provider will not pay to repair your vehicle. Even if you believe that you were not injured in a car accident, you should be mindful of delayed injuries, such as emotional distress or other physical injuries that may not appear until days or weeks after the accident.

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It is clear from car accident statistics that victims are often forced to pay the cost of the damage to their own vehicle even when it is caused by another driver. For reference, as many as 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries in car accidents per year, and in 2015, 391,000 people were injured by distracted driving alone. In 2013, nearly 10 years ago, the average automobile liability claim for property damage was $3,231, which has only gone up in recent years. Generally, private insurers pay about 50 percent of all car accident costs, with victims paying 26 percent, and third parties paying only 14 percent.

How Do I File a Claim for Property Damage from My Car Accident?

Your property damage claim will be filed through the negligent party’s insurance provider. This process involves gathering information on the estimated cost of repairs to your vehicle, giving notice to the negligent driver’s auto liability insurance company, and working with an insurance adjuster to gather evidence of your financial losses.

A property damage claim like this will normally resolve the problem and a lawsuit will be unnecessary; however, if the other party is not insured, this can create a bigger issue. Many drivers are uninsured or underinsured. Studies from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) showed that in 2019, 12.6% of motorists were uninsured, which is a little more than 1 in every 10 drivers. In a 2021 study, the IRC found that 1 in 8 drivers are uninsured. Washington, D.C., ranked 9th in the United States in 2019 for the highest percent of uninsured drivers, with an estimated 19.1% of drivers uninsured. In other words, 1 in 8 drivers in DC are driving without insurance.

When the negligent driver is uninsured or if the insurance company denies your claim, a lawsuit may be necessary to cover the cost of the damage to your vehicle. For smaller damages, you may be able to file your claim in small claims court, but if your damages are more significant, you may need to file a civil court claim.

How Do I Prove My Property Damage Claim?

taking picture of accident scene - can I sue someone for damaging my car?Regardless of whether you were injured in a car accident, you will still have to prove the elements of a negligence claim to succeed, so it is important to document as much information about the accident as possible.

First, you should collect proof of the accident immediately after it took place. This includes:

  • Taking pictures of both your vehicle and the other vehicle or vehicles involved.
  • Taking pictures of the location and scene of the accident.
  • Gathering statements from witnesses.
  • Getting contact information from the parties involved.
  • Writing down your recollection of what happened while it’s still fresh in your mind.

It is critical to your claim that you can prove that the other driver caused the damage to your vehicle based on negligent or careless conduct. This could be distracted driving (texting, eating, or phone calls), drowsy driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or other reckless or irresponsible driving like speeding or ignoring redlights or stop signs. Finally, you must demonstrate that the property damage to your vehicle caused a legitimate financial loss to you.

What Can I Be Compensated for in a Property Damage Claim?

Normally, in a property damage claim, you will be compensated for the following:

  • Repairs. The cost of repairs to your vehicle for any damage caused by the accident.
  • Replacement. The cost of replacement of the vehicle in the event that it is totaled or damaged beyond repair.
  • Alternate transportation. The cost of transportation while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced, whether this is a rental car or other form of transportation, such as public transportation.

What About Delayed Injuries?

Even if you don’t think you were injured in a car accident, you should keep delayed injuries in mind. Many injuries won’t appear until days, hours, or even weeks after the accident. It is very likely you will experience some delayed or residual physical injuries after a car accident, such as:

  • Mental distress. There can be serious emotional trauma and distress associated with a car accident. Some symptoms of emotional trauma are mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
  • Concussion. A concussion happens when the head is jerked with the impact of a car accident and the brain moves inside the skull, which damages tissues and brain cells. Symptoms of a concussion are headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, memory issues, and loss of balance.
  • Whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are jerked forward and then backward with impact. This jerking motion can cause damage to the nerves, tissue, and even the vertebrae and upper spine. This causes pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.
  • Back and spine injuries. Car accidents can cause many types of back and spine injuries, such as slipped discs or other damage to the spinal cord. Slipped discs happen when spinal fluid presses into the outer ring of a spinal disc, which causes the disc to extend. On the other hand, a herniated disc is when the spinal fluid leaks into the spinal canal. Car accidents can also injure the spinal vertebrae, discs, and nerves in the spine. All of these back and spine injuries can cause severe neck and back pain.
  • Soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries are any injury from stretching or tearing the skin and tissue beneath during the impact of a car accident. Common soft tissue injuries are sprains, cuts or contusions, and bruising, which causes significant pain and swelling.

Can I Still File a Claim If My Injuries Were Delayed?

Patrick Regan and Chris Regan Personal Injury LawyersThe lawyer’s answer is: “It depends.” Insurance companies often deny personal injury claims, so it’s important to follow several guidelines after your injury to maximize the chance that you can recover from your injury:

  • File a police report. The first thing you should do is file a police report so that there is an accurate record of the accident. Your insurance will be more likely to approve your claim with a police report on record, and your likelihood of success with a property damage claim will be greater.
  • See a doctor. Go to a doctor as soon as possible, if not immediately. A doctor can check you for delayed injuries and will document your medical evaluation. If you are experiencing emotional distress after an accident, see a mental health professional.
  • Talk to an attorney. Consult with a personal injury attorney soon after the accident. Professional advice from an experienced attorney will help you follow the proper procedures and will increase your chances of recovering damages for your property or your delayed injuries.

Why Should I Choose Regan Zambri Long, PLLC?

Hiring an experienced Washington, DC car accident attorney is critical when you sue someone after being injured in a car accident in Washington, DC. The right lawyer can assist you in handling a situation where the other driver was uninsured and you have no option for a property damage claim through insurance or a situation where your insurance claim is denied. Call Regan Zambri Long PLLC today for a free case evaluation.

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Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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