Not all personal injury cases involve an actual injury. In fact, many of the most common situations do not include a physical injury at all. Just because the only thing that was implicated in the accident was your property does not make the accident a trivial one. Some “property damage only” accidents result in thousands of dollars of damages and seriously impact the financial well-being of the victims.
Recovering the costs of repairing or replacing your property damage can be the bulk of your personal injury lawsuit. The personal injury lawyers at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian know this and strive to recover the compensation that you need and deserve to repair or replace what you have lost at the hands of someone else's negligence.
Your Legal Damages After an Accident in Philadelphia
When someone acts negligently and hurts someone else, the personal injury law in Philadelphia works to ensure that the victim gets compensated so they can return, as closely as possible, to the position they were in before the incident happened. This means accounting for all of the ways that the victim suffered at the hands of the negligent party and putting a dollar amount on each and every one of the losses that they sustained.
When totaled up, these losses are the accident victim's legal damages, all of which are recoverable in a successful personal injury lawsuit.
One of these legal damages is your financial loss from having to repair or replace the property that was damaged or destroyed in the accident. While it should be easy to prove how much you lost on this front, defense lawyers and insurance companies will scrutinize every penny you spend to repair or replace your belongings to ensure the negligent party does not have to pay more than they think they should.
Repairing Damaged Property
A lot of times, the accident will not have completely destroyed your belongings. If it would cost less to repair your property than it would to replace it, then Philadelphia's personal injury law will require the negligent party to reimburse you for the costs of the repairs.
While simply providing the bill that shows how much you spent on a mechanic for your car or broken bicycle is often enough to get reimbursed for your expenses, many insurance companies and personal injury defense lawyers will demand more evidence. They will claim that your expenses brought your property to a condition that was better than it was at the time of the accident, or that it was spent on damages that were not caused by the incident.
For example, imagine a car accident that involved a collision from the passenger side and caused extensive body damage to your vehicle. The negligent party can claim that you spent too much on your mechanic's labor, spent too high a price for the parts that were used to repair your vehicle, and paid for repairs to vehicle problems that were already a part of your car when the crash happened. These claims are especially common when you are dealing with an insurance company but you brought the damaged vehicle to your own mechanic. Skeptical of any mechanic that they do not pay, insurance companies can scrutinize every expense and highlight the need for a personal injury lawyer to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Replacing Property that Has Been Destroyed
If the damage to your property was so bad that it would be less expensive to replace it than it would be to fix it, though, the personal injury law in Philadelphia is a little less forgiving. Contrary to popular belief, losing property in an accident does not entitle you to a new version of what you lost. Instead, the compensation that you are entitled to receive is limited to the fair market value of what you lost.
Instead or actually replacing your property, therefore, Philadelphia's personal injury law treats it as if you had sold what got destroyed for a fair price, given its age and level of use.
While far less than what one has been led to expect after an accident, this is frequently enough to seem fair, especially when coupled with compensation for the loss of the use of your property while you scramble to replace it. However, there are instances where the fair market value of your property is far lower than the value that you place on it, especially when it comes to cars or other motor vehicles. For example, if you do not care what your car looks like and ignore visual blemishes like paint scratches or fender dents that do not affect how the car runs, you can find that the fair market value of your vehicle diminishes because of these irrelevant problems, reducing how much you can recover in compensation.
Finally, while you are able to recover the costs of repairing or replacing the property damage that you suffered at the hands of someone else's negligence in Philadelphia, you do still have a legal duty to mitigate the damages that you suffered. This means taking reasonable steps to keep the costs of repairing or replacing your property from getting out of hand.
While this requirement is essential – it prevents accident victims from running up their “costs” of repairing or replacing their property so they can maximize how much compensation they can recover in a subsequent personal injury lawsuit – it also allows the defendant to challenge every expense you make and claim that it was only the result of a violation of this legal duty to keep your losses in check.
Gilman & Bedigian: Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Philadelphia
Accident victims in Philadelphia deserve to recover the compensation they need to repair or replace the property they lost when they were not at fault for the accident. However, recovering the full amount of compensation that you need and deserve often takes an attorney's help.
Reach out to the personal injury lawyers at the Philadelphia law office of Gilman & Bedigian online.