Just because you did not sustain a personal injury in an accident in Baltimore does not mean that you will suffer from the incident. The property damage that often comes after an accident can be significant, and the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property is not always easy to recover from your insurance company or from the person who was ultimately responsible for the accident.
The personal injury lawyers at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian know this and strive to represent accident victims both in the courtroom and outside of it. With our advocates on your side, you can rest assured that everything is being done to recover the compensation that you need to repair or replace the property you have lost, no matter what that property is.
Recoverable Legal Damages in Baltimore
The personal injury law of Maryland aims to put accident victims back to where they were before the incident. To get there, a personal injury case looks to all of the ways that an accident victim has suffered. Put together, these losses form a victim's legal damages, all of which are recoverable in a successful lawsuit.
These legal damages comprise your economic and non-economic damages. The economic damages are made up of all of the losses that you have suffered that are easily distilled into a dollar amount. One type of economic damage, therefore, is the damage to your property: Just looking at the bills associated with repairing or replacing what you have lost should determine how much you are owed.
Unfortunately, it is not always this easy. Insurance companies and personal injury defense lawyers will scrutinize every penny spent on repairing or replacing damaged property. If they think something is out of line, they will challenge it in court. Sticking to the rules of repairing or replacing your property can avoid a long and drawn out legal process for getting the reimbursement that you deserve.
The Costs of Repair
In many cases, the property that was damaged in the accident can be repaired. Most of the time, sending the damaged car or broken bicycle to a mechanic to get fixed and then presenting the bill is enough to end the matter.
However, there are cases where the insurance company or defense lawyer you are dealing with will want more. Whatever their motivation, they may demand an itemized receipt and then decide to challenge you on each and every expense you made to fix your belongings. They can even claim that the repairs you made were either not associated with the accident, or that the repairs are putting your property in a better condition than it had been in at the time of the accident.
In the context of a car accident that damaged your vehicle, you can be challenged on your choice of a mechanic, your decision to use new or name brand parts rather than knockoffs, and even for the costs of labor that you paid. These disputes are particularly common when you are dealing with an insurance company, but decided to bring your damaged vehicle to your own mechanic. You have a right to go to a mechanic you trust, rather than one of the shops that the insurance company prefers. However, this can make the insurance company challenge your every move and elongate the process of getting the compensation you deserve.
Replacing Destroyed Property
If the property damage was so bad that it is impossible to fix, you can be forced to replace what you have lost. Unfortunately, Maryland's personal injury law has decided that this does not entitle an accident victim to the full cost of something new. Rather, the compensation you can receive is limited to the fair market value of what you have lost.
For example, in a car accident that totals your vehicle, the cost of replacing your car depends not on what you bought it for, but on what you could have sold it for when the accident occurred.
In many cases, this leads to an outcome that you can live with. Coupled with compensation for the loss of use of your car, it puts you in the position you would have been in had you sold your car instead of having it wrecked by a negligent driver.
However, many vehicles are undervalued on the market, particularly those that run perfectly well but are out of style or have visual blemishes that reduce their appeal. If you like your car because it reliably gets from one place to another, the fair market value of your vehicle can be lower than its value to you, simply because it has a terrible paint job.
The Duty to Mitigate Damages
In many cases, the arguments that you can face to counter your claims for the costs of your property damage are based on the idea that you did not mitigate your damages well enough.
Accident victims in Maryland are legally required to take reasonable steps to prevent the costs associated with their losses from getting out of hand. While this requirement is admirable – it prevents victims from running up their losses and forcing the negligent party from paying for things that are not necessary – it gives defendants an excuse to challenge everything that you did while you were trying to recover from the accident that they caused. This opens the proverbial floodgates of litigation and makes it more difficult to get the compensation you need and deserve.
Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian
If you have been involved in an accident in or near the city of Baltimore and have suffered property damage because of someone else's negligence or poor conduct, hiring a lawyer can be the best way to make sure that you get the compensation you need and deserve. This includes the costs associated with repairing or replacing whatever property of yours that was damaged in the incident.
Reach out to the personal injury attorneys at the Baltimore law office of Gilman & Bedigian by contacting them online.