Can I Sue for A Car Accident if I Wasn’t Injured?
Even if you’re not injured in a car accident, a damaged or totaled vehicle can be more than a minor inconvenience. When someone else’s negligence causes a crash, they may be responsible for paying the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Typically, these types of claims are more easily settled than personal injury claims.
The Cost of Property Damage Caused by Accidents
According to the most recent study on the economic impact of motor vehicle crashes by the NHTSA, the yearly cost of damage-only accidents is $71 billion in the United States. If you have comprehensive coverage, you may be able to recover compensation for property damage from your insurance company.
However, if someone else was responsible for causing the accident, you could pursue a claim with their insurance company. Unfortunately, many people on Alabama roadways are uninsured or underinsured. In these cases, filing a claim with your insurance company is the easiest way to get repair costs covered.
Building A Property Damage Claim
In a claim involving property damage to your vehicle, you typically must demonstrate three things to prove the other party’s negligence:
- The other motorist’s actions caused property damage
- The other driver failed to practice reasonable care before the accident occurred
- You suffered tangible financial losses
Even if you’re involved in a minor fender bender, it’s important to call the police after an accident, regardless of whether you were injured. An accident report can provide evidence of how the accident occurred and who was responsible for causing the crash. If a negligent driver admits to police that they were at fault, that information may be included in an accident report, as well. Other evidence to support your claim includes photos and video of the scene and damage to your vehicle, witness statements, and repair bills.
Damages That May Be Covered
In a car accident claim that doesn’t involve injury but damaged your vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation for:
- The cost of repairing the damage or replacing your car or other property
- The cost of a rental car or public transportation while you were without your vehicle
- Lost wages/ Loss of Use from time spent away from work due to the accident
- Diminished Value of the vehicle if the vehicle is relatively new
Make sure to save all accident-related bills and receipts you have as proof of your losses.
Hiring an Attorney
The majority of car accident settlements that don’t include compensation for injuries are typically negotiated out of court. Litigation is costly and time consuming for everyone involved. Most insurance companies would rather settle out of court to save time and money. However, if a negligent party or insurance company refuses to provide the amount you deserve, filing a property damage lawsuit may be the only way to recover any money.
Because you’ll have to present your case to a judge or jury, hiring an attorney is beneficial. A car accident lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash, collect evidence, put an accurate value on your damages, and build a solid claim. Before you go to trial, your lawyer may even be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. Having a lawyer handle your case can also cut down on the stress that’s often involved when dealing with a property damage claim.
The maximum amount a party may sue for in small claims court in Alabama is $6,000. If your total amount of damages is less or close to this amount, taking your case to small claims court may be your best bet.