Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be cumbersome especially when dealing with car accident injuries and, determining if you should take legal action for property damage. Suing for property damage in a car accident is no small feat and in order to be successful, you’ll need the skill of an experienced attorney such as the car accident lawyers in Pearland at J.D. Silva.
Texas Law and Property Damage in a Car Accident
Texas law defines property damage as any injury or harm to anything other than a person. This could include items like other vehicles, trees, homes, fencing, signage, or anything else damaged during a car accident. Even items inside the vehicle – like books, electronics, child car seats, and other elements that could become damaged – would qualify.
Post-collision property damage is based on:
- the affected items’ replacement value;
- the cost of repairs, and;
- the loss of use until the items are replaced or repaired.
When a car accident happens, these damages will usually be handled through both parties’ insurance companies, making it important for car accident victims to first file an insurance claim. Generally, the victim should file a claim as soon as possible to meet claim deadlines. This also gives those impacted more time to dispute the assessed value of damaged items in the event the insurance company offers a lower estimate than anticipated.
Most Texas drivers have insurance, which can make it easy to resolve property damage claims out of court after an auto accident. However, the use of car insurance to resolve property damage after a car accident can fall short in situations such as:
- when another vehicle isn’t involved,
- the accident is a hit and run or;
- the insurer of the other party is delaying or disputing the claim, or;
- you were hit by an uninsured driver.
In these situations, it can be necessary to file a lawsuit for property damage. For instance, if a car accident occurs because a pedestrian threw an item at a vehicle that caused the driver to lose control, this could be grounds to sue the pedestrian to recover compensation.
Suing for Property Damage in a Car Accident
It’s important to note that Texas is an at-fault state for car accidents and car accident insurance. This means that if a person is involved in a car accident in Texas, they have the right to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance to recover compensation for the resulting damage, including property damage. In addition, a suit can also be filed in the event the negligent party’s insurer doesn’t offer a fair settlement.
In addition, car accident victims that decide to sue for property damage, may also seek to recover compensation for medical bills and other losses resulting from the incident. They can also seek compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, as pain does not necessarily have to be physical. For example, if a traumatic car accident occurs, victims may be suffering from anxiety or exhibiting other signs of mental trauma and even PTSD. This anxiety could be so debilitating that victims no longer feel safe driving, thus impacting their quality of life.
Despite this, proving non-economic damages can be quite difficult – especially if victims were not physically injured. Regardless, uninjured victims have a right to pursue legal action for their damages after a car accident; but, because of the difficulties that can arise, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Texas car accident attorney after a crash occurs. An experienced attorney can help determine if your non-economic damages are compensable.
How Long Do You Have to Sue For Property Damage
When deciding whether or not to sue for property damage after a car accident, victims should also take into account the Texas statute of limitations for property damage claims. A statute of limitations is a state law that impacts the right to file a lawsuit by placing a time limit on how long a victim has to file their claim in court.
In Texas, a two-year statute of limitations applies to any lawsuit seeking the repair or replacement of damaged and destroyed property. This means action for property damage after a car accident must be brought within two years of the day the incident occurred. This two-year deadline applies any time an accident victim wishes to sue for monetary compensation after a car accident, no matter if the claim is for property damage alone or part of a claim that also includes personal injury and/or wrongful death.
In the event, that the filing deadline has passed but a victim decides to attempt to file a lawsuit anyway, the other party will likely file a motion to dismiss the case and be successful. When this happens, the victim has essentially lost their right to any legal remedy for the damaged property, making it imperative for car accident victims to ensure they have plenty of time available to sue for damages if needed.
Recovering after the impact of a car accident can be all-consuming for victims especially in cases of contested car accidents. These feelings can develop even if those affected need to sue those involved for property damage. In these situations, it’s important to consult with an experienced car accident attorney.
Car Accident Property Damage Lawyers
At J.D. Silva & Associates, our experienced Pearland car accident attorneys have worked on countless cases and can help make the process easier for you and your loved ones. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident and wishes to sue for property damage, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your needs.