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How To Handle A Property Damage Claim

In this video, attorney Ted Spaulding reviews the process of handling a property damage claim with a lawyer. He explains different examples of property damage claims and how Georgia law impacts these cases. 

How To Handle A Property Damage Claim. Hi. I’m Ted Spaulding. I’m an Atlanta personal injury trial lawyer and the founder here at Spaulding Injury Law. So property damage claims, when we take on a new case, we typically have our clients handle the property damage themselves as long as they feel comfortable. We don’t charge a fee for handling it. Oftentimes we become the middle man and it’s much quicker if the client can handle it. And the reason we feel comfortable giving that advice is because property damage claims are so empirical, different from the personal injury claim, that oftentimes you don’t need a lawyer involved. You can come to an agreement with the insurance company because those numbers are so easily discoverable by all sides, and insurance companies don’t mess around on those values too much. So oftentimes you can handle it on your own, that’s the first thing.

The second is to remember that in Georgia you have the potential for at least two property damage claims and this comes up when your vehicle is repairable. So you’ve got the cost to repair it and then you would have a second claim for diminished value. It’s gonna have a Carfax report. It’s gonna garner less money down the road when you go to sell it because of the wreck and the repairs that were done, so two totally separate claims there. You may have a loss of use claim as well which is the time that…basically rental value, the time that you didn’t have that vehicle and didn’t have other transportation, that’s if they can’t get you into a rental vehicle. So you’ve got to know your claims first.

Number two, let’s say you’ve got…it’s a total loss. That’s really where you need the help, right? When it’s repaired, the repair people will work with the insurance company, they’ll get paid, it all gets done but when it’s a total loss that’s where it’s a little more difficult. What I tell folks is to go out and get three estimates. Get more if you can. Now we can do it all on the internet, Kelley Blue Book, edmunds.com, TrueCar, all these kinds of places, run with your stats, what your vehicle would be worth if you sold it to your neighbor, okay? So not the trade-in value but the fair market value. And take those numbers, average them out, that’s what you’re shooting for in negotiating your total loss.

Worst of worst case scenarios, you may have to hire an expert to actually give you that number and give you a full-blown report. That typically costs upwards of $500 to get an independent adjuster to do that for you. Hopefully you can avoid that though with all this information that’s out there now a day. So that’s how you properly handle a property damage claim here in Georgia. I hope this helps. If you have any questions or concerns or if you have a potential case that you would like to see if my firm can handle, please respond to this video or go to my website, spauldinginjurylaw.com. We have a contact form on there, fill it out and we’ll reach out to you, or give me a call directly. Two phone numbers for you, 770-744-0890 and 470-695-9950. Thank you so much for watching this video.

For close to 15 years, Mr. Spaulding has helped victims of negligence across the state of Georgia resolve personal injury disputes, and he’s received a remarkable number of awards and honors from the legal community recognizing his commitment to clients and to the metro-Atlanta area.

As an undergraduate, Mr. Spaulding belonged to the Phi Beta Kappa honors fraternity at the University of Georgia, and he obtained his legal training at the Georgia State College of Law, where he clerked for the Honorable Judge Rowland Barnes of the Fulton County Superior Court. Mr. Spaulding has also worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Atlanta Enforcement Division. Since 2005, he has dedicated his career to helping the injured victims of negligence and their loved ones win justice in Georgia’s personal injury courts.