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Property Damages-What Are My Rights?

Property Damages….What Are My Rights?

If you have ever been involved in an automobile accident then you know that one element of damages involves the property damages sustained to the vehicles involved.  There are many issues involved when a vehicle is damaged.  For example, there are issues concerning the extent of the damages (total loss or repairable), rental charges, loss of use and diminished value as well as issues with the compliance by the insurance company with the laws that govern the loss adjustment of the property damages, including timeliness of payment.

The Louisiana legislature has determined that in Louisiana a vehicle is deemed a total loss when the damages equal to or exceed 75% of the vehicle’s value as determined by the most current edition of the National Automobile Dealer’s Handbook (NADA)….this legislation applies only to third party property damage claims, that is, claims against an at fault driver.  Moreover, an insurance company must make a written offer to settle a property damage claim within 30 days of receipt of proof of the loss.  Failure to do so subjects the insurance company to statutory penalties and attorney fees, in addition to the amount of the loss.

In addition to the amount of the damages sustained, one is also entitled to the costs of a rental and/or damages for the loss of use of their vehicle.  In this regard, the law also imposes upon insurance companies the necessity of also paying the costs of a rental vehicle within 30 days of receipt of proof of the loss.  Failure to do so also subjects the insurance company to statutory penalties and attorney fees, in addition to the amount of the loss.  If no rental charges were incurred, the insurance company is required to pay for the loss of use of the vehicle.  These damages typically equal the cost per day of what a rental would costs.

In most instances, another element of damage is the diminished value of the damaged vehicle.  In this regard, no matter how good the repairs, once a vehicle has been involved in an accident and sustained damages, there will always be a record of the fact of the damage (Carfax, etc.) and disclosure to any purchaser would be required.  Thus, the law also provides for the recovery of diminished value damages.

Nearly 75 years ago my father, J. Minos Simon, began the family tradition of providing exemplary legal services to the citizens throughout the local communities and the state of Louisiana.  A tradition that I proudly embraced and have tried to fulfill for nearly 30 years.  Simon Law Offices, Cajun Strong, and rebuilding lives throughout Louisiana one client at a time.