Accidents are always unfortunate and always come with various additional distresses, other than the physical trauma. While the emotional stress takes a huge time to heal; property damage also needs to be compensated by the at-fault party.
Property Damage and Insurance Claims
In most cases, a property is covered by an insurance policy that can protect the property from potential damages, in case of natural disasters like snow, fire, ice, smoke, water or wind. The insurance also protects the property if it encounters an incident of theft or vandalism or even negligence.
Depending on the type of insurance, the interior as well as the exterior of the property is protected. While business insurance and homeowner insurance covers the exterior and interiors of the property when they are inside the home or apartment; a renter's insurance policy might cover the personal properties, even when they are away from the home or apartment.
Personal Property Damage:
Here it needs special mention that when you talk about property, it is not just the home or the apartment that is considered as your property. Anything that you own is your property and you are liable to claim a compensation for any damage that is caused to your property. There are a few factors associated with this property damage. These are –
- Property damage without personal injury
- Property damage with personal injury.
These mean that, your property can face damage due to someone's negligence or hostile behaviour, while you are injured or while you are not injured.
- Your watch is broken as a biker recklessly rides past you, hitting your wrist. You might not be hurt, but the watch is either broken or has lost its precious embellishments. This is a case of property damage, without personal injury.
- On the other hand, you fall on a wet floor in a coffee shop, as no sign of wet floor was placed. You hurt your knees or elbow and also lose your cell phone that fell from your pocket and has stopped working since then. This is a case of property damage with personal injury.
All About Property Damage With Personal Injury Claims
Whether you are injured or not, if your personal property is damaged due to your negligence or the negligence of another person, party or company or due to a deliberate hostile behaviour, you are liable to claim for the compensation for the damaged property.
If the place of injury and property damage is your workplace and the damage has been caused due to the negligence of the employer, you have to claim for the compensation for your damaged property from the employer. However, you must also know that the worker's insurance covers only the compensation for the injury and not for the damaged property. In this case, the injured person may seek for compensation as per the employee manual of the company or through personal negotiation.
Steps to File a Personal Injury Claim with Property Damage:
- You must also keep in mind that your doctor must have to present a clear report of the extent of your injury, in order to claim for the treatment compensation. Whether you are injured by some natural calamities or by someone's negligence, clear reports from the doctor must be presented to the insurance companies, in order to claim for the treatment expenses. The set of factors that you must keep in mind would include –
Physical and emotional trauma that you have to go through
- Financial losses that you and your family is facing due to the injury
- Change in lifestyle for the next few days, months or years or for the lifetime
- Future prospects of your recovery
- Therapy expenses
- Medical bills.
The at-fault party or the insurance company is liable to compensate for all of these.
While claiming for the compensation for the physical injury is easier, filing the claim for your property damage is not an easy task. This is because, the extent of property damage and its exact cause need to be clearly defined in the file. While the damage is often clearly evident, what caused the damage is a matter of question and inquiry.
The first thing that you must be looking for is a police report that would clearly state the exact cause of the property damage. As the police officer verifies and confirms the damage and its cause in the police report, the report needs to be filed for the insurance claim.
The claim adjusters always try to minimize the amount of compensation or more likely, dismiss it. Hence, providing evidence is very important. Take photographs and videos of the event or after the occurrence of the event to show the situation that your claim from the at-fault party is absolutely valid. The more evidence you collect, the stronger is your case. Collecting testimonials from eyewitness is considered to be very powerful evidence. Also, if possible, try to preserve the damaged property. The insurance adjuster might want to look at it.
Value of Property and Extent of Damage:
While some insurance companies provide cash reimbursements, some replace the property. In either case, it is important that you provide a valid invoice of purchase of the property. If you can't find one, you need to ask for a copy from the seller or the store that you purchased it from. If damage to one of your personal property has led to many more expenses that you had to repair immediately in order to prevent further damages, keep the repair receipts and show them to the insurance adjuster. You are liable to get compensation for all these expenses.
Mitigating your Damage:
The insurance companies prefer to compensate for those personal injury and property damage claims that mitigate the expenses from increasing further. So, if possible, try to prevent the property from damaging other properties. If the insurance claim adjuster proves that you could lessen further damage expenses, you might lose the chances of receiving the claims.
Since damage to your property and its compensation claim is being talked about during your injury, you might ignore these factors at the time of injury. However, you must keep in mind that along with the claim for your injury treatment, you are also liable to claim for the damage to your property that has been caused by someone's negligence or hostile behaviour.