WASHINGTON PROPERTY DAMAGE
May 3, 2018
WHAT IS PROPERTY DAMAGE?
Property damage is any damage or destruction of public or private property caused by either an individual who does not own the property or a natural phenomena like a fallen tree or a hurricane. However, because property damage is such a broad term, examples of it can range from house and/or land damage, stolen items, vandalism or wrecked autos. Even though property damage is distinct from personal injury, individuals may require both a personal injury and a property damage lawyer if they also incurred injuries.
Nevertheless, individuals may still receive monetary compensation for their loss by providing evidence of replacement value, repair costs, loss in value, loss of use until repaired or replaced or of sentimental value.
HOW DO I FILE A PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM?
Depending on the amount of damage sustained, individuals may be able to receive compensation by filing a claim with a Washington Small Claims Court, District Court, or Superior Court. In Small Chains Court, once the complaint has been filed, the defendant will need to be served. Both parties will then be summoned to court in front of a judge. Generally, the plaintiff is not allowed to use a lawyer unless the judge grants permission to do so.
Where the damage claim is significant, individuals should consider seeking out the help of an experience property damage and/or personal injury lawyer. This is because individuals will be required to submit a formal claim, and an experienced lawyer will be able to help individuals gather evidence to help establish how much loss they incurred. In most cases, however, both parties are able to reach a favorable settlement outside of court.
WHAT IF MY AUTO WAS DAMAGED AS A RESULT OF AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT?
If an individual’s auto incurred damage as a result of an automobile accident, generally the defendant’s insurance company is responsible for repairing any and all damages incurred. However, individuals may not be aware that they are entitled to reimbursement for the residual loss in value to their vehicle in the State of Washington. Individuals have three years from the date of the accident to file a diminished value claim.
Diminished value happens when a vehicle is involved in an auto accident and, as a result, sustains either structural or physical damage. Even if the vehicle is repaired, it is still worth less money than it was worth before the auto accident happened. When individuals go to resell their vehicle, they may be required to disclose any and all accidents that their vehicle has been involved in. Most customers would generally favor a vehicle with a clean record over a vehicle that has been involved in a prior accident, which means that individuals end up receiving less money for their vehicle than if their vehicle were not involved in an accident in the first place.
WHY SHOULD I CONSULT A LAWYER?
Depending on the type and amount of property damage incurred, individuals should consider hiring a reputable and experienced property damage and/or personal injury lawyer. The legal process can be lengthy and complex; a lawyer will be able to complete most of the work for his or her clients. A reputable lawyer will help individuals gather evidence, hire an expert, prepare and complete appropriate legal documents, and prepare a strong case so that they will be able to receive maximum monetary compensation for their damaged property.
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