Imagine this theoretical scenario: You swerve your car to miss hitting a dog running across the street and cannot avoid crashing into your neighbor’s car or nearby business. Perhaps, in the scenario where you hit the business, you caused them to shut down for two weeks. Both cases involve property damage, so what happens next? That depends on many things, but the main answer to the question hinges on what your property damage liability coverage includes.
What is Property Damage?
Property damage is defined as causing injury to another’s property due to negligence or the willingness to commit the act. According to the law, no matter how property damage comes about, it includes any resulting loss that happens that property.
A plaintiff can also bring forth a lawsuit for intangible damages in additional to physical ones. Take the case in the introduction, for instance, where the business theoretically lost revenue for two weeks when you theoretically struck their building and damaged it. If this really happened, the business owner can sue you for lost revenue on top of any physical damage that may have occurred during the commission of the incident.
Do You Need Property Damage Liability Coverage?
Property damage insurance, also known as property damage liability insurance, is a sub-component of liability insurance. Other parts of liability insurance pertain to coverage in the case that you wreck your vehicle and cause bodily harm to others.
You will most certainly need property damage liability insurance since it affords protection if you accidentally cause a car wreck that results in property damage. Keep in mind that extensive damage to property can be challenging to overcome and sometimes insurmountable monetarily if you don’t have property damage liability coverage.
If you drive an automobile, know that the law in almost all states requires that you always have property damage liability insurance. In Connecticut, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 damage liability insurance coverage for the damaged property per person, and $50,000 for every accident for bodily injury liability coverage. However, drivers are strongly encouraged to consider higher limits.
How Does Coverage Work in Case of an Accident?
If you ever cause an accident to someone’s property, property damage liability coverage will pay for it, up to the policy’s limits. That’s why it is so essential to have excellent and adequate liability insurance. Property damage coverage additionally pays your attorney costs if they defend you in a property damage lawsuit.
The amount the other person collects for property damage is often based on evidence they present for its replacement value. Damages that can be considered in court can include the cost to repair the property, or the loss of the property’s use until it is repaired or replaced. The plaintiff may also present personal items that hold great sentimental value that were lost. In these cases, the plaintiff gives subjective testimony as to their sentimental worth. These can be items such as treasured heirlooms and wedding photos.
What is a Property Damage Lawsuit?
In a property damage lawsuit, a plaintiff files legal action against the person (the defendant) that damaged their property, claiming that the defendant acted negligently or intentionally ruined their property. In property damage lawsuits, injuries to properties caused by negligence or willful acts are considered separate from those involving personal injury.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff will ask the court to award monetary reimbursement to them from the defendant that is commensurate with the cost of the property damage. These type of lawsuits are usually held in small claims court, and a jury will determine damages based on evidence and testimonies.
Types of Property Damage Claims
Property damage lawsuits ask for recovery based on the following damage claims:
This type of claim states the position a victim would currently be in had the accident not happened. Damages they are potentially entitled to include the amount needed to replace or repair their injured belongings.
Consequential damages are designed to award the plaintiff any reasonable costs associated to the injured property. Compensation may include covering costs for the means the plaintiff had to utilize such as having to rent a vehicle since their own is out of commission. Consequential damages can additionally include lost revenue that resulted from lost or damaged property.
Incidental damages compensate victims monetarily for expenses that were directly incurred because of the property loss. Examples include the reasonable costs associated with activities such as shipping, transportation and phone calls.
Punitive damages are not designed to compensate victims for the loss to their properties. Instead, they are designed to punish defendants and deter anyone else from acting in a similar manner. They cannot be awarded to the plaintiff without compensatory damages. Also, punitive damages normally cannot exceed ten times the quantity of compensatory damages. A judge may intervene if he determines that the jury set aside a deficient or excessive award to the plaintiff.
If you are dealing with the legalese of the courts and ambiguous wording of insurance company policies, you know they can often be confusing and frustrating. You shouldn’t have to maneuver through this ordeal alone, and a professional and experienced attorney can help. If you are looking for a skilled attorney in Waterbury, CT to handle your property damage case, contact the Moynahan Law Firm today for a no obligation case evaluation. Attorney Moynahan and our Firm will stand by your side, and we have over 30 years of experience in defending cases like yours.