Yes, I am Roger Ghai and I wanted to talk today a little bit about property damage and personal injuries. A lot of people get confused about the two especially when they retain an accident lawyer as to whether the accident lawyer is going to help them with the property damage. Generally speaking — this isn’t true for all lawyers, but generally speaking, the lawyers don’t get involved in the property damage aspect of the case.
There is a simple reason for this — is that number one, there is no money to do that. The insurance company is already under an obligation to pay you fair market value for the vehicle, in case it’s totaled out. If it is totaled out, then you, your very self, well can go on the internet and look at the Kelley Blue Book Value or any other value and negotiate back and forth with the insurance company.
If the lawyer did get involved and took a percent out — let’s say, the damages of the car was totaled out and the vehicle is worth $10,000 and the attorney took $2,000 or $3,000. Well, you wouldn’t be able to get a replacement vehicle. That’s another factor. In light of the fact that it’s pretty straightforward as to what the insurance company has to pay, lawyers don’t generally get involved in that.
Now, I will note one exception. Let’s say that you have a huge — what we call a diminished value claim, and let’s say you have been driving just a brand new Mercedes Benz. It just got involved in a wreck [coughs] — excuse me, and now the vehicle itself is worth maybe $10,000 or $15,000 or $5,000 less than what it was when you just drove it off the lot. In that case, lawyers will go ahead and file the property damage claim because you have a good diminished value claim there.
Typically, if it is a older vehicle or a used vehicle or something like that, you might still have a diminished value claim, but it’s only a few hundred dollars or maybe $500 or something. Which you yourself can bring to the attention of the insurance company and tell them that that’s what you wanted added to your property damage settlement. The property damage settlement is distinct from your personal injuries.
Your personal injuries are exactly what they say, they are personal to you. Whether you have neck pain or back pain or whatever it is that you have got, you are entitled to get compensated for that. If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 770-792-1000.