At ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. car crash clients often ask if the property damage case and the personal injury can be settled at the same time. In serious injury cases, this is not a good idea. While the “dings” and damage to a car’s chassis will not “heal” on their own, the human body is remarkable, and recuperation starts right away. That is why I advise clients to settle their property damage (or “PD”) claims as soon as they have their own estimate (or “2nd opinion”). In order to avoid being “low-balled” by the insurance company, the team at our Herndon Reston area injury and disability law firm highly recommend having the damaged vehicle looked at by your service station, car dealer or other knowledgeable mechanic BEFORE agreeing to accept the property damage offer. It is also important to make sure that ALL the property that was damaged by the crash is covered. You cannot go back for an additional settlement after accepting the insurance carrier’s check for the PD claim.
SO, if your eyeglasses were smashed, cell phone ruined, stereo crushed, ipod waterlogged or trunk contents soiled; take photographs, get receipts for purchase and/or replacement and make sure you include them in your property damage demand. When you do settle the property damage claim, common sense suggests that you make sure the check does not state “FULL AND FINAL SETTLEMENT OF ALL CLAIMS.” We had one case where the unsuspecting accident victim signed off on such a check, only to find that her personal injury or “bodily injury” (“BI”) claim was being denied by the insurance company, which maintained that their check settled ALL the claims this woman had as the result of the crash. That is another reason why it is important to get legal counsel AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AFTER A MAJOR CAR WRECK OR TRUCK CRASH. At ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we do not take any fee from property damage monies recovered unless the PD claim also has to be tried.