If your car is damaged in an accident you can claim the damage to your car as part of a personal injury claim in order to get money to repair your vehicle. When you file a personal injury claim you can receive money that will pay for all of the costs related to the accident, including some car damage. Even if you are found to be partially responsible for the accident you can still file a personal injury claim.
Talk with an experienced personal injury attorney today to find out more about how to file a personal claim after an accident and what damages you can ask for in a personal injury claim.
We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, about what you should do. Here is what she had to say:
Can I File a Claim for Headlight Damage?
The first consideration you need to make before seeking compensation for damages to your headlights is to figure out what type of insurance overage you have. If you have the most basic insurance coverage, you more than likely only have liability coverage.
Liability covers situations where you hit another driver or damage property. It makes the other driver or other piece of property whole again. Additional coverage involves physical damage to your own vehicle.
If you are the at-fault driver, you have to file a claim to repair your headlights under this portion of your insurance. Collision insurance covers damages when you, as the driver, collides into an inanimate object. If you are driving and hit a telephone pole, you will file damages under your collision coverage.
In addition, comprehensive car insurance coverage offers protection for situations where it is not one car hitting another. It involves situations where your car is damaged from acts of nature, theft or vandalism.
For instance, if your headlights are damaged by a falling tree or vandalism, if you have comprehensive insurance coverage, you can file a claim under this policy.
Are Headlights Covered Under Insurance?
Your car insurance might cover damage to your headlights depending on the type of coverage you have and how the damage happened. An auto insurer might pay the bill under certain circumstances.
If a car accident destroys one or both lights and you have collision coverage, you can make a claim. The expense must exceed your deductible. How your policy covers headlight repairs depends on how the headlight sustained damages.
Your insurer is likely to ask you how the headlight damage happened when you file a claim. From this information it will decide how to compensate you for your damaged headlights.
If you were the cause of the accident but have collision liability coverage, you should be covered for the headlight repairs. If another driver caused an accident which damaged your headlight, that driver’s insurance may cover it.
If your vehicle was hit by a falling object your comprehensive insurance may help cover the repairs. If someone deliberately damaged your headlights and it was seen as an act of violence your comprehensive coverage may pay the bill. However if the light was damaged due to lack of care and maintenance your insurance is unlikely to cover the cost of repair.
However, you should also consider the value of your deductible. If the damage to your headlights is below the deductible you are expected to first pay, it may not be worthwhile filing a claim. If the cost of repairing the headlight damage is more than your deductible then it may be worth filing a claim.
How Do You Proceed?
It depends on how the accident occurred before a driver can decide how to proceed. How did the accident occur? If the damage happened because another driver struck your vehicle, you will file a claim under that driver’s insurance policies if you live in a state where fault plays a factor in insurance coverage.
If you reside in one of the twelve states where fault is not a question when it comes to car accidents, you will need to file your claim on your own insurance policy.
If you caused the car accident and you do not reside in a no-fault state, you will still need to file the claim on your own collision liability coverage. If the car accident occurred from another object or act of vandalism, you will pursue the claim on your comprehensive policy.
If you are not sure what your coverage is, it is important you review your coverage and speak with your insurance provider to review what is covered and what is not.
However, it is also important to consider the deductible. If your vehicle’s damage is under the deductible you must first pay, there may be no benefit to filing a claim. If damage is significant, it may be better to file a claim.
Consider Your Deductible
Every car insurance policy has some type of deductible which is an amount that the insured must pay prior to coverage kicking in. Most deductibles range between $500 to $1,000. This amount must be paid before the insurance company will reimburse you for damages.
Of course, if the accident was caused by another driver, you will be going through the at-fault driver’s policy. Therefore, deductibles will not matter at that point. Depending on the type of car you have, headlight replacement may fall just under the deductible amount. If the cost of parts or repairs is less than your deductible, it may not be worth it to file a claim.
If, however, headlight replacement is more than the deductible cost, filing a claim is worth it. If you are replacing the headlights through your dealer or if the cost of repairs is included, it is almost guaranteed you will be paying more than a $500 deductible limit.
Therefore, it is recommended you pursue a claim for damages, unless you believe you can handle the replacement at a lower cost through some other means.
How to Write a Claim
In an insurance claim, it is important that you notify the insurance company of the other party in writing. This is called a demand letter. The demand letter is a way to demonstrate to the insurance company what happened, and why you should be compensated to recover the damages.
Here is what you should list in the demand letter:
- Your account of the accident. This will demonstrate why you are not at fault.
- The damages that you suffered. This is where you include the damage to your headlights.
- Monetary cost of the damages suffered. Have your car inspected by a mechanic and get an itemized list of the cost to repair the damages that your car. The insurance company will have their own estimate.
The more evidence that you are able to present in the demand letter, the easier it will be to convince the insurance company that the demands you claim are valid. Some evidence that you should include are photographs of the damage, the bills from the repair shop, witness statements and police statements. In addition to damage to the vehicle, you can also claim for any medical expenses suffered due to the accident. Your attorney will help you gather everything that is needed to write a compelling demand letter.
Types of Accidents That Cause Damaged Headlights
If you have been in an auto accident, you may have suffered damaged headlights on your vehicle. There are many different kinds of accidents that can lead to damaged headlights. As an example, your car’s headlights could be damaged in any of the following crashes:
- T-bone crash
- Merging accident
- Head-on collision
- Hit and run
- Rear-end collision (as the rear car)
- Parked car hit by another vehicle
Headlights are imperative for the safe operation of your vehicle, so if you have suffered headlight damage you will want to make sure the repairs are done promptly before you operate the vehicle again – especially after dark or during inclement weather.
You should always call the police and make sure an accident report is filed. If you are physically able to do so, you should get photos of the accident scene and of the damages.
Ask any witnesses to provide written statements regarding what they saw. Be sure to get the names of any witnesses and ask for contact details so they can be contacted again if the need arises.
What To Expect Timewise
When you file a personal injury claim, you will want to make sure your damages are addressed in a timely manner. While some claims are settled in a week or so, it can take months to have a claim resolved.
If the case turns into a lawsuit and advances to court, it may be a year before your claim gets resolved. In the meantime, you need to maintain thorough documentation and supporting evidence. Your vehicle will most likely be repaired within a couple of weeks by the liable party’s insurance, or by your insurance, depending on the situation. However, the remaining damages are usually what will take longer to settle.
You want to be cautious. Settling your claim too quickly could result in you not recovering enough to cover future losses. If this is the case, you will not be able to pursue another claim, and you will end up paying for the rest of the damages yourself.
Make sure your medical situation is fully assessed and talk with your treating physician before reaching a settlement. Be sure to have your car thoroughly checked by an automotive repair professional.
The Statute of Limitations
Every state has a statute of limitations – which is a time limit – for you to pursue a personal injury claim after an accident. In most cases, you have anywhere from a year to three years to get your claim filed. If you wait too long, you will not be able to recover compensation for your damages. You should familiarize yourself with the state laws to learn about the time limit. If you enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer, your attorney will know the state laws that apply and will make sure all documentation is filed in a timely manner.
If your state has a one-year statute of limitations, and you wait a day too late, then you will not recover compensation for your damages. Time is of the essence, so you must make sure you have all your evidence and documentation in order and get your claim underway in a timely manner.
That is how a personal injury lawyer can help you get your claim underway in a timely manner and ensure everything is in order and filed properly. Your damages could add up fast, so you don’t want to lose your opportunity to pursue a personal injury claim.
Your first step in a personal injury claim that has caused damaged headlights is to send a demand letter to the liable party. In this demand letter, you will provide supporting evidence and documentation to show that you suffered damages in this accident, the how the accident occurred, and why you think the insurance is liable for your damages. The more supporting documentation and evidence that you can provide, the better your odds of a successful claim.
When you file a claim against the other party’s insurance, you will need to itemize your damages and come up with the total of your loss. You will want to include property damages with an itemized repair estimate, tow bill, and rental car receipts.
Your medical bills, medical records, and proof of your missed work and lost wages. You will need to provide documentation that shows any future loss of earnings and future medical care.
What Happens Next
If your demand letter is convincing enough, the insurance may offer you a settlement. They will most likely offer you less than what you demand, so you should leave room for negotiations. They may allege you are partly to blame for the damages, so they may just want to pay a portion or a percentage of the losses. You – or your personal injury lawyer – will then continue negotiating with the insurance company about a settlement. Your attorney will know a fair value for your claim and will work to ensure you are treated fairly.
If you cannot reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, you will then file a lawsuit and your case will progress to court. When your case goes to court, a judge or a jury will determine the outcome.
They may award you the full settlement or less. However, oftentimes claims are settled before they go to court because going to court can be costly for the insurance company.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you have been in a car accident and have questions about whether you should submit a claim for your damages, it is recommended you contact an attorney to ask any questions you may have.
If you have been involved in an accident that has damaged your vehicle’s headlights, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer who is licensed to handle accident injury claims in your state. An attorney will be able to gather supporting evidence and documentation to get your claim on track.
Personal injury lawyers will not be paid until you recover compensation for your losses as they work on a contingency fee basis. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details of your claim with an attorney who handles claims in your area.
A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company. To receive the compensation for your medical bills, property damages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today.