James Bond 007 creator Ian Fleming said, “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”
A business owner down in Kingsland, Georgia must think there’s some sort of enemy action against her because she can’t catch a break from bustling traffic that goes by—and sometimes THROUGH—her home furnishings store.
That’s right, through. You see, recently, and for the 10th time in 12 years, a car has damaged her Ballast Pointe Trading Company in downtown Kingsland.
In mid-September, Kingsland Police reported that a woman driving under the influence barreled down State Road 40 at nearly 100 miles per hour and slammed into the store.
Although the store was closed, and no one was hurt, the store and building owner once again are on clean-up duty. The historic building has taken a pounding from traffic—primarily semi-trucks turning from eastbound SR-40 onto southbound U.S. 17.
“They just hop the curb and come too close and take part of the building with them,” store Dana Hawthorne owner explained.
She said that during one of the past nine restoration projects, a truck driver revealed that semis make the turn onto U.S. 17 to avoid a weigh station along I-95. (Avoiding a weigh station or what’s known as “dodging the scales” may also be evidence of negligence, as commercial vehicles are required to stop at inspection sites.)
The store owner says she’s unsure what it will cost to repair her store.
Property Damage can be Significant in a Semi Accident
This story shows that, in addition to injuries to motor vehicle accident victims, an accident can cause extensive property damage.
The damage can be even greater when it involves a semi tactor-trailer.
An 18 wheeler attached to an empty trailer will weigh roughly 35,000 pounds, and the maximum weight for a semi with a loaded trailer in the United States is 80,000 pounds. That can cause considerable damage to your vehicle, structures, and personal property.
If you’re involved in a semi accident, you can ask for compensation for property damage.
What Types of Property Damage are Recoverable in a Semi Truck Accident?
The cost of repairing your vehicle is a major issue, after of course, the health and treatment of the accident victims.
But in addition to car repairs, there are other types of property damage that you may recover. If your vehicle isn’t a “total loss,” and the at-fault semi driver has a liability policy that will cover the cost of your property damages, there are some common types of property claims that you can make with the help of an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney like those at Tobin Injury Law:
- The Cost of Repairs. Again, this is the amount of money that it’ll cost to repair your vehicle to its previous condition prior to the big rig accident. Typically, an auto repair shop will work directly with the insurance company to get the cost of repairs covered. You also may be able to get a repair estimate from the insurance adjuster and have the insurance provider pay you directly to get the necessary repairs. If you do that, obtain an independent estimate to make certain that the insurance company takes into account all of the necessary repairs. Your Atlanta truck accident attorney can be a terrific benefit in this situation, having worked with countless insurance companies and repair shops for collision claims.
- Loss of Use. Just like it sounds, you’re going to have expenses (damages) if your car is in the shop for two weeks because you lost its use. This may include the cost of a rental vehicle, public transportation, cab fare, or the cost of an Uber or Lyft. The semi truck driver’s insurance company may offer to get you a rental car. If they do, you won’t receive any additional compensation for loss of use because the insurance company already has paid you for this. However, you shouldn’t be speaking with the 18 wheeler’s insurance company… let your truck accident attorney from Tobin Injury Law handle that.
- Diminution in Value. You also can claim the difference in the value of your vehicle immediately before the collision and after the repairs are completed because of the intrinsic loss in value to the vehicle because of the accident. If you try to sell your vehicle later on, an accident will make it less valuable, and many buyers won’t want to risk buying your car knowing that it’s been damaged. Your claim for diminished value will provide you with payment for the decrease in your car’s value.
- Personal Property. Your property damage claim should also include the loss or damage to your personal property that was in your vehicle at the time of the collision. You may have a damaged laptop, smartphone, merchandise purchases, eyeglasses, as well as ruined clothing. The value of these damaged or lost items should be part of your claim. Your attorney will request the replacement value, and will negotiate with the semi truck driver’s insurance adjuster, who will try to reduce each item’s new cost to its current value.
- Total Loss. You often hear of a car being “totaled,” and this can happen much more frequently in a big rig accident. The insurance company may “total out” your vehicle because the extent of the damages or the cost of repairs is more than the value of your car. You’ll be glad you have a Tobin Injury Law attorney to argue with the insurance company for you to get the fair market value of your vehicle at the time of the accident—not just the lowball figure that the adjuster is offering.
One bright spot with property damage claims is that they typically are easier to resolve than a personal injury claim. A property damage claim may be completed in a few weeks, especially if you have an experienced attorney making the calls and completing the paperwork on your behalf.
Should I Hire An Attorney After A Truck Accident?
Yes, and Tobin Injury Law can help.
You should work with an experienced Atlanta truck accident lawyer. With our experience and skills, we know what to look for when suing a trucking company.
You can contact an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 404-JUSTICE (404-587-8423) or using our online contact form. Tobin Injury Law offers free consultations and will be glad to answer your questions.