Damages for Vehicle Property Loss

In Arizona, and in other jurisdictions throughout the country, those who are involved in a motor vehicle accident (caused by another’s fault) are entitled to recover damages as compensation for property loss.  Property loss damages are particularly relevant in cases where the value of the motor vehicle is quite high, and are given further import when the injuries sustained were relatively minor.

If you have been injured or have otherwise been involved in a car accident, truck accident, or motorcycle accident in which you sustained losses with regard to the value of your vehicle, we can help secure full and adequate compensation on your behalf.  Get in touch with a Phoenix accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon for further guidance on how to proceed.

Property loss may seem like a simply claim at first glance, but the recovery process can be complicated by conflicts with the defendant over the cost of repairs, diminution in value, and loss of use, among various other issues.

Let’s take a look at each of these property loss considerations, in turn.

Recovering for Property Loss — Aspects of the Claim

In the personal injury and motor vehicle accident contexts, property loss falls under the umbrella of economic damages.  There are (generally speaking) two forms of damages: economic and non-economic.  Economic damages — such as property loss, wage loss, and various medical expenses — are more objective and easier to measure, as they are based on actual financial losses.  Non-economic damages — such as pain and suffering — are somewhat more challenging to evaluate, as they are subjective in nature.

Despite the fact that property loss is a component of one’s objective and measurable economic damages claim, there are still many points of contention (in identifying and calculating the loss at-issue) that may become a problem.

Cost of Repair

The cost of repairs may be an issue for some defendants (more specifically, their insurers) as they might disagree that the repairs are necessary to return the vehicle to a reasonably safe working condition.  In some cases, the defendant may argue that you could have obtained the repair services for a lower price from a different shop, or that you could have had a less expensive, alternative repair.  You’ll want to demonstrate — perhaps with the aid of expert testimony — that the particular damages your vehicle sustained actually required the repairs that you obtained, and that the cost of such repairs are consistent with industry standards.

Replacing the Vehicle

If your vehicle is “too far gone,” so to speak, and is fundamentally unsalvageable through repairs, then you may be entitled to secure damages for total loss of the vehicle in the form of replacement costs.  These costs are rather straightforward — you may obtain damages that compensate you for the cost of the vehicle that you had to purchase as a replacement for your damaged one.  Generally speaking, you are only entitled to recover for the original value of the lost vehicle (i.e., you cannot purchase a more expensive vehicle and have that cost reimbursed by the defendant).

Damages for Lost Use

Loss of use compensation accounts for the damages you sustain as a direct result of having an unusable vehicle for a specific period of time — whether you are currently having your vehicle repaired, or on the lookout for a replacement.  Lost use of a vehicle is generally equivalent to the cost of renting a vehicle (the vehicle must be roughly equivalent to your original vehicle) in the interim period.

Damages for Lost Resale Value

In Arizona, those who have their vehicles damaged in an accident (due to another’s negligent acts) are entitled to damages for lost resale value — this concept is known as diminution in value.  Essentially, even if you have perfectly repaired your damaged vehicle, the fact that the vehicle has an “accident history” will necessarily reduce its resale value on the market.  This reduction in value may be claimed as a loss.

Speak to an Experienced Phoenix Accident Attorney for Legal Assistance

If you have had your vehicle damaged in an accident that occurred as a result of the negligent, reckless, or otherwise wrongful conduct of another, Arizona law may entitle you to receive compensation for the loss of property that you sustained.  Property loss claims can be quite challenging, however, if the defendant is hostile to your arguments.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our accident attorneys have litigated claims on behalf of injured clients for several decades.  We have extensive experience with helping secure damages for both injury-based losses and property losses, and are committed to client-focused legal representation.  Throughout the litigation process, we prioritize the needs and preferences of the client.

Unlike many other firms, we focus on motor vehicle accidents — car, truck, and motorcycle accidents — and as such, our specialized experience gives us a unique competitive advantage during both negotiations and litigation.

Call 602-535-1900 or submit a claim form online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  We will assess your various claims — which may include property loss damages — and work with you to develop a winning overall strategy.


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