Lewis & Tompkins, P.C. | Maryland | Virginia | Washington, D.C.

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The D.C. Area’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm

Who Pays For My Property Damage?

Property damage (we use the acronym PD) is handled by one of two insurance carriers — yours or theirs. That sounds obvious, but here is the difference: If you have insurance — called collision or comprehensive coverage — then your own insurance company will fix your car.

Lewis & Tompkins will assist you in making the appropriate claim and getting a property damage adjuster assigned to your claim. Your insurance company will evaluate your property damage, write an estimate, and should authorize the body shop of your choice to begin work. The benefits of using your own insurance coverage (like comprehensive or collision coverage) are the ease of getting the repair started. Generally, your own insurance company should — not always — treat you better than the other person’s insurance.

The drawback of using your insurance is that you have to pay your deductible to get your car out of the shop. Don’t worry. We will make sure that the other party in your accident will reimburse you for your deductible. The person who caused the collision will be responsible for fixing your car as well. The defendant’s insurance company will also assign an adjuster to evaluate the damage to your car, write an estimate, and make arrangements for the repair. However, the defendant’s insurance company will not authorize any repair until they conduct an investigation of the facts of the collision. Understand that in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, the law governing negligence cases is limited by the affirmative defense of “contributory negligence.” That means the defendant’s insurance company will not make any payments at all, for property damage or other claims, until it accepts that its driver is solely responsible for causing the collision.

The benefits of using the defendant’s insurance are the lack of deductible. The car should be repaired at a shop of your choice, and everything will be paid by the defendant’s insurance company. No deductible. The drawback of using the defendant’s insurance is that the investigation can, and usually does, take more than a couple of days. While the defendant’s insurance company conducts its investigation, your car sits.