Property Damage

Being injured in an accident is a traumatic event. You may sustain severe injuries that require prolonged medical care and time away from work. You expect the party who caused your injuries to pay your medical bills and reimburse you for lost wages and other economic damages. Property damage is a type of economic loss that often accompanies a personal injury.

Property damage claims can be settled separately from personal injury claims as you continue to receive medical care and heal from your injuries.

Important things to know about property damage claims in Florida include:

The Two Types of Property for Property Damage Claims

The Two Types of Property for Property Damage Claims

The most common type of property involved in personal injury cases is personal property or chattel. Personal property includes motor vehicles, cell phones, jewelry, furniture, and other movable items.

The other type of property is real property. Real property is land and items attached permanently to the land, such as homes, garages, and buildings.

When someone causes damage to your property, you can receive compensation for the damage by filing a property damage claim.

How Do You Calculate the Value of a Property Damage Claim in Orlando, FL?

The general rule for calculating the value of a property damage claim is to determine the cost to repair, restore, or replace the property or the reduction in the property’s market value.

The reduction in market value equals the difference between the value of the item before the damage and the value of the item after the damage. Do not accept the insurance adjuster’s valuation of your property. Instead, verify the value through independent appraisals.

What Is the Sentimental Value Exception in a Property Damage Case in Florida?

Some types of property might have sentimental value to the owner. If so, they might be able to justify a different value for the property if they can prove the property has sentimental value to them.

Proving sentimental value requires you to:

  • Prove the property is special to you; and,
  • There is no measurable way to determine the market value for the property’s sentimental value, OR,
  • Limiting the property’s value to its market value would be patently unfair. 

For example, let’s assume your watch is damaged in a slip-and-fall accident. Typically, the law would state that the watch’s value is the cost to repair/replace the watch or the reduction in its market value.

However, suppose the watch has been passed down in your family for generations. The sentimental value of the watch is priceless. Therefore, you may argue that the value of the watch is more than the cost of replacing the watch.

Proving Another Party Is Responsible for Property Damages in a Personal Injury Case in Florida

Several legal causes of action exist for property damage claims, including damage caused by theft, conversion, or trespass. However, most property damage claims related to personal injuries are negligence-based.

Establishing negligence for a property damage claim requires you to have evidence that establishes the following:

  • The party who damaged your property owed you a legal duty of care
  • The party breached the duty of care because they failed to meet a standard of care or use a reasonable level of care
  • The breach of duty proximately and directly caused the damage to your property
  • You sustained damages because of the party’s breach of duty

The level of care a party must exercise depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. An Orlando personal injury lawyer investigates the cause of the damage to gather evidence and build a case for economic and non-economic damages.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Property Damage Claims in Florida?

A statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a lawsuit. Florida changed the statute of limitations for negligence claims as of March 24, 2023. The change shortened the time to file a claim based on negligence from four years to two years.

Therefore, if your accident occurred on or after March 24, 2023, the deadline to file a property damage claim related to negligence is two years. However, the circumstances in your case and exceptions to the statute of limitations could change that date.

We strongly recommended speaking with an Orlando personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Failing to file a claim before the deadline expires could result in the court dismissing your lawsuit without considering whether you have a valid legal claim for property damages.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With a Property Damage Claim

A member of our legal team at Norden Leacox Accident & Injury Law, such as our Orlando personal injury lawyers or our Melbourne personal injury lawyers can help you with a claim after an accident or other personal injury situation. Contact an attorney to learn about the compensation you could be entitled to for property damages and other losses. Call us today at (407)-801-3000