Property Damage

Suppose someone else’s misconduct damages or destroys your property. In that case, you probably have the right to sue them for monetary damages or file a third-party claim against their liability insurance company. Under just the right circumstances–you were injured by a defective product, for example–you can win your claim without even proving that the defendant committed any misconduct.

Property Damage Incident to Personal Injury Claims

Much of the time, a property damage claim arises hand in hand with a personal injury claim. In other cases, property damage is independent of personal injury. 

The following are some examples of property damage claims:

  • Vehicle damage from car accidents
  • Damage to personal belongings in a vehicle
  • Collision damage to bicycles
  • Property damage from slip and fall incidents (e.g., broken glasses)
  • Vandalism linked to criminal assaults
  • Fire damage to real estate, fixtures, and personal property 
  • Structural damage to homes from vehicle collisions 
  • Landscaping damage from vehicle accidents
  • Signage damage in commercial property incidents
  • Window damage from various types of accidents
  • Damage to art and collectibles during personal injury events such as arson
  • Damage to medical aids (e.g., glasses, prosthetics)
  • Food spoilage due to appliance failures linked to negligent maintenance and food poisoning
  • Damage to boats in marina incidents
  • Environmental damage to property (e.g., chemical spills) resulting from accidents

Courts tend to seek to resolve related personal injury and property damage claims together for the sake of efficiency.


Insurance companies pay out most property damage claims. Below are some of the most commonly used insurance policies:

Automobile Insurance

The following auto insurance is available in Georgia:

  • Mandatory automobile property damage liability insurance (minimum $25,000 coverage per accident)
  • Supplemental automobile liability insurance (any coverage limit exceeding $25,000 per accident)
  • Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle from a collision with another vehicle or an object, regardless of fault.
  • Comprehensive insurance coverage for damage to your car from non-collision events, such as theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.
  • Umbrella insurance provides additional liability coverage beyond the limits of the policyholder’s standard auto, homeowners, and other insurance policies.
  • Uninsured motorist insurance covers injuries to you and your passengers caused by an accident with an at-fault driver who lacks liability insurance.
  • Underinsured motorist insurance provides protection when the policyholder is involved in an accident with a driver whose liability limits are too low to cover your claim.
  • Gap insurance covers the difference between the actual cash value of your vehicle and the balance you still owe the bank in case of theft or total loss.

Insurance policy limits can impact the amount you receive for your property damage claim. 

Homeowner’s Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance coverage varies, but coverage frequently includes:

  • Expenses for temporary housing if your home becomes uninhabitable.
  • Damage from explosions, falling objects, fire and smoke, lightning, ice, windstorms, or hail.
  • Theft and vandalism.

Check your policy language carefully because coverage varies from policy to policy.

Valuation of Property

Courts use a variety of methods to determine the value of a property damage claim, depending on the circumstances,   

These methods include:

  • Fair market value
  • Cost of repair
  • Replacement cost
  • Depreciation
  • Diminished value even after repairs

In some cases, a court might take sentimental value into consideration 

Types of Claims

Property damage claims come in at least three different varieties–negligence, product liability, and intentional torts.  

Negligence Claims

To win a property damage claim based on negligence, you must prove the following:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care with respect to your property. This might not apply, for example, if you parked your car in the middle of the road.
  • The defendant breached their duty of care by colliding with your car after running a red light, for example.
  • Your property suffered damages.
  • The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate and actual cause of the damage to your property.

You qualify for compensation if you can prove all four of these elements   

Product Liability Claims

To win a property damage claim based on product liability, you must prove the following:

  • You suffered property damage 
  • The product in question contained a design defect, a manufacturing defect, or an inadequate warnings defect 
  • The product’s defect rendered it unreasonably dangerous.
  • The product’s defect caused the property damage.
  • The product was used as intended by the manufacturer.

Your claim for damages can include the value of the defective product itself 

Intentional Torts

Examples of intentional torts involving property damages include:

  • An intentional traffic accident caused by road rage
  • Vandalism
  • Arson

Victims sometimes win punitive damages in intentional tort cases.

The Statute of Limitations

In Georgia, you usually have four years to file a property damage lawsuit. In some cases, you can extend this deadline. It is crucial to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure you comply with the applicable deadlines. 

Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer Regarding Your Property Damage Claim

There is no need for you to simply swallow a loss of property when that loss was caused by somebody else. You can and should fight back. A skilled property damage lawyer at Hawk Law Group will have the resources and skills you need to pursue full compensation. Schedule a free consultation here or give us a call at 706-722-3500.