Property Damage – WTVM Legal Break with Gary Bruce

Injury & Accident Attorney Serving Nearby Areas of Columbus & Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama

Gary Bruce discusses property damage and bodily injury cases that often arise from a car wreck. These are two separate cases – one for the vehicle or property damage, which has a four year statute of limitations and separate case for your bodily injury, which has a two year statute of limitations. Any car wreck will involve property damage, but whether you’re hurt or not is another question. The bodily injury aspect of a case involves how an injury impacts one’s everyday life: the ability to do your job, complete everyday tasks, etc. Because pain and suffering damages are available for the bodily injury aspect of a case, many people believe that those same damages should attach to their personal property.

However, vehicles much like pets are treated as property by the law. The recovery in a property damage case is limited to the value of the property. If you have questions about how to handle a wreck involving both property damage and bodily injury, please call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce at 706-596-1446 or email to set up a meeting and a free, no obligation, confidential consultation.


Narrator: Now answering your questions about the law and legal issues this is Legal Break

Maureen: Maureen Akers here today with Gary. Gary, thanks so much for joining us again.

Gary: Good to be here again, thank you.

Maureen: Yes. We’re talking about legal issues and topics that are out there as, I guess, topics of conversation, or in the news. And this one involves property damage. So say someone has a case that involves property damage, and there’s possibly some bodily injury, how should that be handled, or how should those cases be handled?

Gary: Well, good question. Because any wreck will involve property damage. That’s kind of what it’s about. Whether you’re hurt or not, is another question. But they’re two different cases- so if your cars damaged, or your trucks damaged, or something’s damaged in your home, you can have that paid for, and not rush to make a decision about whether you’re injured. Because it doesn’t always show up immediately. We know it’s easy when somebody’s drug-out to the hospital we know that there’s some injury there, but sometimes things linger, or compound, or aggravate another condition. So we’re not always able to define those exactly at that time. But the law says you have two cases: ones for your car, and ones for your bodily injury. And there’s two statute of limitations for that: the car you actually have four years to make a claim for property, so if you’re- somebody runs over your fence, you’ve got four years to get that worked out, but if they run over you, you only have two years- and maybe less depending on circumstances, depending on who’s involved. So don’t take that as the absolute truth, but generally there are two different cases, so they don’t need to be mixed together.

Maureen: Yeah, well now let’s bring up the topic of pain and suffering, as it relates to all this too. Can you get pain and suffering for property – in conjunction with property damage?

Gary: Good question and it comes up when I see it. It’s like dealing with pets. Somebody’s run over your pet, so do you have pain and suffering for that? The answer is no, and you would think maybe you would, but you don’t in Georgia, it’s property. So what is the value of your pet, what is the value of your property, that’s the measure of damages there. Pain and suffering is a whole different deal, and valuing pain and suffering- it involves not just “ouch it hurts,” because if it hurts me to raise my arm over my head, I don’t raise my arm over head. But I have limitations on what I do. I mean there’s a list of- it’s really about the interference with your life: how does your life change? What limitations do you have? What fears do you have? What daily problems do you have? How does it compound your ability or your identity? If I lose my ability to practice law that it’s not just about money, it’s about who I am, and what I enjoy, and how I present myself, and we all have those kind of deals. So pain and suffering is a whole lot more nebulous, and difficult to define

Maureen: There’s a whole lot more involved there. Thank you so much for joining us today, Gary, on that question, and we look forward to seeing you on the very next, Legal Break.