Property Damage 101: Louisiana

So you’ve been in a car accident and your vehicle is damaged. Now what? Well, you have several options based on the condition of your vehicle.

If you have the liable party’s insurance information, you can contact them to set up a claim. Many times, the insurance company will not accept liability and begin the property damage process until after they receive an accident report and have spoken to their insured. This can cause delays in getting your vehicle repaired.


If your vehicle is not drivable, you may want to get a jump on the adjustment of your property damage.

You can either contact your own insurance company to begin the process of assessing the vehicle’s damages under your collision policy or you can contact the at-fault party’s insurance company if you have that information. Sometimes if the at-fault insurance company has not determined fault, this will delay your repairs. You may have to use your own collision policy to get the ball rolling. Don’t worry, your insurance company will attempt to get their money back from at at-fault party’s carrier. It’s ok to go through your own policy.

Warning – You have a duty to mitigate your damages in Louisiana. In other words, you cannot let your vehicle rack up weeks of storage fees if you have the ability to remove the vehicle or have your collision policy take care of it. Don’t wait too long to act.


As long as the vehicle is roadworthy, you can continue to drive your vehicle while you wait for the other person’s insurance company to determine liability. Just note, this can sometimes be a long process. You could be waiting awhile.


If your car is in the shop or totaled, you are going to need a rental to get around. Louisiana provides that you are entitled to loss of use for a reasonable period of time. What is a reasonable period of time? Who knows – there is much disagreement here. Usually its until your vehicle has been repaired or until an offer is made if your vehicle is totaled. It should be for at least a week longer from the date you receive a check, but insurance companies often do not agree.

You can either go through the at-fault insurance company to provide a rental to you (if liability has been determined) or you can elect to go through your own insurance company if you have a rental policy. Just note: your insurance carrier will usually not provide a rental unless you also allow them to begin the property damage claim under your collision policy.

Also be aware, you will need a credit card in order to rent a vehicle, even if the vehicle is being paid for by an auto insurance company.

If the insurance company fails to provide a rental to you, you can always be reimbursed for loss of use during the time your vehicle is not operable.


This is easy. Anywhere you want. You do not have to take your vehicle to the body shop recommended by the insurance company. In fact, my rule of thumb is – don’t take your vehicle to any of the repair shops recommended by any insurance company. That usually means they have a contract with that body shop and the body shop may make efforts to save the insurance company money by lessening your damages or using used parts. Find an independent body shop you trust.


So the insurance company told you that you are not entitled to diminished value. THEY LIED! In Louisiana you are entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle after the repairs are completed. You need to get a diminished value report from your body shop. If your body shop does not provide reports, there are companies in Louisiana and nationally who do. Stand your ground! You are entitled to diminished value. Don’t let the insurance company bully you.

AND AS ALWAYS – HIRE A LAWYER. At Cashio Injury Attorneys, we do not take a fee on property damages as long as we are handling your injury claim.