Plaintiff may recover compensatory damages for personal property loss proximately caused by defendant’s negligent or otherwise wrongful act or omission. If the property is completely destroyed or beyond repair, damages are usually based on the fair market value at time of destruction (i.e., just prior to the tortious event). If the damage falls short of destruction (i.e., property can be repaired), there are basically two alternative measures of damages: the cost of repairs, or the difference in the property’s value before and after the accident. “Cost of repairs” is appropriate only if there is no defense contention that such measure would exceed the property’s depreciation in value. Plaintiff has paid the cost of repairs, the bills and cancelled checks can be introduced as evidence of the loss sustained and the amount of damages that should be awarded. Alternatively, if the property has not yet been repaired, written repair estimates from a qualified source can be used as evidence of the repair costs which will be incurred in the future. It would be best to seek personal assistance from a lawyer in order to guide you in filing a personal injury claim.
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