Recovery of Auto accident property damages in Texas

In our last two blog entries, we have discussed measures of valuating damages in Texas auto accident cases including market value and replacement value . Again, these types of discussions are not limited to car wrecks – these forms of damages are applicable in any claim for damages to personal property.

The third category of valuation damages is the actual or intrinsic value to the owner, which is a type of damages that is only applicable where market or replacement value cannot be calculated. For example, property that provided for the comfort and well-being of the owner does not have market value, but may have intrinsic value. Common examples of items with actual or intrinsic value are clothing, furniture, and photo albums.

As you can probably conclude, actual or intrinsic value is generally not used to measure damages in auto accident cases, unless there are some very unique circumstances. Intrinsic value is the value of the property to the owner, excluding sentimental value (another category of damages we will cover later on). The actual value of an item is not restricted to the item’s market value at the time of loss. Basically, it’s incredibly difficult to put a market or replacement valuation on household goods, clothing, and personal effects. For example, in one case a Texas court ruled that damages to the contents of a mobile home do not need to be based on market value.

To prove actual / intrinsic value, the injured party will testify about the value of the damaged property as the owner. Generally, various forms of evidence can be introduced to clarify the property’s value including its condition before the damaging event, the original cost, age, level of use , cost of replacement, and possibly experts.

A San Antonio negligence attorney will actually state in the petition for damages that market and replacement value measures of value will not adequately compensate an injured plaintiff. Generally, courts do not require an injured party to prove household goods, clothing, and personal effects have no market value.

What is interesting is the ever rising use of online auction sites like Ebay . The idea that somehow household goods, clothing, and personal effects may not have market value or a replacement value may be going the way of the dinosaur. An experienced Texas injury lawyer will confer with his clients about the prices certain household goods may be fetching on these online auction sites.


The final category of valuation damages is sentimental value, the fallback where market value, replacement value , and actual value do not apply. Keep in mind that sentimental value takes into account the owner’s special feelings about the items. Examples of damaged property for which Texas courts have allowed the recovery of sentimental value include family heirlooms, items belonging to grandparents or earlier generations, pictures, birth records, trophies, and wedding pictures. Baseluos Law Firm will confer about the client’s sentimental feelings and put the opposing party on notice that the plaintiff will be seeking sentimental damages.

Proving sentimental value rests in demonstrating the property had special value as an heirloom. Sentimental value is not an appropriate measure of damages for household goods or clothing. To prove sentimental value, the owner would testify about the item as an heirloom and give a jury a proposed dollar figure. The plaintiff does not have to prove that heirlooms have no market value.

In the last three blog entries, we have discussed the various subcategories of valuation damages including market value, replacement value, actual / intrinsic value, and sentimental value. In our next blog, we will focus on a separate category of personal property damages – repair damages which encompasses cost of repair and loss of use.

Keep in mind that valuation damages can be awarded only if the property is entirely destroyer or partially damaged – these damages work in auto accidents. Repair damages are only applicable if the property is partially damaged and capable of being repaired.

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