One aspect of property damage claims that often gets overlooked is the diminished value, sometimes known as “diminution of value of the vehicle.” Diminished value is the difference in a vehicle’s monetary worth before and after an accident.
In some cases, this includes a loss of value after repairs have been made. All of us generally accept the notion that a vehicle—even one with quality repairs—is just not worth as much, solely because it was in a car accident. A car accident attorney can explain what you need to know about diminished value and how it could affect your compensation claim.
When Can I Get Compensated for Diminished Value?
First, whether you can get compensated for diminished value depends on where the accident occurred, the related statutes, and the loss of worth you experienced. For example, Louisiana is a diminished value state. Therefore, if your car was damaged in a crash in this state, you may be able to recover compensation for the diminished value of your vehicle.
Determining how much you could recover requires understanding more about diminished value and the applicable law. In general, diminished value is the difference in a vehicle’s value from before the auto accident and its value through the repair process. There are several types of diminished value:
Immediate Diminished Value
One type of diminished value comes from the difference in the vehicle’s resale value from immediately before the accident compared to immediately after the damage, before the repair. This type is known as “immediate diminished value,” and it is not as common as other types of damage valuation.
Inherent Diminished Value
Even if your vehicle received quality repairs, it might still be subject to “inherent diminished value” simply because the car now has a history of significant damage. Vehicles damaged in collisions can be prone to faster deterioration and additional issues in the future.
Repair-Related Diminished Value
If your car or truck received less-than-optimal repairs, it might still have imperfections or defects due to the accident and repair process. These cases fall under “repair-related diminished value.”
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How do I Show the Amount of Diminution in Value?
The recoverable amount in a diminished value claim will depend on the vehicle’s decrease in resale value. You could use resources such as the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) handbook or Kelley Blue Book to learn the car’s value before the crash.
Then, you must determine the car’s current value. One option is to obtain a letter from a car salesman or certified mechanic. This letter should state that they examined the repaired vehicle and—based on their experience—determined that the car now has a lesser value solely because of the accident and repairs. They can also provide an estimate of the vehicle’s new, lower value.
Claiming Diminished Value in Your Car Accident Case
Most states allow you to file a claim for these damages with the other person’s auto liability insurance to recover diminished value. However, this generally isn’t possible through a collision claim under your own policy.
This is because claims against the other person’s insurance are based on tort principles that require them to compensate you for all your damages. On the other hand, a collision claim is based on your contract with your insurer—most of these contracts exclude diminished value.
You also will not receive these damages automatically, as you will need to prove they exist and their value. This process can be difficult, but recovering diminished value can make a big difference in a property damage claim. This is particularly true with very new vehicles where the decrease in value may be significant.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help with Your Claim
If you suffered injuries in a collision and need help fighting the insurer for compensation, a car accident lawyer can help. They can:
- Gather the necessary documents to prove your damages, including diminished vehicle value, medical bills, and lost wages
- Determine the value of your case
- Build a claim to file with the insurer and handle all communication
- Fight for the financial recovery you need
Most personal injury law firms provide free consultations and work based on contingency fees, meaning you will not need to pay anything upfront. Instead, the attorney will get paid from the compensation they secure based on the facts of your case. You can learn more about this arrangement during your free initial consultation.
Speak with Morris Bart, LLC for Free Today
If you were in a car accident, the Morris Bart law firm attorneys will review your case for free and go through what you need to know about diminished value. Our firm serves clients in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. We can evaluate the circumstances of your injury or property damage crash and explain your options.
We may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve based on the facts of your case, but there isn’t much time to act. Call (800) 537-8185 today to connect with one of our attorneys near you.
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