Picture this scenario: You were hit by another driver and were fortunate enough to walk away uninjured. Your car, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. The good news is, the other driver’s insurance company will cover the cost of the repairs. They’ll even give you a rental car in the interim. In the end, you’ll get your vehicle back, virtually good as new.
There’s just one problem: The market value of your car has diminished in the process. Even though the damage has been fixed, potential buyers can view your auto’s accident history through consumer websites like Carfax, and chances are, they’ll pay much less than they otherwise would have had your vehicle never been in a collision.
What can you do to recoup the value you’ve lost? And how can a Morgan & Morgan attorney help?
What Is Diminished Value?
Diminished value is the perceived loss in value of an automobile following an accident, even after repairs have been made. If your car is damaged in a collision, its history of damage will lower its resale value in the eyes of prospective buyers.
There are three types of diminished value:
- Immediate: The disparity in value from before the accident to after repairs have been made.
- Inherent: The car has been restored to its original condition as closely as possible but is now considered a vehicle that’s been in an accident.
- Repair-Related: The value lost following an accident due to poor repair work.
Can I Claim Diminished Value?
If your car suffered damage in an accident due to another driver’s error, you can claim diminished value. Typically, diminished value claims are brought against either the at-fault driver or their insurance company. You can claim diminished value if:
- The accident was not your fault
- You own or finance the vehicle
- The vehicle was not totaled
How Do I Prove Diminished Value?
Proving these claims can be challenging. While prospective buyers are generally wary of cars that have been in collisions, quantifying how much less a buyer would be willing to pay can be tricky. In addition, certain states have special rules for diminished value claims. For example, some states might require an expert appraiser to testify about the amount of value lost. Other states might require drivers to sell the vehicle to “realize the loss” before making a claim.
Because diminished value claims are complex, it’s important that you consult with an attorney who has expertise in these matters. You’ll want to know:
- How much value the vehicle has lost
- What to do if the insurance company underestimates the value of the car
- Whether it’s worth bringing a claim against the at-fault driver
Contact a Diminished Value Claim Lawyer
Navigating diminished value claims can be difficult. It’s important that you hire a highly skilled attorney to guide you through each step of the process. At Morgan & Morgan, our legal experts can evaluate your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome. To get started, schedule a free case evaluation now.