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Diminished Value Car Accident Lawyers in New York
If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident in New York, you may think that handling the insurance companies seems like an uphill battle. It’s difficult to determine what you’re entitled to, particularly if it’s the first insurance claim you’ve had the misfortune of dealing with.
One lesser known aspect of both auto accidents and insurance claims is the principle of “diminished value.” In this guide, we’re going to explore your rights following a car accident and how diminished value claims can benefit you when recuperating loss following a car crash.
New York Auto Insurance: The Basics
In the state of New York, every driver is required to carry minimum auto insurance coverage. In order to legally register and drive a vehicle, it must be covered by at least:
- $10,000 in property damage per accident
- $25,000 in personal injury and $50,000 in the case of death for a person
- $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people
These coverages fit under the category of “liability insurance."
Again, this is a minimum for New York insurance. You may also choose to carry comprehensive, collision or other coverages. Some drivers even add “extras” such as roadside assistance and vehicle rental reimbursement. Choose the insurance that’s best for you; you and your representative can review your options together.
Interestingly, New York is one of only twelve no-fault insurance states. That means that, no matter who is to blame for an accident, the insured is covered by their own insurance company. Compare this to other states, where the liability insurance of the person at fault covers the other involved party.
What Is Diminished Value?
When you’re involved in an accident in New York, there are basic expenses that will be covered by your insurance company. Medical bills, death expenses, emergency transport and property damage are examples of coverages that may be included in your policy.
We mentioned that New York is a no-fault state, and your insurance company will reimburse you for the injuries and damages you and your vehicle have sustained. However, one overlooked form of compensation you may be eligible for is diminished value.
So what is the NY diminished value definition? Well, if you’re in a car crash, the insurance company of the driver who is ascertained to be at fault may be responsible for paying you additional money. This money is recovery for the post-repair residual diminished value to your car.
To put it another, simpler way, your car had a resale market value before your accident. Once the vehicle has been damaged in an accident, that market value decreases. This is the diminished value.
How to File a Diminished Value Claim in New York
Typically, drivers who have been involved in an accident simply file a letter with the insurance company asking for coverage of a diminished value vehicle. There are formulas used to determine this dollar amount; you can find online calculators or ask an insurance agent or tax adjuster for assistance.
Should the insurance company deny your claim, you have the right to take it to court. Your case will generally be heard in small claims court, and you may or may not need an attorney.
Before you file suit, however, we strongly recommend that you do, at the very least, seek the guidance of an attorney. There is an important reason for this: New York does not allow you to split your lawsuits regarding the same accident.
For instance, if you are filing both a personal injury lawsuit and a diminished value claim, these must be filed together. Scheduling a consultation with an attorney can greatly assist you in determining how best to pursue the compensation you’re entitled to.
How Much Is My Diminished Value Claim Worth?
You can calculate the diminished value of your vehicle by following a formula called 17c. This is what most insurance companies in the United States use.
First, determine the value of your vehicle. There are reputable agencies you can refer to to do this, including NADA, the National Automobile Dealer’s Association. The website will lead you through providing information about your vehicle, such as mileage, make, model, year and more.
Next, calculate 10 percent of that value. This is generally the cap, or the maximum, an insurance company will accept as your diminished value.
Third, determine your damage multiplier. An insurance adjuster or appraiser can help you with this, as the multiplier will vary based on the extent of the damage to your vehicle.
Finally, ascertain your mileage multiplier. This multiplier will vary depending upon your vehicle’s odometer. A brand new car with fewer than 10,000 miles will have a multiplier of 1.00, while a vehicle with over 100,000 miles will have a multiplier of 0.00.
Please note that no attorney can guarantee that an insurance company will pay this amount to you. This formula, however, offers a standard method of calculating the value of your diminished value claim.
If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident in New York, you likely have questions about your insurance, and about what you’re entitled to receive as compensation for damages to your vehicle. Quite simply, dealing with insurance companies can be daunting, particularly when you’re recovering from an accident.
Diminished value claims aren’t always straightforward. We’ve put together a list of the questions we are asked most frequently by our clients regarding diminished value claims, in order to better help you navigate the process.
Morgan & Morgan FAQs
Do I need to hire an attorney for my diminished value claim?
Car accidents are highly stressful events. They can cause both physical and emotional trauma, and it’s essential that you surround yourself with professionals.
Your first course of action, of course, is to care for your medical needs. Seek the counsel of a physician before you take any other steps, and be sure to keep medical records.
Next, we recommend scheduling a consultation with an experienced car accident attorney. During this consultation, you and your legal team will discuss whether filing suit for diminished value on your vehicle is the best course of action for your particular case.
Even if it’s determined that the value of your claim doesn’t warrant the stress of a legal battle, you’ll have the peace of mind that you sought the advice of professionals.
How much will I receive in compensation?
It must be stressed that no attorney can guarantee the outcome of a case. Furthermore, the compensation you are entitled to many vary greatly depending upon the damage to your vehicle and the specifics of your car.
We recommend you begin with the formula above, 17c, to gain rough insight into the value of your claim.
How do I determine the fair market value of my car?
In addition to checking with the NADA website, you may also check with other reputable agencies such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book. In some cases, it may be necessary to hire an insurance adjuster or a vehicle appraiser. This is especially true if your vehicle is an antique, vintage or other exceptional model.
Certain makes of vehicles may also warrant hiring an appraiser. For instance, newer models such as Teslas may be hard to value simply by filling out a form online.
Who do I contact to file my claim without an attorney?
Assuming you have no other claims or pending suits, such as a personal injury suit, you will need to contact the at-fault party’s insurance company. Be certain to exchange insurance information at the time of the accident.
If the insurance company denies your claim or sends you a “low-ball” offer, consider seeking assistance from experienced lawyers. Do not accept the offer until you speak with an attorney, as your acceptance will finalize it. You may be able to receive more reimbursement with the help of experienced lawyers.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after my accident?
In most cases, accident victims have three years to file a lawsuit following an automobile crash. With that said, it’s best to begin your claim as soon as possible. Caring for your health is most important, but once you’re able to effectively communicate with insurers and attorneys, it’s time to begin your claim.
If you live in New York and have been in an automobile accident, contact Morgan & Morgan. With decades of combined experience in auto accident claims, we can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us at 877-667-6149 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation today.