If you’ve been in a car accident, one of the hassles you may have to deal with is diminished value. This is the amount of value your vehicle loses after a collision.
Getting an estimate isn’t as simple as eyeballing the damage. Since the auto insurance company may have to cover the repair cost for the damaged vehicle, the adjusters will want an appraisal done to determine how much value was lost.
This is where a diminished value claim can get complicated. The insurance company often isn’t interested in reimbursing you for the maximum difference of the value lost after a wreck. They will try to get around this by offering diminished value calculators and in-house appraisers to evaluate the damage to your car.
However, it’s a good idea to hire an independent, third-party appraisal expert or auto mechanic to determine the extent of the damage and diminished value for your vehicle.
If you’re struggling with the insurance company and don’t feel like they are offering a fair amount for your diminished value claim, contact our Atlanta car accident lawyers for a second opinion.
How Is Diminished Value Determined?
Collisions reduce the value of a vehicle, regardless of the quality of the repairs. This is because car buyers are less likely to buy a vehicle that’s been in an accident compared to an identical vehicle that hasn’t.
The diminished value represents the amount of money a person could have expected to receive when selling their vehicle had an accident not occurred. This is why it is so vital to get an accurate and fair estimate for diminished value after a car accident.
For example, an appraiser examines the property damage to your car, which was estimated to be worth $20,000 before the accident. They determine that the vehicle lost $2,500 in value. Adding in the cost of repairing the vehicle, you would submit the total amount of the diminished car value to the insurance company.
Filing a Diminished Value Claim
Most people don’t know about Georgia’s diminished value law, inadvertently allowing the insurance companies to keep the money car accident victims are owed.
The at-fault driver and their insurance company should be held liable to repay the vehicle’s loss in monetary value. But they won’t offer to pay for the diminished value of a damaged vehicle unless you, the claimant, ask.
Insurers won’t bring it up if a claimant doesn’t bring it up. It’s up to you to know about this obscure law and act on it.
Ask your insurance company about your car’s diminished value damages at the start of the claims process. Under Georgia law, you have the right to claim the money you will likely lose due to the vehicle’s depreciation in value if and when you decide to sell.
Low-quality repairs can also diminish a vehicle’s worth, qualifying you for even greater compensation after a collision.
Once you’ve done a diminished value appraisal of your vehicle and other future losses, take this sum to the at-fault person’s insurance company. Make sure it’s listed as part of the damages you are seeking as part of your claim.
Once this is done, you must wait for the insurance company to review your claim and either accept or deny the amount asked for.
Does Your Vehicle Qualify for a Diminished Value Recovery?
There are minimum criteria a vehicle should meet if our law firm helps file for a diminished value claim in Georgia. To qualify for compensation, it’s preferable a vehicle have:
- significant market value ($7,000+);
- more than $500 in property damage;
- low-to-normal mileage;
- a clean title;
- and/or be less than 10 years old.
Whether or not your vehicle fits within these specifications though, it is still a good idea to file a claim within the statute of limitations. The insurance company is required by law to pay for the diminished value of your vehicle. Failure to do so may indicate they are acting in bad faith.
What If You’re At-Fault for the Wreck?
It does not matter who is at fault for the car accident when it comes to a diminished value claim. Even if you are found at fault, you can still pursue a claim against your insurance company.
If someone else caused the wreck, you can pursue the claim against their company. Either way, if your car is wrecked and repaired, you have a diminished value claim and should pursue it.
How a Diminished Value Attorney Can Help
In addition to filing personal injury claims on behalf of injured victims, our Atlanta car accident lawyers also assist with diminished value claims.
Don’t settle for less than what the property damage and repairs to your car are worth. Even if the insurance companies offer you compensation, it may not be an accurate estimate.
Contact our legal team today regarding your diminished value claim at (770) 934-8000. We’d be happy to answer any concerns or questions you may have regarding your accident and rights during a free consultation.