With roughly 210 million licensed drivers cruising around the United States, it is not surprising that over 15,000 of them are involved in vehicle accidents every day. Often, accidents may have devastating effects to drivers and passengers, however, even if nobody is physically injured in a vehicle accident, it is important to know that the participants may still have suffered a financial injury involving their vehicle, known as diminished value.
If you have been involved in a collision in which your vehicle has been damaged and then repaired, diminished value is the difference between a car’s pre-accident value and its value after the repairs. Even if your vehicle is expertly repaired, with no signs of damage, the fact that it has a damage history or is considered a vehicle that has been in an accident, will make its resale value lower in the eyes of prospective buyer.
However, there is a way in which to recover the diminished value of your vehicle. A diminished value claim is when you request an amount of money from an insurance company to compensate you for the difference between your car’s value before an accident and its value after an accident. In some cases, this value may amount to thousands of dollars for newer vehicles.
Each state has their individual diminished value laws. California, Arizona and Colorado are all diminished value states, which means that you may be entitled to the diminished value of your vehicle following an accident. The time period in which you must file a claim in order to bring a diminished value claim, or be barred from doing so, in Arizona and Colorado is two years, while in California it is three years.
Steps in a Diminished Value Claim
In most states, if you are at fault for the accident, it is unlikely that you will be able to recover the diminished value of your vehicle. However, if you are not at fault for the accident, the first thing that you should do when pursuing a diminished value claim is speak with an experienced attorney.
An experienced attorney, like the ones at Negretti & Associates, will work closely with dedicated vehicle appraisers who can help to determine the amount of loss you will incur and the amount of the claim against the insurance company. Insurance companies do not like paying for diminished value claims and will do everything they can to make it difficult for you to recover. Many insurance companies save millions of dollars each year because accident victims do not know that they have the option of filing a diminished value claim.
You typically do not have the right to recover for a diminished value loss through your own insurance company. This applies even when they repair your vehicle. Therefore, it is extremely important that you put your own insurance company on notice of your intent to pursue a diminished value claim against the at-fault party. If you do not do this, you could lose out on the property limits that are available to cover your loss.
Consequently, you will be making a diminished value claim through the at-fault party’s insurance company. Diminished value claims can be very difficult to establish, so a professional evaluation from an appraiser that specializes in diminished value insurance loss is essential. When evaluating your vehicle, an appraiser may look at things such as: what type of damage did the vehicle sustain, the condition and mileage of the vehicle prior to the accident, was the vehicle repaired to industry standards and has the vehicle been involved in other accidents.
Additionally, a trade-in value in writing from the dealership that you purchased the vehicle from can also help support your diminished value claim. It is important to know, that in order to establish your vehicles diminished value, you do not have to sell your vehicle; the loss to you occurs at the time of the accident.
It is also helpful to take photos of each angle of your vehicle after the accident. These photos can be used as evidence to help establish the damage done to your vehicle. It is also important to take photos of your vehicle after the accident to establish that your vehicle has been restored to its original condition.
Once your attorney has the pertinent information, they will begin negotiations with the at-fault insurance company. As mentioned above, diminished value claims are insurance companies unchecked lottery tickets, saving them millions of dollars a year. Consequently, it may be very difficult negotiating with an insurance company regarding your diminished value claim making it very important that you contact an experienced attorney. The experienced attorneys at Negretti & Associates work with top industry appraisers and will fight for you as we pursue your diminished value loss.