Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | February 15, 2021
In a diminished value accident claim, the claimant seeks compensation for the reduced value of their property. In most cases, the piece of property in question is a vehicle.
To determine diminished value, a lawyer subtracts the current value of the vehicle from the vehicle’s value prior to the car accident. The difference represents the car’s total diminished value.
Your car will diminish in value regardless of whether or not you have it repaired. The CarFax report on your vehicle will register the collision, leading to a decrease in value. This leaves an insurance provider on the hook for the costs associated with the value that your property lost because of an accident.
Oftentimes, insurance companies resist covering this element of a property damage claim, especially if the person filing the claim does not specifically ask for this value to be covered.
In the following post, we will examine the requirements for filing a diminished value claim in Georgia. We will also discuss the role that a personal injury attorney can play in your case when diminished value is present.
Requirements for Georgia Diminished Value Claims
In Georgia, insurance companies must compensate you for the diminished value of your property following an accident, but claimants must also meet certain qualifications to be able to claim this compensation.
If you are considering filing a diminished value claim, speak with an attorney. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney will give you the highest likelihood of success.
In order to qualify for a diminished value claim in Georgia, you must meet the conditions below.
Age and Market Value of Your Vehicle
Your vehicle must have a market value of at least $7,000 and be less than ten years old to qualify for a diminished value claim.
Your vehicle cannot have a rebuilt or salvaged title and still qualify for this benefit.
When a vehicle has excessive mileage, it does not qualify for a diminished value claim. Those vehicles with more than 30,000 miles per year are considered to have “excessive mileage.”
If your vehicle has been involved in more than one crash that resulted in extensive damage, your claim may be dismissed.
Release of Liability
Your claim may be disqualified if you have ever signed a release of liability form.
Speak with a qualified personal injury attorney to calculate the diminished value of your property and to ensure that you qualify under Georgia law.
Statute of Limitations
Every state has laws on the books that set time limits for different types of legal actions. These time limits are known as statutes of limitations. Under Georgia law, the statute of limitations on diminished value claims is four years.
There are some exceptions to the four-year statute of limitations. For instance, the statute of limitations may be extended if:
- The at-fault party was outside of the state for any portion of the four-year period
- The claimant is legally determined to be incompetent due to a mental illness
- The claimant is under 18 at the time of the accident or incident.
You should consult with a personal injury lawyer to determine the amount of time that you have to file a claim in your particular case.
When a claimant seeks compensation for the diminished value of their property after the statute of limitations has passed, the case will likely be dismissed. It is important to speak with a legal professional as soon as possible following your accident to make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.
Dealing with Uncooperative Insurance Companies
When claimants need to file a diminished value accident claim, they are likely to face opposition from the insurance provider. Georgia state law requires insurance companies to cover the costs of diminished value even in cases where the claimant is at fault for the accident. However, insurance companies will use a range of tactics to undervalue or attempt to dismiss your claim.
For instance, the insurance company may argue that your claim does not qualify or that your claim is worth much less than you are asking. Insurance adjusters are experienced in negotiating with claimants. They have many strategies to intimidate or manipulate you, unless you have experienced legal representation on your side.
Sometimes, insurance providers will simply refuse to pay your diminished value claim because they assume you will not pursue the matter further. If your insurance company refuses to pay, you may have grounds for a bad faith insurance lawsuit.
When you call a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, you are much more likely to recover an appropriate amount of financial compensation. This is true whether your claim is resolved through negotiations or through filing a lawsuit.
What is the Amount of the Average Diminished Value Claim?
Because each accident is different and vehicle valuation involves subjective elements, there is no single standard amount that a diminished value claim is worth. There are a number of diminished value calculators online, but these are rarely as helpful as speaking with a legal professional can be.
One thing is certain: Insurance providers are very likely to offer much less than your claim is actually worth. Some have estimated that insurance companies typically offer around 10% of the actual value of the claim. Because of this, it is crucial to have someone with legal experience to negotiate on your behalf.
Additionally, a diminished value claim is likely to yield a higher recovery if you were hurt during your accident. This is true whether you are in the negotiations stage or are ready to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
Securing the services of an experienced attorney will help you to get the maximum amount for your diminished value claim. It is important to have a legal professional to negotiate on your behalf. This shows uncooperative insurance providers that you mean business.
If you are seeking compensation for the diminished value of your vehicle, consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Do not let tightfisted insurance adjusters deny you the money you are due.