Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | March 18, 2021
Imagine you are in a car accident. While no one was injured, your vehicle sustained significant damage. You do everything you are supposed to do. You get the other driver’s information, call the police, and answer all their questions when they arrive. Moreover, you get the car fixed as soon as possible.
You even get an offer from your insurance company to pay for the repair bill. But the story doesn’t end there.
A few months or years later, you decide you want to sell your car. You look at comparables and head to a dealer to see what they might offer for it. Unfortunately, after looking it over and running an accident history report, the dealer offers you several thousand dollars less than what you were expecting. What happened?
If your car was in an accident, a dealer or any other person will offer less money for your vehicle than a car with no accident history. A motor vehicle that has been in an accident is worth less than a comparable vehicle that has not been in one.
This concept is called diminished value. Diminished value is what happens to cars and other property after they are damaged in an accident. Generally speaking, even if a car is repaired and restored to working order, a potential buyer will not be willing to pay as much for a vehicle previously involved in an accident. The car has lost some of its pre-crash value even though it has been repaired.
The Georgia Supreme Court found that a vehicle that has been in an accident cannot be returned to its pre-crash value — even if expertly repaired. This is largely due to the prevalence of car history reports and the willingness of car buyers to use them.
So, if your vehicle was in a crash, it has suffered diminished value.
How to Seek Compensation for Diminished Value
An at-fault driver’s insurance company owes you the diminished value of your car after a wreck involving their insured. The insurance company typically pays this value in one lump sum check. Unfortunately, most car owners are unaware of diminished value and have no idea how to obtain this compensation. Insurance companies use this to their advantage and avoid discussing diminished value in their offers to repair a damaged vehicle.
The good news is that the tide is beginning to turn, and more and more drivers are successfully recovering money for diminished value. Still, seeking compensation for diminished value on your own is challenging. Insurance companies are skilled at making quick, lowball offers. They will make it seem like you aren’t covered, or your car isn’t eligible for compensation for diminished value.
A Skilled Lawyer Can Help You Get Compensation for Your Vehicle’s Diminished Value After a Crash
The key to making a successful case is hiring a qualified personal injury attorney specializing in car accident cases. A good personal injury lawyer will know how to communicate with your insurance company or another driver’s insurance company to demand compensation for diminished value.
Your lawyer will also argue you were not at fault for the accident and establish that your vehicle truly did suffer diminished value. Having a lawyer on your side after a traumatic event relieves much of the administrative burden from your shoulders, so you can focus on healing physically and emotionally.
Don’t settle with an insurance company on your own. Their offer represents the minimum they are willing to pay to make your case go away. Instead, hire a skilled personal injury attorney to go to work for you.