Your Vehicle's Diminished Value
Here’s the scenario: You are driving along in your two-year old mint condition Chevrolet Suburban when suddenly a negligent driver decides to turn left and BAM! There’s a collision. This event triggers three separate and distinct claims against that negligent driver: 1) Personal Injury, 2) Property Damage, and 3) Diminished Value. Everyone knows about the first two claims. It costs money to repair your car and it costs money to repair your injuries. But Diminished Value is a lesser-known aspect of the law.
Let’s define Diminished Value as it pertains to your newly damaged vehicle. Diminished Value is the difference in the value of your post-repair vehicle when compared with it’s value pre-accident. In other words, how much value has your car lost because it has been in an accident, even if the repairs were made by a qualified body shop?
Let’s say a dealership has two white 2013 Suburbans for sale with exact same options, both in very good condition. The only difference between the two is that one has been in an accident requiring $10,000 in repairs. How much less would that previously damaged car have to cost in order for you to pick it over the non-accident car? $1000? $4000? $8000? This is diminished value. When your $30,000 Sonata or 3-Series, or Explorer drops in value through no-fault of your own, that is a compensable claim. Some states do not recognize the claim. Some states have strict formulas that must be used. Some states require that you first sell the car in order for the claim to be valid. However, in Arizona, as long as you have an expert evaluate your vehicle and give his opinion regarding the loss in value, you have a valid claim.
Diminished value claims are only worth pursuing on newer vehicle with no prior accidents. The older the car, the less diminishment in value. These claims can be filed along side a personal-injury claim, or as stand-alone lawsuits. The insurance companies fight them hard. The last thing they want is to let this secret out into the open. The Rockafellow Law Firm will fight to get you paid for the diminished value of your vehicle. If you or someone you know has a diminished value claim, call the Rockafellow Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. The insurance companies are not going to voluntarily offer your money. You need an experienced lawyer to get the money you deserve.