If your vehicle was damaged in an accident, you could file a diminished value claim with an insurance company to receive compensation. The process involves obtaining an estimate for your car’s value before and after the accident and including that information in your claim. The insurance company will then review the claim. Having strong evidence of diminished value can prevent a claim from being denied. Our car accident lawyers can help you build your case.
How Diminished Value Works in Georgia
All cars depreciate in value—the more time you have and use a vehicle, the less it is worth. However, an accident decreases the value of a car beyond normal depreciation due to the damage. Even with repairs, having an accident in the vehicle’s history can make buyers wary.
To address this issue, you can file specifically to receive compensation for the reduced value of your car caused by the crash. Georgia allows drivers to pursue compensation from those 50 percent or more at fault for a collision (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33). You could therefore file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance for diminished value.
Why Should You File a Diminished Value Claim?
Accident victims may not even realize they can file to receive reimbursement for the diminished value of their vehicle. Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible, so some adjusters won’t bring up the option, instead focusing on compensating you for the physical damage to your car as well as your injuries.
Nonetheless, the loss of value to your car is a consequence of the accident—your vehicle would be worth more if this crash hadn’t happened. For that reason, you deserve acknowledgment of your loss from the liable party.
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Obtain an Estimate of Your Car’s Value
You undoubtedly got or will get an estimate for the damage done to your car by the crash. Diminished value claims require a different kind of estimate—which actually comprises two parts, before-crash and after-crash value—to show what you have lost.
You can utilize several resources to determine the value of your car before it was damaged. One of the most popular is Kelly Blue Book. You can also use online calculators from Edmunds or the National Automobile Dealer’s Association (NADA). Each uses different criteria for determining value, so take that into account.
You can also research on your own, looking at listings and quotes in your area to gather more information. NerdWallet also gives recommendations including in your estimate any modifications you’ve made to your vehicle; those investments matter.
The mechanic who works on your vehicle will likely be able to tell you the decrease in value caused by the accident since they are intimately aware of the damage. You can then use this information to file your diminished value claim in Georgia.
Insurance companies usually have shops they recommend for estimates and repairs but do your own research. You are allowed to look for your own shop, check reviews, and even get a second estimate after visiting an insurance company-approved shop.
Talk to the Insurance Company About Your Claim
Once you have the evidence and info you need, you can include diminished value in your overall claim for damages. The adjuster on your claim will then be responsible for reviewing it and hopefully approving a settlement.
Don’t be surprised if there’s negotiation or even attempts to lowball you. An adjuster’s job is to close a claim quickly and with as little cost to the company as possible. Remember that you always have a right to think over any offers, review terms, and seek legal counsel.
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Consult a Car Accident Lawyer for Additional Support
You don’t have to handle any aspect of this process alone. In fact, Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can join your case immediately after the crash. We can help you navigate getting estimates and filling out your claim, as well as dealing with insurance adjusters. If you’re having trouble filing a diminished value claim or feel your claim was unfairly denied, consult our attorneys to discuss your options.
More than that, we can handle other aspects of your case after a collision. You should have less on your plate while dealing with injuries, so we work to lighten your load. Ways we can support you include:
- Helping you obtain medical care and car repairs
- Filing claims and other paperwork
- Explaining policy and settlement terms
- Investigating the accident
- Identifying all liable parties
- Reviewing and negotiating offers
- Communicating with everyone involved
- Taking your case to court if needed
With each step, we keep you up to date on any changes or progress. With us, you never have to wonder where your case stands.
Learn More About Filing Diminished Value Claims in Georgia
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers offers personalized case evaluations for free. If you were involved in a car accident and think you should be compensated for the loss of value to your car, contact our team today. We can explain the process, build a strong claim, and fight for proper compensation.