If you were in an auto accident in Rehoboth, you could be entitled to compensation not only for your injuries but also for your property damage. While most insurance policies cover the cost of repairing your vehicle, some may allow you to recover the loss of value after those repairs. This is known as a diminished value claim.
A Rehoboth diminished value claim lawyer at Ged Lawyers could help you pursue compensation for the diminished value of your vehicle from the at-fault driver or their insurance company and navigate the complicated claims process.
What Is Diminished Value?
A claim for diminished value is different from your typical property damage claim. When an accident occurs due to negligence, you could be entitled to seek many different types of damages. One of those forms of compensation covers the damage your vehicle sustained.
Standard property damage claims provide you with the resources you need to either have your vehicle repaired or replaced entirely. The problem is that—even after a repair—your vehicle is unlikely to be worth the same amount that it was prior to the accident.
A diminished value claim is designed to cover the loss in value your vehicle experienced after the repair. While this type of claim was not always allowed, the law has recently changed in favor of diminished value cases, as the Massachusetts Division of Insurance (Mass. DIV) explains.
There Are Different Types of Diminished Value
The value of your vehicle can drop in different ways after an accident. Understanding each type of diminished value claim can be important if you intend to seek financial compensation. The legal team at Ged Lawyers could help you understand the type of claim you may qualify for.
Inherent Diminished Value
The most common type of diminished value claim is based on a vehicle’s inherent diminished value. It is related to the natural loss in value a vehicle experiences following an accident. Even if the vehicle is fully repaired, an accident on its history will lower its sale value compared to a similar vehicle with a clear accident history.
Repair-Related Diminished Value
A less common type of diminished value claim relates to the loss of value due to inability or inadequate repair work. For example, this includes a car that is functional but retains some cosmetic damage following a collision. These claims can also be based on a vehicle replacing a damaged part with a less expensive option.
Immediate Diminished Value
Immediate diminished value is the name for the loss of value that occurs prior to repairs. In other words, this diminished value is the difference between what the vehicle was previously worth and its value in its damaged state.
Will Your Insurance Policy Cover the Diminished Value of Your Vehicle?
As the Mass. DIV points out, if you are relying on your policy for compensation following an accident, the odds that it will cover the diminished value of your vehicle are low. This is true even if you have full coverage that includes property damage losses. As such, while many policies will pay for the cost of your repairs or replace a total loss, few, if any, include coverage for diminished value.
When you are dealing with your insurance carrier, your claim is governed by the terms of your policy. Whether your insurance company has an obligation to pay for your diminished vehicle value depends entirely on your insurance contract terms. Unless your policy provides for diminished value, your carrier won’t owe you anything.
The good news is that you are not limited to filing a claim against your insurance policy. You could also file a claim against the at-fault driver’s policy. In recent years, the courts have allowed third-party diminished value claims to go forward.
You Could Recover Compensation From the Other Driver
Filing a claim on your insurance policy might not be an option, but you could have a viable third-party diminished value claim if the other driver caused the accident. Liability policies generally cover diminished value, which means their insurance carrier could be required to cover your loss.
How to Build a Diminished Value Case
The first step in building a diminished value case is gathering the necessary evidence. You must show what the car was worth prior to the accident. This task can be done using tools like Kelly Blue Book.
Next, you will need to show what the vehicle is worth now. This can generally be done through an appraisal of the repaired vehicle. The difference between these numbers serves as the basis for your diminished value case.
Once you have the value of your vehicle, the next step is to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance carrier will review your claim and often make a settlement offer in short order. Of course, these offers are not always worth accepting.
We Can Help You Obtain a Fair Value on Your Claim
Insurance companies are known for offering unreasonably low settlements in these cases. However, the Rehoboth diminished value claim lawyers at Ged Lawyers can review an offer from the insurance company, and you can feel confident that your legal team will advise you on if it is fair.
Talk to Our Attorney About Your Rehoboth Diminished Value Claim
Diminished value claims are foreign to most people, at least before they are in an accident. Navigating the legal system while pursuing compensation in these cases can be especially challenging.
The Rehoboth diminished value claim lawyers at Ged Lawyers understand what it takes to win a diminished value claim. We look forward to helping you seek fair compensation for your damaged vehicle. To learn more about how we could help with your case, contact us and begin your free consultation today.