Am I Able to Make a Diminished Value Claim for a Houston Car Accident?
After a car accident in Texas, your conversations with insurers may entail personal injury litigation, vehicle inspections, repair estimates, and repair or replacement coverage of your car. What you probably will not hear the insurer talk about is the diminished value of your vehicle.
What Is Diminished Value and Can You Claim It?
Diminished value is a valid compensation option that you can claim after a collision that leads to damage to your car.
After a car crash, your insurer or that of the at-fault driver will likely offer to compensate you for repair costs. You may be told that you will receive repairs and that your vehicle will be as good as new. Is this true? Unfortunately, it is false. In most cases, the value of a vehicle drops once it has been involved in a crash, and potential buyers typically look at wrecks as a blemish on the automobile’s history. A buyer may argue that the subsequent repairs after an accident altered the vehicle’s original value or even worsened it to some extent.
The diminished value defines the difference between what an automobile was worth prior to an accident and its new worth after repairs. An insurer may try dismissing the diminished value and claim that you can sell your repaired car at a price similar to what you would have been able to demand if the accident had not occurred. This is not always true. Even if repairs are completed perfectly, a damage history could deter buyers and lower market interest in your vehicle. If you need to replace your current vehicle parts with different versions, that too would lead to a lower value of your car.
Types of Diminished Value Claims in Texas
The diminished value of a vehicle after an accident could occur in one of the following ways:
- Repair-related diminished value – This is the loss in value that results from an inability to repair your car perfectly. This means that the worth of your automobile is now less than what it was prior to the accident.
- Immediate diminished value – This is the difference in the value of reselling of a car before the crash and the value of resale before repairs. This can also be measured as the loss of value resulting from the insurer’s direct involvement in your claim adjustment. This implies that the insurer gains control over incomplete repairs that left your vehicle in a less than optimal condition.
- Inherent diminished value – This is the most recognized and accepted type of diminished value. It ensures that the ultimate repair for a vehicle is achieved and is commonly defined by the amount by which a repaired vehicle’s resale value is reduced after a crash. This also acts as the basis upon which a supplemental form or diminished value may be added.
Filing a Claim for Diminished Vehicle Value
If you were not at fault for the accident and what is known as an act of God, such as a fallen tree, did not lead to the damage, you can file for diminished value compensation. To qualify, you’ll need to prove the three points below:
- The accident caused your vehicle to lose value
- The loss of value can be quantified in monetary terms
- The insurance company’s policy allows you diminished value recovery
For filing a successful claim, ensure that all receipts, documents, and estimates on repairs are well kept and documented. Keep notes and receipts for all replacement or new parts installed and note if they are aftermarket components or whether they are from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
When you want to know the actual value of your vehicle, an auto appraisal by our lawyers can help ensure you get the best value possible. An auto appraisal takes into account your car’s full history and will give you an expert opinion on the value you can present to potential buyers, insurance companies, banks, and credit unions.
A loss appraisal helps in valuing a business’ car that was involved in an accident and can help in recovering the value of the service of the vehicle to the business. An appraisal will also be helpful if you are looking to donate your vehicle for the purposes of a tax write off.
Total Loss Appraisals
If your car is considered as a “total loss” after a severe auto accident, the responsible insurer could make you an offer that’s less than the actual value of the vehicle. Total loss refers to when the repair cost of a car exceeds its worth. After damages, an insurer may make you a cash value offer for the totaled vehicle less your deductibles on collision or comprehensive coverage. With a total loss appraisal, you will be sure that insurance offers are accurate and that they give you the best value for your damaged vehicle.
Is There Need for a Claims Attorney?
A diminished value claim could lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars added to your Texas insurance settlement agreement. However, proving your claim can be very difficult. Consider working with a skilled Houston car accident lawyer with expertise in diminished value claims to make your recovery process easier and potentially more rewarding. Call us today at 713-677-2179 to initiate the process with a legal expert on your side.
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