What is a Diminished Value Claim and When to Hire a Lawyer?

When you’ve been in a car accident you assume the insurance company will pay to have your vehicle fixed at optimal repair value. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Car insurance is a necessity of life throughout the World, but the problems of fighting for what an individual involved in a car accident believes they are owed can be difficult to do without the help of a lawyer. A diminished value claim is one of the most difficult areas of car insurance law to prove and usually requires a lawyer and at least a single trip to court to complete the process of making a claim.

It is important to understand what a diminished value claim is and how it affects the individual and their investment in a motor vehicle. A diminished value claim is made when a car is struck by another and the fault is placed with the driver of the other vehicle. Making a diminished value claim is not possible if the accident is deemed to be the fault of the individual who sees the cost of their vehicle diminish because of the accident or resulting repairs. Diminished value is exactly what the claim states, that the vehicle loses its value because of the damage caused by the accident and the owner looks to claim the difference in pre and post accident value.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to claim the diminished value of a vehicle, with many individuals looking to get the advice of a lawyer before embarking on the road to making a claim. The first step recommended by a lawyer is usually to conduct some independent research about the value of the damaged vehicle before looking to make a claim. A number of Internet Sites are available that will give a true market value for any vehicle, which can be used and a printout made available for any lawyer or court to examine. In addition, the NADVA has a diminished value calculator on their site that should give you a good idea of any loss that may have been incurred.

Secondly, the damaged vehicle should be examined by a professional appraisal company or a used car dealer for a fair market value in its repaired condition. This appraisal of value should take into account either the condition of the vehicle as it stands, with mismatched paint or damage that cannot be repaired used to show a reduced value. The difference between the estimated value of the vehicle and the market value of the vehicle before the accident is what is being claimed in court.

The majority of individuals who make a diminished value claim do so with the help of a lawyer, in most cases a vehicle accident lawyer is consulted early in the research process. Although the majority of these cases are tried in a small claims court it is often prudent to use a lawyer to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company and to take the claim to court if required.