When your car is damaged in a car accident you can lose money in the long run, even if the accident wasn't your fault.
Learn from our Georgia Car Accident Attorneys how to get additional compensation for your injury claim and how to make up for lost value on your automobile.
Diminished Value Explained
When you go to purchase a new or used car, typically the buyer is going to want the history of the car in order to determine the value of the vehicle.
After your car is involved in an accident, and has been repaired, depending on the age and shape, the resale value will typically be less than if it had not been damaged.
Even if you have your vehicle repaired by a high quality reputable auto body shop, the resale value will still decrease. Most buyers will not purchase an automobile that has been in an accident unless they are given a discounted price. This will cause the seller to lose out on profit if never compensated for the diminished value of the car.
You are entitled to reimbursement for your vehicle damages. The insurance company will not automatically send you a check for diminished value. You must file a claim in addition to your regular claim and prove your vehicle has received a loss in value due to the accident.
Usually, this is easier to do with newer cars and can get a little more involved with older cars. In some cases, older cars that are damaged and then repaired might actually be worth more because new parts have been substituted for many of the old parts.
What if the accident was my fault?
Let’s say you were backing out of a driveway and slammed into a lamppost. In most cases, you would not be compensated for diminished value. Diminished value claims are generally offered to the person who received damage, not the person who was found at fault.
What if the accident was caused by a negligent driver?
In every state, except Michigan, if an auto accident is the fault of another driver, you would receive compensation for diminished value because legally the third party is responsible to make the victim of the accident “whole again” in other words; to repair the victim’s car back to pre-accident market value.
The at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy is obligated to pay the difference in the car’s resale value before and after the accident.
If the at-fault driver is uninsured and cannot pay for the repairs, voucher of payment will depend on whether you purchased uninsured motorist coverage-the portion of insurance policy that protects a policy holder against losses due to uninsured and hit-and-run drivers. About half of states allow recovery for diminished value under this coverage.
Keep in mind it is always the policyholder’s responsibility to prove the repaired vehicle is worth less than before the accident. Payments may be reduced by the degree to which the policyholder was to blame for the accident.
Landmark Case in Georgia: Found Coverage for Diminished Value
In the past, most states did not honor coverage for diminished value after a car wreck. However, a landmark decision in a Georgia overturned this exclusion and found coverage for diminished value.
“The game changing case, is State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Mabry, decided by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2001, "in which the court stated not only does the insurance company have contractual obligation to pay for diminution in value in first-party physical damage claims but also that it has the responsibility to establish a procedure for handling diminution of value claims.”
In return, State Farm constructed a formula (“17c”) by which diminished value claims could be systematic. Since then, insurers have used this foundation as a basis in creating their own formulas.
If you have been involved in a car accident and need assistance in filing an accident injury claim our personal injury attorneys can help. Hiring a professional after an auto accident to advocate on your behalf can save you from making costly mistakes and risking your auto claim.
Our Car Accident lawyers in Atlanta, Savannah, and Athens have hands-on experience and knowledge in negotiating with insurance companies in order to reach a fair settlement for your injuries and damages suffered. Contact the Brown Firm today.
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