Most people do not realize how complicated or valuable the property damage portion of their claim is after an automobile accident. Important decisions need to be made, like whether to file your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company or your own. You also want to be certain to file a claim for all the types of compensation you may be entitled to. After all, you want to receive everything you deserve when you were not at fault in causing your crash. If you have not asked for the diminished value of your vehicle, you may not be getting everything you should. Let an experienced car accident attorney guide you through your property damage claim.
What Is a Diminished Value Claim?
Once your vehicle has been repaired, you still could have a Diminished Value (DV) Claim. This is the reduced value of your vehicle due to the fact that it was involved in a car crash. Any vehicle will be worth less to a prospective buyer if it was involved in a wreck. You are entitled to be reimbursed for this loss in value.
Your automobile must meet certain requirements to qualify you for a diminished value payment. You must show the following:
- Your vehicle must have been worth $5,000 or more before it was damaged in the accident.
- Your car must have required $1,500 or more in vehicle repairs caused by the crash.
- At the time of the wreck, your vehicle must have been less than eight years old.
- Your vehicle could have never been declared a total loss in a prior accident, and it could not have a salvage title.
- You cannot have missed the statute of limitations to sue the negligent driver.
How Do You Prove Your Diminished Value Claim?
If you are smart enough to ask to be paid your diminished value claim, this does not mean that the insurance company will voluntarily pay you what you are owed. Chances are they will offer you a low amount, and you will have to prove the diminished value portion of your claim. How do you do this? Often you will need a report from a diminished value expert to convince the adjuster of the value of your claim.
What Types of Diminished Value Reports Are There?
If you need to obtain a report for your claim, you should understand the two types of DV reports. They include the following:
- True appraisal. With a true appraisal, the appraiser inspects your vehicle after repairs are made to inspect the quality and extent of the repairs. This type of report is obviously more expensive.
- Desktop appraisal or assessment. The appraiser does not inspect your vehicle. He obtains information regarding your vehicle, such as its make, model, year, mileage, and vehicle repair estimate. In determining the diminished value, he assumes that the repairs were done correctly—giving the insurance company the lowest DV. Not surprisingly, insurance companies are willing to accept these desktop appraisals.
What to Look for in a Diminished Value Appraiser
Your appraisal report is only persuasive if it is prepared by a qualified appraiser. Unfortunately, not all appraisers are qualified, so you will need to pick yours with care. These appraisers typically charge $100 to $200 for a report. Here are the qualifications you should look for:
- He is licensed.
- He is a member of a professional appraiser association.
- He is located in your state
- He has no complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
Where Should You File Your Diminished Value Claim?
Like with the other parts of your property damage claim, you must decide whether to file your DV claim with your own insurance company if you have collision coverage or the negligent driver’s insurance company. The benefit of filing your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company is that there are no out-of-pocket expenses, such as a deductible. However, it could take significantly longer to resolve your claim, meaning that your vehicle may not be repaired for a lengthy period of time.
Your own insurance company may resolve your claim more quickly, but could still be difficult to negotiate a fair settlement with. In addition, you could have to pay a deductible of $500 to $1,000 that you would need to recover from the negligent driver.
At Brauns Law, we understand the importance of your property damage claim and pursue all avenues of compensation to ensure that you receive what you are entitled to. Call our office or start an online chat to schedule a free case evaluation to get your questions answered and learn about your legal options.