It’s not hard to argue that we as consumers like to protect our most valuable assets and keep them from depreciating in value as much as possible. However, sometimes even the most vigilant protection will be thwarted by the recklessness or negligence of others. In the field of personal injury, vehicle damages resulting from car accidents are some of the most common examples of this.
Car prices only continue to go up, but once they are damaged in an accident, the value will never return to what it once was even after complete repairs. Fortunately for Washington accident victims, a diminished value claim may help recover some of the value your vehicle has lost after a crash. Let’s take a closer look into these claims and how they may help.
Definition and Parameters of Diminished Value Claims
The easiest way to explain diminished value claims is like this: let’s say that a driver named Bob is involved in a car accident and has to get extensive repairs done to his vehicle. Even though Bob’s car has been restored back to the original condition mechanically, it will never be worth what it would have been had it never gotten into a collison. Even an identical model with the same mileage and features will be worth more without an accident history. In Washington, Bob can choose to file a diminished value claim in attempts to recover some of the value that the car lost.
If you find yourself in a situation where a diminished value claim makes sense, it is best to do so as quickly as possible. That is because these claims are very specific in terms of ownership and damage–if you sell the car or the car sustains further damage after the accident, you relinquish your right to file a diminished value claim. It must be your car, and the damages must pertain to the accident in question.
The Importance of Cost-Benefit Analysis
For these cases, claimants must always weigh the potential costs against the potential gain. If you do feel it is warranted, you should contact either a Licensed Public Adjuster or a Diminished Value Expert. They will essentially do a large part of the work, in that they will thoroughly inspect the car and determine: a) if it has in fact been fully repaired, and b) what the actual loss of value has been. This is important work, and it doesn’t come cheap–always take expert costs into account.
The true value of your car is the other main factor. We hate to say it, but just because you really loved that ‘85 Corolla with chipped paint doesn’t mean it has real value, even before the accident. If your car has a low value to begin with, chances are that when you add up the expert costs and legal fees, it won’t be worth it to file a diminished value claim.
However, there are certainly examples where a claim IS warranted, especially if the car is somehow rare or just inherently expensive. For example, if you bought a classic hot rod at an auction for $100,000 and someone T-bones you in the parking lot, you will surely look to recoup the loss in value, which can be upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. Even if you have a standard factory car that has high value such as a Mercedes-Benz or BMW, you should probably consider a diminished value claim if you were forced to undergo serious repairs.
Contact Diminished Value Attorneys Today
If you are considering coming forward with a diminished value claim after your vehicle has been damaged in an accident that was not your fault, contact Van Law Firm right away. Our Washington diminished value attorneys can get the proper experts in place and help you recoup your car’s lost value. Call us today at (360) 200-0000 to learn more about how VLF can help.