Nobody wants to buy a car that’s been in a wreck. For a lot of people, a car that has been in a wreck is like buying bruised fruit. You just don’t feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Below, we will explain what you will need to make a diminished value claim and how The Advocates can help you.
Luckily, automobile consumers have websites like Carfax.com which can help them make informed decisions about the quality of a vehicle, and especially if it has been in a collision or not. If a car has been in a wreck, the seller should price it accordingly. Sellers who try to hide the fact that a vehicle has been in a wreck are simply dishonest.
Don’t worry. If you have been in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, you can file a diminished value claim in order to seek compensation for the lost value of your vehicle. Washington state has put laws in place to protect its drivers so they aren’t left holding a lemon no one else wants.
What is a Diminished Value Claim?
The basic definition of diminished value is the perceived drop in value of a vehicle after an accident. When someone makes a diminished value claim they are doing so in the hopes of being reimbursed this loss of value by either the person responsible for the crash or from their insurance. Diminished value claims help vehicle owners recover from accidents that could potentially leave them in a financial hole.
Why Does My Vehicle Lose Value Even After It Has Been Repaired?
Unfortunately, car wrecks will often leave vehicles in a state beyond repair. Even if you take your vehicle in for repairs, the mechanic will not be able to fully restore the vehicle to what it was before the crash. Oftentimes, a severe enough wreck will compromise the structural integrity of a vehicle, a condition which will drastically diminish its value.
A great example of how the structural integrity of a vehicle can be compromised is that of a metal clothes hanger. If you bend a metal hanger back and forth, its steel will be come weak and pliant. If you continue to bend it, there’s a good chance it will break in half. The mainframe of a motor vehicle works the same way. The intense force and pressure put on a vehicle during a wreck can leave it warped and permanently damaged. Once those metallic bonds are deformed they will only continue to weak, if not break entirely. This is why vehicles with such structural damage lose so much value. A second wreck could very well crush it like a soda can.
How Do I Make a Diminished Value Claim On My Own?
The only way to file a diminished value claim is if the accident was not your fault, the at-fault party has insurance, and the vehicle isn’t a total loss, meaning the cost of repairs exceeds the vehicle’s actual value, i.e. scrap metal for salvage. Keep in mind, also, that if your vehicle is an older model then your diminished value claim could end up not being worth very much.
Below is a list of what you will need to make your own diminished value claim:
- Accurate valuation of your car from one or more of the following automobile valuation companies: Kelley Blue Book, National Automobile Dealers Association, and Edmunds.
- Photos of your damaged vehicle.
- An official inspection from a legitimate auto body repair shop.
- The at-fault party’s insurance information
- The total amount of your loss which you calculated by subtracting the estimated loss provided by the repair shop from the estimated value of your vehicle according to its make, model, and mileage, as well as its wear and tear.
My Diminished Value Claim Was Rejected. Now What?
9 out of 10 times your diminished value claim will likely be rejected by the insurance adjuster who is assigned to it. Insurance adjusters are trained to push around claimants who are not represented by an attorney. They know that the average person does not have the legal wherewithal to push back if they simply reject a claim so they will not hesitate to do so. Insurance companies will do anything to get out of paying a diminished value claim and will employ a wide array of tactics to escape doing so.
Don’t worry. The Advocates can help ensure you receive compensation for your diminished value claim. Our firm offers free consultations and will work with you around your own schedule. We can put you in touch with an expert in automobile repair and valuation who will provide you with an accurate estimate for your diminished value claim. Our attorneys specialize in making diminished value claims and are expert negotiators. We aren’t afraid to play hard ball with insurance adjusters. So, don’t wait. Contact our office today! You deserve an Advocate.
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