Cohen & Sinowski
Cohen & Sinowski

Diminished Value Accidents: How To Get The Amount You’re Owed

  • Published: February 9, 2017

Call (404) 383-8835 to talk to Cohen and Sinowski, about your car accident case.

Your car goes down in value when it is damaged in an accident, and it does not matter which party is at fault. This type of accident is called a diminished value accident.

Determining Vehicle Value

Cars are purchased every day, and the price is negotiated between dealerships and customers or ordinary people who choose to sell their car on their own. Determining the value of a new car is easy. It has a sticker price known as an MSRP, and you negotiate from there.

A used car’s value is a little bit different. This value is typically determined by the age, mileage, and condition of the vehicle. Older cars with more miles are less valuable because they typically require greater repairs. Condition matters greatly as well.

When placing a value on a used car, the following questions are typically used:

  • Has the car been involved in any type of accident which caused visual parts to be replaced?
  • Has the body been repaired and repainted?
  • Have other components of the car required replacement?
  • Were replacement parts original equipment from the manufacturer, or were they off brand replacement parts?

Upon inspection, could a dealership tell that the car was in an accident? From any accident, there is an almost 100% certainty that if insurance paid for the repair, there is a history report on the car which indicates it was involved in an accident. If you put two identical cars side by side, the vehicle that has never been involved in an accident will command the higher price. This is why dealerships almost always sell damaged cars at auction rather than listing it in their inventory. The damaged car is obviously less valuable than the identical non-damaged car!

Cosmetic Versus Structural Vehicle Damage

There are basically two types of car damage: cosmetic and structural.

Cosmetic damage is obvious but tends not to be as serious. A bumper or a panel can be replaced, and the part is painted to match the rest of the vehicle. Sometimes, the replacement parts fit perfectly, and other times, they must be modified or simply stick out like a sore thumb.
Structural damage is worse.

Structural repairs are less than perfect because you can never repair a metal part to be as strong as it was when it was originally made.

Both types of damage cause the value of the vehicle to decrease when compared to an identical car that has not been involved in an accident.

Resources To Help Determine Vehicle Value

The auto industry has books for guidance as to the value of the car: NADA, Blue Book and Black Book are just a few. They have deductions for age, mileage and condition. Then there are other reports available, such as CarFax and AutoCheck, which can tell you about whether a car has been in an accident, as well as its service history.

Cohen & Sinowski, can use appraisers, or we can use good common sense to figure out the diminished value of the car that has been in an accident. The insurance companies will send you or your lawyer a letter offering you payment based on their own factors for determining value.

If someone hit you and is at fault for the accident, you will deal with their insurance company, and you are the underdog. If you caused the accident, you should be able to collect payment from your own insurance company for the loss of value to your own car – unless your policy does not cover a first party claim.

Get The Full Vehicle Payment You’re Owed After An Accident

You can be sure if you are not represented and the letter comes to you, it will be for a small percentage of the real loss of value. Get the payout you deserve based on your vehicles’ true diminished value by requesting a free legal consultation from Atlanta’s top car accident attorneys, Cohen & Sinowski. Call (404) 383-8835 now to tell us about your car accident case.

Cohen & Sinowski

The personal injury attorneys of Cohen & Sinowski are
dedicated to helping clients in the Metro Atlanta area.
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