Did you get in an auto accident that’s not your fault? You may be able to get compensation for your car’s diminished value.
If you ask your insurance company about diminished value, they’ll probably say they know nothing about it.
Want the truth?
It is a legally valid – and routine – type of compensation you can claim.
You just don’t hear about it all that much.
What is “Diminished Value?”
Simply stated: diminished value is the difference between what your car would sell for today, after having repairs from an accident, versus what it would sell for if it never was in an accident.
Insurers try to say your repaired vehicle is just as valuable as it was before the accident.
But that’s not always true.
For example, you can argue that car buyers will not be willing to pay as much for a repaired vehicle – even if it does look perfect. That’s one type of “diminished value.”
Other kinds include:
- When insurance companies refuse to authorize certain parts for repairs (claim-related diminished value)
- Value lost simply because your car has been in an accident, which shows up in car reports (inherent diminished value)
How We Evaluate Your Diminished Value Claim
First, in Texas you can only claim diminished value if you are not at fault for your accident. If you are at fault, or an act of God (hail or a thunderstorm) caused the diminished value, you cannot get this.
To prove diminished value, you basically have to show 3 things:
- Your car lost value
- How much value it has lost
- That you can recover the lost value from the insurance company
Assuming someone else is at fault, you start with proving diminished value simply because your car was in an accident. It’s easy to show, but does get complicated if you already had significant damage to your car before the accident, and now the repairs added value. That’s a rare situation, though.
You do have some homework to do. Make sure you:
- Keep receipts for all work the mechanic does
- Have notes on what each charge is for
- Keep notes on any work advised by the mechanic but not done per request of the insurance company
- Have record of all parts installed, and whether they were aftermarket or OEM
After you have that information, it’s basically a process of establishing the current market value of your car. This is easier to do with newer and better-condition vehicles. With older and lower value cars, the insurance company generally totals your car.
You Can Do It Yourself… But It’s a Lot of Work!
You can do this yourself with the help of experienced area dealers, but experienced Dallas personal injury lawyers also will handle the work for you.
At Mullen & Mullen we can assist you in obtaining a Diminished Value report from a recognized Diminished Value expert.