Hurt in an accident and not at-fault? Our Dallas attorneys will win compensation for your vehicle’s diminished value as part of your settlement.
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If you were hurt in a motor vehicle accident and are not at fault our Dallas attorneys will win compensation for your vehicle’s lost value as part of your injury claim settlement. Get medical treatment upfront with no out of pocket, even if you don’t have health insurance or can’t afford your deductible. There is never a fee for our legal services unless we obtain a settlement for you.
What is Diminished Value?
Diminished value is the difference between what your vehicle was worth prior to the accident and what it is worth after being repaired. 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. 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 is a Diminished Value Claim Evaluated?
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 reduction in value, you cannot get this. To prove your value has diminished, 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 personal injury attorneys will also handle the work for you. At Mullen & Mullen we can assist you in obtaining a Diminished Value report from a recognized expert.
You were minding your own business and a negligent driver collided with your vehicle. Most people know you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier for personal injury damages as well as for the cost of repairing or replacing the automobile. You might also, however, be entitled to recover money to compensate you for your vehicle’s loss of value as a result of having been involved in a car accident.
Remember: Even if the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier paid for your vehicle to be repaired (and the repair work was perfect) it will never be worth as much as a similar automobile that has not been involved in an accident.
You may be entitled to damages for the loss of value to your automobile following a motor vehicle collision. Sometimes original parts are not utilized in the repairs or defects still exist after the repairs are completed. Often times the very fact that your car was involved in a wreck causes it to lose value since most people evaluate a car’s damage history in determining its value.
Filing a Claim for Repair Related Diminished Value
What is repair related diminished value?
If your car or truck was repaired following a motor vehicle collision but the repairs did not return it to its pre-collision condition you may have a claim for repair related diminished value.
What are some potential examples of repair related diminished value?
If structural defects or cosmetic differences are not repaired correctly the loss of value to your vehicle can often be tied directly to the quality of the repairs. If the facility that repairs your vehicle fails to utilize original manufacturer parts, for example, you may be entitled to repair related diminished value damages.
Remember: Do not take your car or truck to the body shop recommended by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance carrier wants the repair costs to your vehicle to be as low as possible and often recommends facilities that use non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts.
Filing a Claim for Inherent Diminished Value
What is inherent diminished value?
Once your vehicle has been involved in a collision it has a damage history. If two cars are similar in almost every way except one has been involved in a collision and one hasn’t which vehicle do you think everyone would choose to purchase? The very fact your vehicle has been involved in a collision and was repaired causes an inherent loss of value to you.
Remember: You can recover damages for inherent diminished value even if your vehicle was optimally repaired. In fact, optimal repairs are even assumed. If the repairs were not optimal or done in a reasonable manner you could have a claim for repair related diminished value.
How Can Our Dallas Diminished Value Lawyers Help?
Insurance carriers do not volunteer to pay the lost value of your vehicle. Our Dallas attorneys routinely hire experts at no up-front cost to our clients on cases where damages are significant.
Contact our diminished value lawyers in Dallas, Plano, Frisco, or Fort Worth today. Discuss the specifics of your personal injury claim. Find out how our law firm with 39 years of experience can help!