All vehicles lose value after a car wreck. How much a car accident devalues your car depends on several factors. When calculating the diminished value of a car, take the following factors into consideration:
- The sales value of your car before the wreck;
- The accident history of your car, including the damage sustained in the accident; and
- The quality of repairs made after the crash.
In general, serious crashes have the potential to do the most harm to your car’s value, especially for newer models. If you have questions about the diminished value of your vehicle, or if you sustained serious injuries in the crash, talk to a car accident lawyer about recovering compensation for your financial losses.
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we can help you file an insurance claim for your injuries or make diminished value car insurance claim for your car. Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our car accident lawyers in Tennessee.
How Can an Accident Devalue My Car?
An accident can cause damage to the surface and structure of your car. This means your car now has a damage history—even if you have it repaired after the wreck. This damage history can lower the resale value in several ways.
Your vehicle will first lose value immediately after an accident and before any repairs are done. If you fail to make repairs or the repairs are low quality, your vehicle’s value will also suffer.
However, even if you have your car fully repaired after a crash, it will still lose value. Despite the repairs, the vehicle’s market value has decreased simply because it was damaged in an accident.
Generally, buyers do not purchase used cars that have been in accidents because of the possible problems they may have in the future with the vehicles. If your car needed extensive structural repairs after the wreck, it might lose significant value if you try to resell it.
How Do I Determine My Car’s Value Before the Crash?
You have several online options for checking your car’s fair market value, including the Kelley Blue Book and guides from the National Automobile Dealers Association. You will need to input your car’s year, make, model, color, trim level, mileage, and style to determine the market price of your car before the crash.
Our attorneys can also help you determine your car’s pre-accident value.
How Would a Buyer Know That My Car Was Damaged?
A car dealer or a private buyer can run a vehicle history report on your car. Each accident—especially those that caused severe damages—will lower your car’s value. A vehicle history report contains such information as a vehicle’s:
- Accident history;
- Service history;
- Repair history;
- Open recalls; and
- Past owners.
While your car may look good on the surface after a repair, the report will contain any significant frame and structural damage that happened because of the accident. Potential buyers can also see the police reports associated with your car and how many insurance claims you filed on the vehicle.
How Can I Recover Compensation for My Car’s Diminished Value?
You can file a diminished value claim against the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident. If the driver does not have auto insurance, you can file an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist claim with your own insurance company if you have this type of coverage. Since state law requires policyholders to reject this coverage in writing, many drivers have it without even knowing it.
When you file your diminished value claim, you will need documentation of the pre-crash market value of your vehicle. Our attorneys can collect proof of how much your car was worth before the accident, as well as estimates on how much the resale value dropped because of the wreck. This may involve conducting market research and consulting with a damage claim company for an estimate of your car’s value.
When Should I File a Diminished Value Claim?
Under Tennessee’s statute of limitations, you have three years to file a diminished value lawsuit. Before you take legal action, we recommend that you consult a car accident lawyer to help you with the process.
You will need to build a strong case proving that the accident that devalued your car happened because of another driver’s negligence. We can help you prove negligence and causation using the police report of the accident, eyewitness testimony, surveillance camera footage, and other documentation. Without solid proof, the insurer may deny your claim.
How Can I Get Help Filing a Diminished Value Claim?
The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help you prepare a diminished value claim to file against the at-fault driver’s insurer or your insurance company. We will also negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
Call us today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a complimentary legal consultation.