Being involved in a car crash is a serious matter, and may not just involve injury to you and your passengers, but also damage your vehicle. When working with an insurance company to secure compensation for your injuries, it is important not to forget compensation for your property damage as well.
Even after repairs, your car’s market value will automatically drop. Many people will not pay high prices, or even consider purchasing at all, a vehicle with an accident history. After a car crash, a record of the accident usually becomes part of the vehicle’s history report. Consumers can search vehicle history reports with services like Carfax or AutoCheck, so if your car was damaged in a wreck, it is important to ensure you are compensated properly, including the depreciation of your vehicle.
What is a diminished value claim?
According to Carfax, “the average hit to the retail price is about $500,” and the “average impact on retail value jumps to $1,700 for a vehicle with severe damage in its past.”
Diminished value refers to the difference in the market price of your car before and after a wreck. According to the appraisal company Autoloss, there are three types of diminished value claims in Oklahoma:
- Inherent Diminished Value. This applies to any car that has sustained damage, even if that damage is fully repaired. It’s simply worth less because it was in an accident.
- Repair-Related Diminished Value. This applies to vehicles that were damaged in a wreck but left unrepaired or only partially repaired.
- Immediate Diminished Value. This is the loss that occurs right after an accident – even if you haven’t even had time to get your car to a mechanic yet. Or, as Autoloss explains, “Immediate diminished value can be calculated as the difference in resale value of a vehicle before the damage occurred and the resale value before repairs have been made after damage has occurred.”
The insurance company should compensate you for the repairs and the loss of value under a diminished value claim. You may only make a diminishment of value claim in Oklahoma if you were not the at-fault driver in the accident, and you only have two years to file it.
If you wish to pursue a diminished value claim, you will need to provide documentation of your loss, such as:
- Photographs of the damage your vehicle sustained
- Photographs of the vehicle after repairs have been made
- An appraisal of the condition of the vehicle post-repairs, and its loss of value, by an appraiser
Why would I file a diminished value claim?
Diminished value claims can help you recoup the worth of your car if you intend to sell it later. Since a car that has been in a collision is automatically valued less, this claim can help you recoup those losses.
Things that can depreciate the value of your car
There are a variety of factors that might devalue your vehicle after a car accident. These can include:
- Age of your vehicle. The older your car, the more susceptible it is to damage after a collision. When an older model of a car is in a wreck, its value depreciates even more.
- History of accidents. Every time a vehicle is in a collision, its value drops considerably. If a car is in multiple accidents, even when the driver is not at fault, an insurance company may claim the car is worthless.
- Extent of damages. A serious crash can cause significant damage. Even with the best mechanic on the job, a car damaged in an accident still loses value. Small amounts of damage, however, like a broken light, can be easily fixed without too much depreciation.
Insurance companies may also take things like your vehicle’s model year and number of miles into consideration when determining the value of your car.
It is essential to have a damaged vehicle serviced by authorized and skilled professionals. Many consumers find themselves in a worse situation when dishonest mechanics cut corners by using unauthorized car parts.
Making a claim for property damage after a wreck
If you were injured in a car crash and your car suffers damage, you can claim that property loss as part of your overall accident claim. Our Tulsa personal injury lawyers help clients recoup property losses as part of their claims. We also handle bad faith insurance claims for clients who have been hurt in car accidents, and whose insurance companies are playing a little fast and loose with the rules. If your insurer is acting in bad faith, you may even be entitled to punitive damages. We can talk about that during your free initial consultation.
If your car was damaged because of the negligence of another driver, Biby Law Firm may be able to help. Our Tulsa personal injury attorneys fight to secure compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. To schedule your free initial consultation, please contact us in Tulsa at 918.574.8458, or fill out our contact form.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.