Were you in an accident within the last two years that was caused by the other driver, and now you’ve realized your vehicle isn’t worth what it was before the accident, even after it’s been repaired? You may be owed diminished value compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
What is diminished value? What determines whether a vehicle has suffered from diminished value? How do you prove diminished value? Should you hire a Phoenix diminished value lawyer?
Here’s everything you need to know about Arizona’s diminished value law and how it applies to your vehicle. Have questions or want a free consultation? Contact Wade & Nysather AZ Accident Attorneys today.
What Is Diminished Value?
Diminished value claims are a way for you to recover the lost resale value of your vehicle after an accident caused by another driver. Many people don’t want to buy cars that have been in accidents, even if they’ve been repaired, making vehicles worth less after an accident than they were pre-crash.
You can’t submit a diminished value claim in Arizona if you were the at-fault driver; the accident must have been the other driver’s fault. (If you didn’t get a copy when you filed it, you can click here to get a free police report.)
Types of Diminished Value Claims
There are 3 types of diminished value claims:
- Immediate Diminished Value is the difference between how much the vehicle was worth before the accident and how much the vehicle was worth after the accident, before repairs were made.
- Repair-Related Diminished Value refers to a loss in value due to incomplete repairs, whether the damage is cosmetic or structural.
- Inherent Diminished Value is the most common and most highly accepted type of diminished value claim and refers to the loss of a vehicle’s value simply because it has been in an accident.
What to Know About Arizona’s Diminished Value Law
Here are a few things you should know about diminished value claims in Arizona:
- Diminished value claims can be handled by themselves or as part of a personal injury claim (the experienced lawyers at Wade & Nysather do both personal injury and diminished value cases).
- You have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a diminished value claim.
- Personal auto insurance almost never covers diminished value (which is why you should have an experienced diminished value lawyer on your side).
- Diminished value claims require evidence describing the extent of the loss (like an appraisal from an expert who has given depositions or testified in court on similar cases).
Why File a Diminished Value Claim?
There are many reasons why your vehicle’s value may have decreased by more than just the repair costs after an accident, including:
- People are often reluctant to purchase vehicles that were in an accident
- Dealerships can’t sell vehicles that have been in an accident in their “certified pre-owned” programs
- Replacement parts may not be as good as original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts
- There may be undiscovered, unrepaired damage to the vehicle
- Repairs may weaken and structurally compromise the vehicle
- It may be impossible to return a vehicle to its pre-accident condition
- Serious collisions may void factory warranties
You deserve to get the diminished value of your vehicle back from the other driver’s insurance, which is why you should set up a free consultation with the diminished value attorneys at Wade & Nysather to discuss filing a diminished value claim.
What Factors Determine Whether a Vehicle Has Lost Value?
A wide variety of factors go into determining whether a vehicle has lost value. It may not make sense to pursue a diminished value claim if your vehicle hasn’t lost much value, so carefully review these factors.
Vehicle Year, Make, Model, Condition, and Mileage
With a few exceptions, such as collector cars, older vehicles (or those in poor condition or with high mileage) lose less value than newer vehicles after an accident since they have already lost a significant amount of their original value due to natural depreciation.
In general, newer vehicles (and others with a high worth pre-crash) lose the most value after an accident.
Type of Damage Sustained in the Accident
Cosmetic damage (like dents or scratches) doesn’t cause a vehicle to lose much of its value. On the other hand, damage to the car’s structure can make it worth a lot less, even if it has been fixed as well as possible.
Was the Vehicle Involved in Any Other Accidents?
If your vehicle sustained damage in a previous accident (which will show up in a simple CarFax check), it will be difficult (although not necessarily impossible) to prove the most recent accident was responsible for the vehicle’s lost value. An expert diminished value lawyer can tell you whether or not you may have a case if this wasn’t your vehicle’s first accident.
Was the Vehicle Repaired to “Industry Standard”?
Before an inherent diminished value can be determined, the vehicle must be fixed properly with OEM parts and the latest technology to get it as close as possible to how it was before the accident (to “industry standard”).
What Was the Vehicle Worth Before the Accident?
What could your vehicle have sold for before the accident? A look at the Kelley Blue Book value or an expert appraisal can give you a good idea. How much is it worth now that it’s been in an accident? This will give you an approximate idea of the diminished value of your vehicle.
What Have Potential Buyers Offered for the Repaired Vehicle?
While you are not obligated to actually sell your vehicle to pursue a diminished value case, getting offers from dealerships or potential buyers can help to establish the vehicle’s lost value.
Have You Struggled to Sell or Trade the Vehicle Since it Was Repaired?
Have you tried to sell your vehicle and had difficulty finding buyers since it was in an accident? Are you trying to trade it in for a newer vehicle and the dealerships are lowballing you on the vehicle’s trade-in value? These struggles help to prove how much the vehicle’s lost value is impacting you.
How to Prove Diminished Value
Typically, you will need to hire an expert appraiser to determine the pre- and post-accident value of your vehicle. They will write a report saying what they think the car’s value is now, and if necessary, they may also testify.
If you do sell your vehicle, you must get the most money you can for it. Selling it at a lower price to a friend or family member may be perceived as a discounted price rather than lost value, so selling to a stranger after negotiating the price will be more persuasive in a diminished value case.
Whether or not you were injured and are also pursuing a personal injury claim, the professional Phoenix diminished value lawyers at Wade & Nysather may take your case. Schedule a free consultation today.
Should I Hire an Arizona Diminished Value Lawyer?
Since third-party insurance companies typically don’t pay diminished values, you will need an experienced lawyer to help you pursue that compensation. At Wade & Nysather, we offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis.
If we don’t think you have a case, we’ll tell you, and you only pay us if we take your diminished value case and get you money. If we don’t get you compensation, you don’t owe us a thing.
Do I Have to Sell My Vehicle to Make a Diminished Value Claim?
No, you don’t have to sell the vehicle to make a diminished value claim. However, there is a 2-year statute of limitations on this type of case, so you should file a claim ASAP, even if you don’t plan to sell your vehicle any time soon. If you decide to sell your vehicle more than 2 years after the accident, you will be out of luck and have no way to recoup the lost value.
Consult a Diminished Value Lawyer Today
If you’ve been in an accident caused by the other driver in the last two years, you may be able to get compensation for your vehicle’s lost value. The experienced diminished value attorneys at Wade & Nysather are prepared to help you get the money you deserve. We have locations in Scottsdale, Glendale, and Mesa.Schedule a no-cost no-obligation Legal Strategy Session