If you are patient enough when shopping for used cars, you will sometimes find a glamorous, gently used car that costs tens of thousands of dollars less than its original price. The resale price of a car that has only a thousand miles on its odometer is much lower than one that has only ever belonged to a dealership before; it matters whether the car is truly new or new in all but name. All this is to say that many factors affect the resale value of used cars, and just because a car looks new, that does not mean that it is. Used car dealerships must be truthful about a car’s history of accidents; even a car that has undergone repairs by the most skilled mechanic does not have the same resale value as one that has never been repaired. Even if you are not planning on reselling your car, its depreciation in value as a result of an accident counts as an accident-related financial loss. To find out more about calculating your accident-related financial losses and recovering compensation for them, contact a Houma car accident lawyer.
What is a Diminished Value Claim?
When you file a claim after a car accident, the insurance companies try to determine the amount of your financial losses that resulted from the accident and the share of that amount that the insurance company is obligated to pay, pursuant to the terms of your insurance policy. Your losses include the cost of vehicle repairs, car rental while your car was undergoing repairs, and accident-related medical bills if you were injured. The depreciation in your car’s value as a result of being damaged and repaired also counts; in terms of car accident law, this is called “diminished value.”
Louisiana law allows people involved in car accidents to file claims with the at-fault party’s insurance company or, if the at-fault driver was uninsured, with their own uninsured motorist insurance provider. The amount they can claim is the value of the car as estimated before the accident minus its value as appraised after the repairs are complete. In Louisiana, you cannot file a diminished value claim if you are at fault for the accident.
When Does it Make Sense to File a Diminished Value Claim?
It makes sense to file a diminished value claim if the depreciation of your car’s value causes you financial hardship. For example, you should file a diminished value claim if, at the time of the accident, you had only owned your car for a short time and still owed a lot of money on the car loan. You should especially file a diminished value claim if the accident has caused the resale value of your car to be less than you owe on your loan.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey About Diminished Value Claims
A car accident lawyer can help you if a car accident caused serious damage and substantially decreased the value of your car, causing you financial hardship. Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey in Houma, Louisiana to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit.