AmI entitled to devaluation compensation following an accident in which the other driver was charged and at fault?

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AmI entitled to devaluation compensation following an accident in which the other driver was charged and at fault?

I was involved a traffic accident a few days ago. I was not at fault, the other driver was cited. The other vehicle had minimal damage and there were no injuries. My car however was badly damaged to the front end and sides. I drive a car which has a reputation for holding it’s value when it comes time for a resale. The auto body shop is ready to repair my car and of course the insurance company is prepared to pay for it. I want to know how they will compensate me for the devaluation of my car now that it has been in a serious accident. I’m not trying to get rich. I just need to feel like we are not taking a loss when we get ready to sell this car. How should I handle this and what should I expect?

Asked on February 9, 2012 under Accident Law, South Carolina

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding the possible collection for devaluation of your vehicle due to your recent car accident.  It is understandable why you would be inquiring about this since you stated that your vehicle has a reputation for holding its value and since the car accident has been determined to not have been your fault.  You should be aware that the amount you could potentially receive for devaluation will depend mainly on the laws of your state.  Some states mandate a specific calculation for determining devaluation of vehicles in auto accidents, some states permit devaluation compensation, and some states allow insurance companies to not pay devaluation compensation. 

 

Given the above information, you will want to find out what type of state you live in to determine what laws will dictate if and how you will receive devaluation compensation.  You can likely find out this information by asking your insurance adjuster.  If for some reason they are unable to assist you, you can contact your state’s insurance commissioner. 

 

If you live in a state that requires devaluation compensation for auto accidents, then your insurance company will use a mandated calculation to determine the amount that you will be given for the devaluation of your vehicle.  You will not be able to negotiate this amount, as the calculation has already been determined to be fair under your state’s law.  If you live in a state where devaluation compensation is not mandated but permissible, then your insurance company may have an expert that can calculate what the devaluation compensation of your vehicle should be.  You could also contact an outside expert in this area to get an idea of what the devaluation of your vehicle would be to make sure you are being fairly compensated.  If at any time you believe that you are not being treated fairly by your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, you can contact your state’s insurance commissioner to voice your complaints, they take consumer complaints very seriously. 


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