Looking for Diminshed Value for my Car Accident

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Looking for Diminshed Value for my Car Accident

My Vehicle met with an accident on due to the negligence driving of defendant. Although my car has been repaired by insurance company it has sustained a post-repair residual reduction in resale value diminished value as direct result of the damage sustained by my vehicle. I communicated to the defendant’s insurance company attempting to recover what he owes for this diminished value. The insurance company has refused to pay saying the car has been repaired fully and hasn’t lost any value. If lost value then asking for the proof of pre-accident appraisal report of the car, which I don’t have and not possible to get. However, I have submitted the post accident appraisal report, NADA report, and diminshed value report stating loss of value but still insurance company denied and asked to prove by showing care value pre-accident appraisal report along with post accident appraisal report. Hence I am looking to file small claims in the court. Do I have the right to recover the money for the diminished carvalue from accident? What are the chance of getting on my favor?

Asked on November 7, 2017 under Accident Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Assuming that you did not sign any settlement agreement or the like which prevents you from suing for more (e.g. which stated that paying for the repairs was payment in full of your claim), you could in theory sue for the diminished value. You would sue the at fault driver (not his insurer). For the suit, you would need to hire some expert (e.g. car appraiser) who can examine your car thoroughly and who would come to court to testify (you need live testimony; you can't just submit a report or memo about the diminished value) as to how the car's value is reduced and by how much. (Obviously, you'd have to pay him for his time, presumably at least several hundred dollars, possibly more; and you can't get this cost back if you win.)
As stated, such a diminished value suit is permissible, but is generally not favored by the courts, because there are so many variables that assigning a diminished value is difficult. For example, say that right now, your car undamaged is worth $10k and that its value has been diminished by 30%. Currently, that 30% reduction is $3k; but say you wait 4 years to sell, when its undamaged value might be only $6k--and so the diminuntion of value is then only 30% of that, or $1,800. What you do with the car, when you sell it, etc. affects the value, and courts do not like cases dependent on future events. Therefore, while you could get money for diminished value, it may not be as much as you think, because the court may reduce it to reflect some of this uncertainty.


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