Diminished Value

Q: The insurance company says the vehicle was repaired properly and has thus not suffered diminished value, is that true?

A: Most certainly not. The insurance company is telling you that because they do not want to have to pay the claim. An inherent diminished value claim is based upon a vehicle being properly repaired. The vehicle is still worth less because it is not what it was before the accident. A brand new vehicle is not made brand new again by repairing it following an accident.

Q: The insurance company says the state law doesn’t allow a claim for diminished value, is this true?

A: No again. Insurance companies have tried avoiding paying on these claims for years and they do and say whatever will justify their position. Diminished value and case law supporting the same has been around for nearly 100 years.

Q: My vehicle is more than five years old do I still have claim?

A: Maybe. Typically, vehicles that are less than five years old without prior damage and a decent amount of damage in the subject accident qualify. Any brand new vehicle with any damage no matter how small may qualify and any vintage vehicle or collector’s car with any damage may as well. There are exceptions and of recent we have seen several thousand dollars for diminished value paid on vehicles as old as 1997. (Vintage vehicles much older can also suffer diminished value.)

Q: Do I really need to hire an expert to present a claim?

A: The answer is yes. Without a qualified post-repair inspector you have not substantiated the claim. As the claimant you have the duty in most states to prove any claim you make and that includes diminished value.

Q: How do I find an expert?

A: One cannot just go to the phone book and look up post-repair inspector nor go to the web and find someone local. We suggest contacting us toll free, free of charge at 1 (877) 572-4143 so we can recommend someone qualified locally to you. You may email us at info@mycarlostvalue.com as well.

Q: Do I need an attorney?

A: Unrepresented, a claimant is no threat to the insurance company. The thing that most often prompts settlement of any claim including that of diminished value is the threat of litigation. Litigation costs insurance companies money. To avoid the expense they may be willing to settle. Without the threat of suit they will offer what they want and a majority of the time that will be nothing.

Q: I cannot find an attorney that knows about diminished value let alone one that wants to help me out…

A: Many attorneys are unwilling to handle property damage including diminished value claims. Why not? Is it because they are lazy? Unwilling to work? Not enough in the claims to do so? May be a bit of each of these. Regardless, there are attorneys that are willing to help such as Wattel & York, LLC.

Q: What is it going to cost me to have an attorney handle my claim?

A: Most attorneys will not even consider handling a diminished value claim. Those like our injury attorneys at Wattel & York work on a contingency basis taking a percentage of the amount collected only once the claim has been settled. A phone call to Wattel & York cost nothing. The call is free and the consultation is as well.

Q: Does my vehicle need to be inspected?

A: An inherent loss of resale value claim does not necessarily require an inspection. Implicit in the claim is that the vehicle has been repaired properly and meets industry standards. How does a post-repair expert know if the vehicle has been repaired to industry standard though if the vehicle has not been inspected? He cannot. We strongly recommend that whatever expert hired to determine the diminished value on the vehicle inspect the vehicle.

Q: What if the post repair expert finds poor repairs or work that was never performed that should have been?

A: Though every case is different we recommend giving the shop that did the original repairs the opportunity to right the wrong. You may have a claim for repair related diminished value in addition to the inherent loss if the car is not eventually repaired properly.

Q: What if I want to keep my vehicle do I still have a claim?

A: Many insurance carriers will argue no. They will say that you have not realized a loss. The question is a matter of proof. Do you have evidence of the loss? If your post-repair expert has done a good job documenting why the vehicle is worth less you should be able to get paid on the claim.

Q: What is a buy back offer?

A: Trying to trade in or sell your vehicle at a dealership. It is testing the marketplace for the value of your depreciated vehicle.

Q: Should I get buy back offers?

A: We recommend doing so. When and if you do so, make sure to disclose the extent of the repairs performed. Ask the salesman to tell you what he would have paid for the vehicle if it hadn’t been involved in an accident. Ask him to put both quotes in writing.

Q: What if the salesperson will not give a buy back offer?

A: That will happen more often than not. Get him to confirm that the reason he would not do so is the dealership has no interest in buying the vehicle due to the automobile damage involved. Make sure to get his card. This denial may bolster your diminished value claim.

Q: Can I present the claim to my own insurance?

A: In most states the answer is NO. The claim is governed by the language of the insurance contract and it is with very limited exception such as in States like Georgia & Washington where the claim can be presented and paid.

Q: What if the person that caused the accident doesn’t have any automobile insurance?

A: The claim against that individual likely still exists, though the ability to collect may be very difficult. Most people that do not carry automobile insurance do not have the means to pay on any claim including that of diminished value.

Q: Is the claim really worth pursuing?

A: The insurance industry hopes you think not. They save more than a Billion dollars a year avoiding payment on these claims. The answer though is YES!!! Most people that are diligent in pursuit of their loss end up collecting. Do not give up.

In all automobile accident cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of an automobile accident, call now at or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if our diminished value attorneys agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.