Ask Kathryn: I was in an auto accident and my car was wrecked but not considered a total loss, but now my car isn’t worth as much, what do I do?

Ask Kathryn:  I was in an auto accident and my car was wrecked but not considered a total loss, but now my car isn't worth as much, what do I do?

Surprisingly, I've been asked this exact same question twice in the past week.  Once by a lawyer buddy of mine who doesn't practice in the area of personal injury law but was recently involved in an accident here in Florida.  Then today, my aunt called and asked if she could come to the office to use the fax machine; of course, I told her.  When she came in she told me about how my uncle, a recently retired civil rights lawyer, loaned his car to someone and that someone hit a tree with his car and the car is severely damaged but probably not a total loss.  My aunt said that she told him not to loan that car out and she expressed frustration that the car wouldn't be worth as much after its fixed because of services that provide the car's history.  So I said "then you just do a diminished value claim" to make up the difference in the value of the car.  She said that she had never heard of making a claim for the diminished value of an automobile after an accident.  What is interesting to me is that my aunt is married to a lawyer, they have several friends who are lawyers, she has a daughter and son-in-law who are both lawyers, and in addition to being her neice, I am a lawyer who is married to a lawyer;  my aunt is literally surrounded by lawyers and my lawyer buddy is actually a lawyer and neither of them had ever heard of a "diminished value claim."  Which made me think, if these two had never heard of a "diminished value claim" then I bet most people have never heard a "diminished value claim" either. 

I found this definition for "Diminished Value" online by typing the term into google:

Diminshed Value – noun
The reduction in a vehicle's market value occurring after a vehicle is wrecked and repaired. A reasonable person will not pay the same price for a wrecked, then repaired vehicle, as they will for a vehicle with no prior accident history. Even if the repairs are proper, the vehicle will still lose value. To collect diminished value after a car accident, insurance companies usually ask for a diminished value report. These reports are usually generated after an unbiased third party inspects and appraises the vehicle.

So now you know, if your car was damaged but not considered a total loss as a result of an auto accident, and your vehicle was fixed but just isn't worth what it would have been had it not been in an accident, you may have a "diminished value claim." 

For more information or a free consultation on your legal issue contact The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott PLLC, your injury law and family law attorneys, at 727-300-4878.

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