Diminution in Value Claims in Car Accident Lawsuits

If you’ve been involved in an Arizona car accident, then you may not only be entitled to bring an action against the defendant for damages related to your injuries, but you may also be entitled to claim property loss as a component of your overall damages.  In fact, many plaintiffs are unaware that their injury claim may include a purely economic, property loss component, and are surprised to learn that those damages can be significant, depending on the overall circumstances.

The Basics of Property Loss in the Context of Car Accidents 

In any injury lawsuit, there are both economic and non-economic damages.  Economic damages are objectively measurable and related to specific financial losses.  Non-economic damages, by contrast, are subjective in nature and are somewhat more speculative than economic damages.  Property loss claims fall within the category of economic damages, and are quite commonly encountered in the car accident context.

Suppose, for example, that you suffer serious injuries in a car accident — more specifically, you have suffered debilitating back and shoulder injuries, for which you have had to see many medical specialists and have had to undergo surgery.  Naturally, you would be entitled to assert damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, emotional distress, wage loss, and various other losses.

You would also be entitled to fold your property loss into your overall damage claim.  If your car was totaled in the accident, then you might be entitled to recover the full value of the vehicle at the time of the accident, as well as the cost of a rental car for the interim period.  Alternatively, if you have had to get significant repair work done, you might be entitled to secure damages for the repair costs.

What many plaintiffs don’t realize, however, is that — even if they have paid for a perfect repair of the car — there is an additional damage claim known as “diminution in value” for which they may recover.

What is Diminution in Value?

The “diminution in value” claim is quite unique in that it accounts for a psychological trend among consumers that causes vehicles with an accident history — even if they are in absolutely perfect condition — to have a reduced resale value.  Thus, any fairly contemplated award of damages must account for the eventual, diminished value of the vehicle.

How is Diminished Value Calculated?

The diminished value of your vehicle will be determined on the basis of a variety of different factors, including, but not necessarily limited, to:

  • Age of the vehicle in question
  • Model of the vehicle
  • Brand
  • Mileage
  • Condition before and after the accident
  • Extent of damage vehicle suffered during accident
  • Quality of repairs
  • Objective value of vehicle before the accident
  • Difficulty of reselling activities after the accident
  • Presence of interested buyers

These factors are all dispositive, but you’ll have to introduce expert testimony that puts hard numerical estimates on the pre-accident and post-accident value of your vehicle.  Your attorney will have specific experts on-hand who can be trusted to provide an accurate evaluation.

Contact a Qualified Phoenix Accident Attorney for Guidance on Your Claims

In Arizona, and all other states, injured plaintiffs may assert damages for the economic losses they sustain to their vehicle.  These claims are not necessarily simple, however.  You’ll want to work with a qualified attorney who is intimately familiar with the process of securing damages for both economic and non-economic injuries.

Here at Hirsch & Lyon, our team of attorneys boast decades of experience providing skilled legal advocacy to injured plaintiffs in Arizona.  Unlike many other injury firms, we are focused on motor vehicle accidents and associated claims — car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian-based claims — and as such, we are particularly well-suited to litigate these disputes to the fullest extent.  We also offer discounted contingency fees that ensure that our clients can keep more of what they receive in damages.

Interested in learning more?  Call (602) 737-0532 or submit a case evaluation form today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix accident attorney here at Hirsch & Lyon.  During the initial consultation, we will assess your claims and determine the best way to move forward to secure maximum compensation.