What is Diminution in Value?
Imagine yourself shopping for a used car. You have narrowed your selections down to two vehicles–both are identical in year, make, model, accessories, condition and mileage. Each of the owners is asking $10,000 for the car. During the course of your investigation into the two vehicles, you discover that one of the cars was involved in a collision and sustained $4,000 in damages, while the other vehicle has never been involved in a car accident. Obviously, if all things were equal, you would choose the car that has not been in an accident.
When the owner of the damaged and repaired vehicle realizes that he is going to lose a sale, he asks you if you would be willing to buy his car if he discounts the price by $1,000. You take some time to think about the offer but ultimately decide that you are too concerned about the quality of the repairs or residual damage and decline his offer. The owner then asks you if you would purchase the car if he reduces the price by $2,000. You decide the $2,000 discount is worth the risk and accept the offer. The amount of the discount ($2,000) is the diminution in value of the vehicle that has been damaged and repaired in an accident.
Diminished Value Claims in Arizona
In the state of Arizona, when a vehicle is damaged in an accident, the owner can make a legal claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the vehicle’s diminution in value. This means that not only is the insurance company required to repair the vehicle, it must also make the owner whole again by compensating the owner for the additional loss in the vehicle’s market value.
Make no mistake about it, the insurance industry hates to pay for diminution in value when a car is damaged and repaired after a wreck. However, with aggressive representation from a Phoenix accident lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law P.L.L.C, we can properly assess and win these types of claims on behalf of our clients.
Be Careful – Do Not Sign a Property Damage Release
If your car has been damaged in a collision (not your fault) and you want to preserve your right to file a diminution in value claim, you cannot sign a property damage release after the car has been fixed. When you sign the property damage release form, you are not only settling the property damage claim and giving up your right to sue on the claim, you are also releasing the diminution in value claim.
Contact a Phoenix Accident Lawyer to Review Your Diminution in Value Claim
Pursuing a diminution in value claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company can be an extremely difficult undertaking. Diminished value cases require an experienced car accident lawyer who knows what it takes to establish and win these complex property damage claims. When you work with the legal team at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law, we will bring in an expert witness who will prepare a detailed report to establish the amount of your diminished value loss. Call us today at 602-535-1900 to schedule a free consultation.