Property Damage: Accident Attorney Explains Diminished Resale Value

Video Transcript

Man: Do I need an accident attorney for my case or can I save the money? Greg Lyon has practiced personal injury and wrongful death law in Arizona for over 40 years. He has handled thousands of cases exclusively representing Arizona accident victims. He does not represent insurance companies.

Greg: Hello, my name is Greg Lyon. I am a Phoenix attorney that has practiced in this field over 40 years. The purpose of these videos is to answer the question, do I need an attorney to handle my car accident case or can I do it myself and save some money? I will give you much the same advice and information I provide my clients during the course of handling their personal injury cases.

Today we will be discussing diminished resale value in conjunction with a car or truck that has had significant damage but was repaired by the at fault party’s insurance company. The best way to determine diminished resale value is by giving an example in a car buying scenario. Let’s say you are shopping for a 2010 Honda Civic. You find two cars that are identical and that they are the same year, make, model, equipment and mileage. Each of the owners are asking $10,000 for their respective cars. In trying to decide which card to purchase, you ask questions of the owners and learn that one has been in an accident and repaired to the tune of $4,500. You have concerns about this car, specifically the alignment, the quality of the repairs, and whether over time the new paint will fade at different rate. These are all valid concerns when purchasing a repaired vehicle. It is an easy choice so long as the price of the two cars are the same. But what if the owner of the repaired vehicle offers you a discount? Would you take a chance if he takes $1,000 off the asking price? How about $1,500? The amount of the agreed upon discount is how much you will lose when you attempt to sell your vehicle. We call this the diminution in value of the repaired vehicle. This claim is recognized in Arizona and is ordinarily paid out of property damage liability coverage of the at fault driver. It is highly unlikely that the claims adjuster will even tell you about these legal rights. They will pay to have your car fixed and hope that you never consult an attorney.

Like every other component of an accident claim, legally admissible proof is required in order to be successful in presenting a diminished resale value claim. We employ a property damage expert that examines the vehicle, does a thorough market search and then writes the report we use as evidence of the loss in value to the vehicle owned by our client. This is not a claim against your own insurance company. In Arizona, this claim can be brought against the liability insurance company only. After your car’s been repaired, and if you intend to make a diminished resale value claim, do not sign a release. If you do, it will extinguish the rest of your legal rights for additional compensation. If presented with a release, I strongly recommend that you have it reviewed by an accident lawyer before it is signed. If you need help, take advantage of our free consultation by calling 602-535-1900 or visit our website at hirschandlyonaccidentlaw.com.