Austin Diminished Value Lawyer

Anybody who has been unfortunate enough to be involved in a car wreck knows that it can be one of the worst days of your life.

But the impact of an accident can stretch far beyond what you have to deal with on that day. A wreck can negatively impact your life and your health for months or years after the fact.

And while your attention may be—rightly—focused on immediate personal injuries and property damage, don’t ignore another way that a wreck can harm your financial well-being: the diminished value of your automobile.

The attorneys at the Evans Law Firm can help you make sense of the confusion that happens after any automobile accident, and can guide you toward getting all the compensation you deserve for the post-accident diminished value of your car. Consult with an auto accident attorney today to find out whether you have a case.

UNDERSTANDING DIMINISHED VALUE

Car accidents cost a lot of money. Your insurance premiums may go up, you’ll have to pay for doctor visits and car repairs, and you may miss work. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that highway collisions carry an annual price tag of $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm. Findings from a study by the Insurance Research Council show that, in 2013, the average auto liability claim for property damage was $3,231; the average auto liability claim for bodily injury was $15,506; the average collision claim was $3,144; and the average comprehensive claim was $1,621.

But even after all those claims are settled, there is the behind-the-scenes cost of diminished value to consider. Simply put, diminished value means that a wreck has made your auto less valuable than it was before the wreck. This means that when the time comes to sell, you’ll get less money for your car than you would if the accident had never happened—even if the car has been repaired perfectly.

Think about this: You see two autos on the car lot. They’re identical except for one thing: one car has a clean accident history, while the other was involved in a wreck. Which are you more likely to buy?

The good news is that in Texas and a few other states, you can file a claim for the diminished value of your vehicle, as long as the accident was not your fault.

Texas law recognizes three kinds of diminished value:

  1. Inherent Diminished Value: This is the idea that a vehicle suffers a loss in value simply because it has been in an accident in the past—even if the vehicle has been fully repaired. This is the most widely accepted standard in recovering diminished value claims.
  2. Repair-Related Diminished Value: This occurs when a vehicle has not been repaired in a satisfactory manner, leaving damage that is visible to the naked eye.
  3. Immediate Diminished Value: This is defined as the difference in value of the vehicle immediately after an accident—before repairs are even made—compared with immediately before the accident. This standard is not very widely used in recovering diminished value claims.

SUBMITTING A DIMINISHED VALUE CLAIM

Insurance companies will consider many factors in determining the diminished value of your vehicle, including:

  • The market value of the vehicle prior to damage
  • The year, make, and model of the vehicle
  • Mileage
  • Prior damage
  • Marketability of title
  • Amount of damage
  • Location of damage
  • Type of repairs performed.

However, every insurer may value each of these items differently, and not necessarily to your advantage.

At the end of the day, there is no set formula in Texas for determining diminished value.

The limitations period for this type of claim is two years from the date of the accident, so you must settle your claim or file suit against the other driver before the time has expired or you are forever barred from doing so.

Austin Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

The advice of a qualified attorney can be very valuable in the claims process. The auto accident attorneys at the Austin-based Evans Law Firm are well-versed in Texas diminished value laws and can help make sure that any settlement will be in your best interests. Get expert help before you try to take on this process yourself. Contact the Evans Law Firm today to schedule your free case consultation.