What Can I Do if a Collision Depreciates the Value of My Car?

smartphone being used to photograph car damagesNew cars begin to lose value in an amazingly short time, even without being involved in an accident. In fact, as soon as you drive them off the lot, they may depreciate by as much as 11 percent. However, when your vehicle is involved in a collision, the depreciation is more significant - the value could drop by as much as 50 percent. Even if you get your vehicle repaired, it will always have a permanent damage history.

Fortunately, Tennessee is a state that permits diminished value claims. This means that after a crash you did not cause, you may have legal options for regaining some of the lost value to your vehicle. Contact our law offices anytime, 24/7, to learn more.

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How Much is My Diminished Value Claim Worth?

First, it is important to note that you cannot file a diminished value claim if you were at fault for the crash or if something other than a crash damaged your car. Beyond that, the circumstances are different for every vehicle, so the value will also vary. There are a number of considerations that can impact the depreciation of a vehicle. Some cars may lose more value than other vehicles damaged in a similar situation. 

Additionally, while you can go through the insurance company on your own, they are unlikely to give you a fair offer. Remember that their goals are not the same as yours. Insurers have to consider the financial health of their company first, so they will try to resolve every claim as cheaply as possible. What this means for you is that the offer you receive from the insurance company will almost always be far below fair market value.

Having an experienced attorney handle your claim on your behalf can make a significant difference to the outcome of your claim. At Greg Coleman Law, for instance, we have decades of experience handling these types of claims every day. We have recovered millions on behalf of our clients, and we always fight for the maximum amount of compensation possible.

What Factors Impact My Car’s Value After a Crash?

There are a lot of factors that determine your car’s value after an accident and whether you may be able to file a diminished value claim, such as:

  • The make and model of your vehicle
  • How old your vehicle is
  • What condition your car was in prior to the crash
  • How much mileage was on your car
  • The type and severity of the damages to your vehicle
  • How much work it will take to repair your car
  • The quality of the repairs to your car (refurbished parts vs brand new parts, etc.)
  • Whether there were other car crashes in your vehicle’s history

A knowledgeable attorney can help you throughout this process. We know how to gather the necessary information and evidence, calculate the value of your claim and determine if it will be worth your time to pursue it. Sometimes, a vehicle may be too old to make it worthwhile.

Is There a Time Limit for Submitting a Diminished Value Claim?

Like other diminished value states, there is a statute of limitations. In simple terms, it is the deadline by when you must file your claim. If you miss that date, you will be barred from making a claim.

In Tennessee, the statute of limitations is just three years from the date of your car crash. Often, people hear that deadline and think they have plenty of time. However, it is important to keep in mind that legal processes can often be slow. Your attorney needs time to gather the evidence and information to help prove your claim. Negotiating with the insurance company also takes time.

We encourage you to contact a licensed attorney quickly after an accident to get started on your claim immediately. Working with an attorney from day one can also help you avoid making mistakes that could hurt the value of your claim. For instance, where you get your repairs done could make a significant difference to the value of your claim.

How Do I File a Diminished Value Claim?

There are different types of diminished value claims, but the approach is the same – and the process can be more involved than for other claims.

Pursuing a diminished claim involves:

  • Learning what rules apply: Check with the insurance company to determine what rules apply in your situation. For instance, what if the damages to your car were caused by something else? What if you were partially liable for the crash? Can you still file a claim?
  • Gathering the evidence you need: Evidence could include obtaining post-repair images of your car – and of the repairs, photos from the crash scene, and other records that show there was no prior damage to your vehicle.
  • Obtaining proof of your car’s diminished value: You will need to get a certified appraiser to help determine the current value of your car.

Contact Our Trusted Law Firm for Help With Your Diminished Value Claim

At Greg Coleman Law, we have a team of legal professionals ready to fully handle your case. We understand Tennessee’s laws for diminished value claims and know how to protect your interests.

Our motor vehicle attorneys in Knoxville are prepared to help and offer a free initial consultation with a qualified attorney. There is no obligation to move forward with a claim. However, if we represent you, we help level the legal playing field by taking cases on contingency. For our clients, this means no upfront costs and no fees while we work on your case. We only get paid our fees if we recover compensation for you.

Learn if you have a claim today. Ph: (865) 247-0080