Phoenix Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer for Diminution in Value Property Damage Claims
If you sustained property damage to your car, you may be able to recover damages not only for injuries or vehicle repairs, but also for the diminution value of the vehicle (meaning the additional loss in market value). These types of claims can be complex, and insurance companies may attempt to restrict compensation. For these reasons, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable Phoenix motor vehicle accident lawyer.
Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law P.L.L.C. has successfully handled both injury and property claims throughout Phoenix and surrounding areas in Arizona. We can help you file a claim to obtain the full spectrum of damages you deserve after being involved in a crash. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our accident attorneys to learn more about your options for recovery.
What is Diminution in Value after a Car Accident?
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 owner is asking $10,000 for the car. Naturally, you do your research and discover the following:
- Car 1 was in a collision and sustained $4,000 in damages
- Car 2 has never been in an 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 he may lose the sale, he asks 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. However, you ultimately decide you are too concerned about the quality of the repairs or residual damage. As a result, you decline his offer. The owner then asks 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 $2,000 discount accounts for repairs made after an accident. This is the diminution in value of the vehicle.
What Car Owners Need to Know About Diminished Value Claims in Arizona
When a vehicle sustains damage after an accident in Arizona, the owner can make a legal claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the vehicle’s diminution in value. This means the insurance company is not only required to repair the vehicle, it must also make the owner whole again by compensating 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 motor vehicle 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
Was your car damaged in a collision that was not your fault? Do you want to preserve your right to file a diminution in value claim? Then do not sign a property damage release after your car is 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.
Recovering for Property Loss — Aspects of the Claim
In the personal injury and motor vehicle accident contexts, property loss falls under the umbrella of economic damages. There are (generally speaking) two forms of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages — such as property loss, wage loss, and various medical expenses — are more objective and easier to measure, as they are based on actual financial losses. Non-economic damages — such as pain and suffering — are somewhat more challenging to evaluate, as they are subjective in nature.
Despite the fact that property loss is a component of one’s objective and measurable economic damages claim, there are still many points of contention (in identifying and calculating the loss at-issue) that may become a problem.
Cost of Repair
The cost of repairs may be an issue for some defendants (more specifically, their insurers) as they might disagree that the repairs are necessary to return the vehicle to a reasonably safe working condition. In some cases, the defendant may argue that you could have obtained the repair services for a lower price from a different shop, or that you could have had a less expensive, alternative repair. You’ll want to demonstrate — perhaps with the aid of expert testimony — that the particular damages your vehicle sustained actually required the repairs that you obtained, and that the cost of such repairs are consistent with industry standards.
Replacing the Vehicle
If your vehicle is “too far gone,” so to speak, and is fundamentally unsalvageable through repairs, then you may be entitled to secure damages for total loss of the vehicle in the form of replacement costs. These costs are rather straightforward — you may obtain damages that compensate you for the cost of the vehicle that you had to purchase as a replacement for your damaged one. Generally speaking, you are only entitled to recover for the original value of the lost vehicle (i.e., you cannot purchase a more expensive vehicle and have that cost reimbursed by the defendant), but talk to you Phoenix motor vehicle lawyer to learn the specifics of your claim.
Damages for Lost Use
Loss of use compensation accounts for the damages you sustain as a direct result of having an unusable vehicle for a specific period of time — whether you are currently having your vehicle repaired, or on the lookout for a replacement. Lost use of a vehicle is generally equivalent to the cost of renting a vehicle (the vehicle must be roughly equivalent to your original vehicle) in the interim period.
Damages for Lost Resale Value
In Arizona, those who have their vehicles damaged in an accident (due to another’s negligent acts) are entitled to damages for lost resale value — this concept is known as diminution in value. Essentially, even if you have perfectly repaired your damaged vehicle, the fact that the vehicle has an “accident history” will necessarily reduce its resale value on the market. This reduction in value may be claimed as a loss.
Contact a Phoenix Motor Vehicle 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 extremely difficult. An experienced Phoenix diminution in value lawyer knows what it takes to establish and win these complex property damage cases. When you work with a Phoenix car accident lawyer 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 or contact us online.