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Damage from a car accident significantly lowers the value of the vehicle as the reliability and the integrity of the car are reduced. In the state of Texas, you can claim compensation for the diminished value of your car. This article outlines the specifics for a car accident diminished value claim in Texas.
What Is a Diminished Value Claim?
A diminished value claim is a legal term that describes how an injured party can recover property damages. During an accident, a vehicle can sustain damage that ranges from a minor scratch of the paint to the vehicle becoming completely un-operational. The party responsible for the accident will be held liable for compensating the injured party for the damages that they sustained due to the accident.
The damage caused to the vehicle will determine the amount that will be awarded. In cases of totaled vehicles, the compensation will equal the value of the vehicle. For vehicles that can be repaired, the amount of compensation will be what is required to return the vehicle to its pre-accident state.
However, even if the vehicle can be restored, the original value of the car significantly decreases. This is because the damage from the accident causes underlying issues, such as a weakening in the car’s structure, that cannot be fully repaired. When this occurs, the victim of the accident is allowed to file a diminished value claim to the responsible party’s insurance company.
Texas Diminished Value Claims
The state of Texas allows you to file a claim for the diminished value of a vehicle after an accident. This claim must be filed within two years of the initial accident. The at-fault party cannot file for a diminished value claim. It is also important to note that the diminished value cannot be filed for damages that were there before the accident occurred. There are three categories that you can factor into how much compensation you get from your claim:
Repair-Related Diminished Value
Repair-related diminished value refers to the loss of value of the vehicle due to the inability to perfectly repair it. The car’s value will depreciate after the necessary repairs are made to the vehicle. This usually pertains to vehicles that have a rare color of car paint, foreign vehicles, or higher-end cars.
Immediate Diminished Value
Immediate diminished value claims involve the compensation given by the insurer of the car. Because insurance companies often do not give enough money to completely restore the car, the car’s value is significantly reduced. The value of the compensation given for this category is often the difference between the resale value of the vehicle before the accident and the resale value after the accident occurred but before the car was repaired.
Inherent Diminished Value
Inherent diminished value is commonly awarded by the courts. This award is meant to ensure that the vehicle receives the proper quality of repairs needed and is based on the resale value of the car after the damage has occurred. This means that the award is given based on the new value of the car after the repairs have been completed.
How to File a Diminished Value Claim
To file a diminished value claim, you will need to gather evidence to show that your vehicle’s value was diminished due to the damage it sustained from the accident. To do this, you will need to perform the following:
- Look up your car’s Kelly Blue Book Value before and after the accident.
- Get a used car dealer to evaluate the current value of your car.
- Make sure that you keep all receipts and documentation of all the relevant damage that happened due to the accident
Once you have this evidence, you will need to file the diminished claim through either a first-party insurance claim or a third-party insurance claim.
First-Party Insurance Claim: This type of claim is filed with your insurance company if you were the responsible party for the accident. This will be covered under collision coverage or comprehensive coverage.
Third-Party Insurance Claim: This type of claim needs to be filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Are You Thinking About Filing a Car Accident Diminished Claim?
If you’ve been in a car accident, contact the law firm of Juan Hernandez to get the compensation you deserve. Juan Hernandez is one of the 2% of personal injury attorneys in the state to be Texas Board Certified to practice personal injury law. His expertise can help you recover from an accident and claim the compensation you deserve to put your life back on track. Contact Hernandez Law Group today for a consultation.