I often write about personal topics in this space, but a law topic caught my attention recently and I wanted to share. As a longtime personal injury attorney, there’s not a lot I don’t know about Georgia Law that relates to my practice. But every now and again, I learn something new that I know will be valuable to my readers, too.
That’s why I want to talk this month about diminished value (DV) claims. Most people know that if you get in a car accident and the other drive was at fault, you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries and for property damage. But it’s less well-known that you may also be entitled to diminished value compensation, which accounts for the money you’ll lose out on when you go to resell your car due to its decreased value after having been in an accident.
Let’s say you look up the resale value of your vehicle in the morning, then get rear-ended on your way to work. You take all the necessary steps to get medical care, file an insurance claim, and eventually have your car repaired. Should you decide to look up your car’s post-accident value, you’ll likely be dismayed to find that the resale value of your vehicle has dropped considerably.
Cars with an accident history can be more difficult to sell, and they are also worth less money, even if they’ve been fully repaired and seem like new. While you can expect every car to depreciate with time, some studies show that cars that have been in accidents depreciate an additional 10%–25% more than cars that haven’t been in an accident.
Most insurance companies aren’t going to offer up this compensation. You’ve got to ask for it, and under Georgia law, they must give it to you. (Of course, we’re here to help you do the asking!) But there’s a catch. In order to qualify, your vehicle has to meet certain requirements. And this is the part that was news to me.
You qualify for this compensation if your vehicle:
- Has a market value of over 17,000
- Sustained property damage of over 1500
- Is less than 10 years old
- Has at least normal mileage
- Has a clean title
If your vehicle doesn’t meet all of those criteria, you’re out of luck. But if it does and you get in a car accident, don’t leave money on the table! Be sure to account for diminished value when you and your attorney are calculating damages. The at-fault driver’s insurance company is on the hook, by law, to pay for diminished value right alongside medical and property damage claims.
I’m sure I’ll be back to my usual inspirational content next month, but for now, I hope you’ve learned something that might even pay off in the future.
Enjoy the rest of this beautiful month!