Auto accidents can leave one severely injured and in financial distress. The vehicle accident victim has to undergo medical assignment, look after the damage, and file a claim. Typically, the victim of an auto accident files a compensation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. Before releasing any payout to the victim, the insurance company runs an investigation to assess the damage. However, insurance settlements often fail to compensate for the damage and other expenses fully. Auto accident attorneys Virginia Beach often suggest their clients file a diminished value claim. After an auto accident, however minor, the value of the vehicle depreciates. One can recover this cost by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
So, let’s understand what Virginia’s Diminished Value Compensation is and how to file a claim.
The Virginia Code § 46.2-1600 defines the Diminished Value Compensation as the additional amount payable by the insurance company to the accident victim to recover the vehicle’s reduced value due to the accident.
According to Virginia law, the auto accident victim can claim to recover the vehicle’s reduced value even after getting it repaired. One can claim the reduced value in addition to other expenses like repair and medical bills.
Suppose you are a victim of an auto accident and your vehicle has sustained damage. In that case, you can claim the difference between the market value of your car before the accident and its value after the accident.
If your car is a total loss or totaled, you can claim the car’s entire value before the crash. If your vehicle is not totaled, you can file a claim to recover your car’s diminished value plus the cost to repair it.
When should you file a diminished value claim? Is it worth it?
Usually, auto accident lawyer Virginia Beach suggests going for diminished value compensation only if the vehicle’s damage is substantial or the vehicle in question is valuable or collectible. In most auto accident cases, a diminished value claim is not required.
Before going for a diminished value claim after an auto accident, it’s recommended to consider three things.
- Is the vehicle in question collectible, older,
- Is the car expensive,
- Or the accident has resulted in a sharp decline in the car’s value.
Whether you choose to claim for diminishing value or not is entirely up to you. However, it’s recommended to discuss the pros and cons of your case with a qualified attorney.
What evidence should one collect to file for a diminished value claim?
For a successful diminished value claim after an auto accident, you must collect evidence that supports your claim. You must focus on providing a set value for your vehicle before the accident and after the accident.
Here are the things that you should collect:
- Pictures of your vehicle before the accident,
- Photos of your vehicle soon after the accident,
- Photos of your vehicle after it gets repaired,
- A signed affidavit from a qualified appraiser to document your vehicle’s loss in value.