If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Atlanta, you may be entitled to file a diminished value claim. This is a claim for the loss in value your vehicle has suffered as a result of the accident. This guide will provide you with a detailed understanding of what diminished value is, how to file a claim, and the specific laws in Georgia that pertain to these claims.
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Understanding the Concept of Diminished Value
Diminished value is when your vehicle’s market value is reduced after being involved in an accident. Even after repairs, your vehicle may not have the same value as it did before the accident. This is due to the fact that future buyers will be wary of purchasing a vehicle that has been involved in an accident.
In Georgia, there are three different kinds of diminished value.
Repair-Related Diminished Value
This occurs when your car’s value has decreased because the repairs were not done properly or completely. For example, if non-OEM parts were used or if there are still visible signs of damage.
Immediate Diminished Value
This is the immediate loss in value caused by the accident and is calculated before any repairs are made.
Inherent Diminished Value
It occurs when you’ve repaired your car but it’s still worth less than before because it now has an accident history. This is the most common type of diminished value.
Detailed Steps to Filing a Diminished Value Claim
Filing a diminished value claim in Georgia involves several steps.
Contact the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
The first step is to get in touch with the insurance company of the driver who was at fault for the accident. Inform them that you intend to file a claim and ask about diminished value.
Document the Car’s Market Value and Damage
You will need to provide evidence of your car’s market value before the accident and document the extent of the damage. This can be done using online tools, photos, and documents such as repair bills.
Prove the Diminished Value
You will need to demonstrate that your car’s value has indeed decreased following the accident. This can be done through market research (finding comparable cars for sale) or through a professional appraisal.
Satisfy All Conditions and Submit Your Claim
Each insurance company may have different conditions for filing a diminished value claim. Make sure you understand these conditions and have satisfied them before submitting your claim.
How Is Diminished Value Calculated in Georgia?
Diminished value in Georgia is determined by the difference in a vehicle’s worth before and after an accident. This figure represents the loss in market value, even after proper repairs.
The 17c formula is commonly used by insurance companies to calculate diminished value. This formula was established in the Mabry V State Farm lawsuit in Georgia. It starts with the pre-accident value of a vehicle, typically based on the National Automobile Dealers Association’s guide, and then applies a series of adjustments. These adjustments take into account the severity of damage and the vehicle’s mileage.
However, this formula has faced criticism for its potential bias against the vehicle owner. As such, it might be advantageous to consult with an independent appraiser or legal expert to ensure a fair evaluation.
It’s important to remember that Georgia law allows you to claim for diminished value after a car accident. An attorney can help you navigate the complicated process of making a diminished value claim.
Understanding Georgia’s Diminished Value Law
Georgia law recognizes that vehicles can have “inherent diminished value,” which means that even if your vehicle has been repaired to the best possible quality, its market value may still be less than what it was before the accident. This is especially true if the accident caused major damage.
Insurance companies must pay for diminished value if you qualify. The other driver’s insurance company should pay if you were not at fault. Interestingly, you can file a claim for diminished value with your insurance company if you were at fault for the accident.
Insurance companies often use various tactics to undervalue or attempt to dismiss your claim. It’s important to have an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer on your side.
Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help
Filing a diminished value claim in Georgia can be a complex process, but understanding how it works can help ensure you receive fair compensation. It’s not just about getting your vehicle repaired—it’s also about ensuring you’re compensated for any loss in its market value.