Your vehicle is repaired after a collision, is that all you're entitled to?
When you have been involved in a collision causing damage to your vehicle, the party responsible for the damage is also responsible for repairs. However, once your vehicle is repaired, that might not be the end or their responsibility.
Everyone is aware of CarFax, a service that gives you the history of a vehicle. CarFax contains information about collisions and repairs made to specific vehicles. The fact that a vehicle was damaged in a collision and repaired makes the vehicle worth LESS than a comparable vehicle without repaired damage. It does not matter that the vehicle was properly repaired. It's still worth less. This is called "Diminished Value".
How do I collect Diminished Value
Most states require the insurer to reimburse the owner for the difference between the vehicle before the collision compared to the vehicle after the collision. This means that if your vehicle is repaired, then you may be entitled to Diminished Value. This is determined on a State by State basis. Georgia is one state that requires both the liability insurance carrier and the owners own insurance carrier to pay Diminished Value. Don't let the insurer convince you to use a formula to determine diminished value. The only way to determine Diminished Value is to have a proper appraisal performed on the vehicle after the repairs have been made
What Reduces the Vehicles Value?
There are several issues effecting the Diminished Value after repair.
The first is the quality of the repair. If your repair shop did a sloppy job, that is going to effect the value.
The second is the use of after market parts. After market parts are parts not made by the manufacturer of your car. Aftermarket replacement components may not be made with the same quality of materials as the manufacturer's parts. That means they are more subject to corrosion and deterioration. That will negatively effect the value.
Finally, the amount of repair needed is going to effect the value. Obviously a vehicle with underlying frame damage will be worth much less than one with only cosmetic damage.
The bottom line, find out what your state allows, use a professional appraisal after the repairs, and if you need legal help consult with an attorney with experience in this area.
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