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If it wasn’t your fault and you live in Ohio, you may very well have a legitimate financial claim against the at-fault party known as inherent diminished value. As a fairly recent legal concept, Diminished Value has the potential to significantly alter the automobile insurance landscape. Though largely unknown, Diminished Value is simply the amount of loss in a vehicle’s fair market value because it has now been involved in an accident. After all, isn’t one of the first things you ask a seller, “Has the car ever been in an accident?”
Naturally, vehicles that have been wrecked are worth less than a similar vehicle without accident history. Even repaired vehicles without detectable flaws carry risks to potential buyers. Were the body panels replaced with original factory parts or aftermarket replacements? Were damaged panels actually replaced, or was excessive body filler used to repair them? Will the new paint crack, craze, fade or peel prematurely?
While a proper repair should last for decades, not all repairs are done properly. Think of the number of new cars that are leased. Where is the incentive for the owner to pay for high quality repairs when the car will belong to someone else in a couple of years? With today’s access to vehicle history reports like Carfax and Autocheck, a larger percentage of buyers have access to accident history that, not too long ago, would have only been determined by hiring a professional to perform a pre-purchase inspection. While vehicle history reports are not infallible and often fail to report accident history (a topic for another discussion) they have nonetheless significantly altered the purchasing dynamics of the used car marketplace.
So, how much money are we talking about? Naturally, the answer is that it depends... sometimes $800 and sometimes $30,000. Newer and lower mileage cars tend to suffer more, as do higher end and enthusiast models. For example, a late model BMW M3 buyer is likely to be more particular about a prior accident than his or her neighbor shopping for a decade-old Honda for a teenager.
Another significant factor in determining Diminished Value is the extent of the accident damage. If your front bumper was replaced and a fender repaired, you may have a claim worth pursuing. However, an accident with repairs costing several thousand dollars, or one that results in structural/frame damage or airbag deployment can result in claims of significant dollar amounts.
The actual amount is usually determined by hiring a certified appraiser that specializes in this area of valuation. Once you have your appraisal report with a diminished value number, you submit it to the at fault party and, if your claim is less than 2 years old in Ohio, you can expect a settlement offer. Sometimes, if the appraisal methodology is flawed or the demand is unrealistic, and neither side can settle, the civil courts will decide.
Our litigation success rate has been extremely high. Please feel free to call (937-671-0768) or email (email@example.com) to discuss your specific situation with full confidentiality and absolutely no obligation anytime.