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Car accident - diminished value claim?

Puppmom

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 25, 2007
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3,160
Anyone ever file a diminished value claim for a car accident? Long story short - I was rear ended while at a stop light on Saturday. The person behind be rammed in to me just as the light turned green. He said he wasn't paying attention and went as soon as he saw the opposing light turn red. Neither of us were hurt so all good there. However, the damage to my car is extensive - my 2015 minivan with less than 8,000 miles. ;( He had a Jeep Wrangler with that fancy towing bumper (or whatever the technical term for it is) so the entire lift gate system including the inside cargo space of my van needs to be replaced along with my bumper. The damages exceed $5k and will be paid for by his insurance.

Both my insurance rep and the body shop estimator recommended that I consider filing a claim with the other driver's insurance for diminished value. This is because my car is so new and may significantly depreciate as the result of the accident. I am not the type to nickel and dime because, hey, crap happens...but it sounds like this could have a pretty significant financial impact on me.

So, has anyone done this? Any pointers? I've read you should present them with your own calculation (maybe from the dealer) because the calculator the insurance companies use weighs very much in their favor and is not at all close to the actual loss incurred.

ETA - no frame damage if that makes a difference.
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 2, 2013
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6,224
First off, I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, and glad you're all okay/weren't hurt. Having been in 10+ car accidents in my life (none of which have been my fault), I certainly feel for ya!

Are you handling this yourself vs. through an attorney? The latter should be able to advise or know what/when to request diminished value; the former, I'd think you could do one of two things and include the outcome in your 'demand' letter to the insured's company:

1) ask your dealer to provide a written statement of estimated value pre- and post-accident (e.g., what would they offer the vehicle for sale for at the point prior to the accident and what they would expect to offer it for considering it has been in an accident.

2) take it to a Carmax and ask for the same.

One thing though - I would NOT accept any payment for your vehicle in terms of repairs/value/etc. until AFTER you have this issue confirmed and addressed in some manner. The reason I say this is - in my experience - insurance companies handle property damage (car) vs. personal injuries (physically to you/passengers) separately when they settle claims. If you 'accept' whatever they offer to fix your car, it may indicate (in the fine print) that the payment/repair represents all they will pay for the property damage portion of your claim, and that may eliminate your chances of later asking for the diminished value. Hope that makes sense.

If you don't have or plan to have an attorney represent you, it may behoove you to at least consult with a 'personal injury' or property damage attorney (maybe pay for an hour of consultation to answer your questions) who is experienced in dealing with vehicle accidents in your state to ensure you don't inadvertently eliminate any opportunities for filing such a claim. Personally, given I am a crash magnet for inattentive drivers averaging every three years, I have an attorney I call immediately after any accident to deal with the BS on my behalf.

Lastly, I wouldn't overlook the possibility that you do have physical injuries. The day or two after is usually worse than the 'day of' in terms of how you feel. And I can tell you first hand that while you may feel 'fine' now, in a year, 5 years, 10 years, these things DO take a toll on your body and expedite painful episodes that you otherwise may not experience until later in life due to usual aging processes. Don't overlook that fact for your own personal physical well-being.

Good luck!
 

Puppmom

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 25, 2007
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3,160
JoCoJenn, thanks for the response! 10? My goodness! I was in an accident a year ago that was my fault. Traffic came to stop in front of me and although I had plenty of room to stop my car began to skid as soon as I applied the brakes and then felt as if it completely lifted off the ground (braking, wheel turning made no difference). I couldn't avoid the person in front of me. The damage was not terrible and no one was hurt but scared the you know what out of both of us.

So...I submitted a claim through my insurance not his but his insurance company is cooperating and will pay my insurance company directly so I don't think I'm signing anything with his insurance company? But I'll check with mine. I wish this weren't so complicated! Maybe I should just talk to a lawyer. I honestly hadn't even thought of that - it seemed so unnecessary but I don't know how to navigate that part of the claim. I am unable to get lost value from my insurance company claim which would be so much easier. I have to pursue it directly with the other driver's insurance. At least that's how I understand it.

ETA - I really feel *uninjured* for lack of a better term. I don't know how I would tell whether or not issues down the road were a result of this accident. In my state, PA, I think the personal injury statute is 2 years. I only know this because about 12 years ago DH and I were in an accident that was not our fault and the other driver's insurance company paid for our damages etc. But exactly two years later, her passenger (who happened to be her mother), sued us for personal injury.
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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puppmom|1480610513|4104057 said:
I wish this weren't so complicated!
And that is why I have an attorney. I handled the first two myself, but after that, I said "eff-it" ... it's too cumbersome, frustrating, confusing, etc.

A quick google of how to determine diminished value seems to vary by state; what state do you live in?
 
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