How To Make A Diminished Value Claim After A Car Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Charlotte that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to make a diminished value claim. This claim is for the loss in your vehicle’s market value due to the accident. Here’s an in-depth guide on how to make a diminished value claim in North Carolina.

What is Diminished Value?

Diminished value is the term used to describe the decrease in your vehicle’s market value following an accident. Despite undergoing repairs, the resale value of your vehicle is expected to be lower than its pre-accident value. This depreciation in market value is what’s referred to as diminished value.

Who Can File a Diminished Value Claim?

The eligibility to file a claim based on diminished value is solely for those who are found to be blameless in the accident. The claim is lodged with the insurance company of the party found at fault. However, if the other driver does not have insurance, you have the option to submit a claim for diminished value with your insurance provider.

Steps to File a Diminished Value Claim

1. Assemble Relevant Paperwork 

Collect important paperwork such as the accident report, summary of the insurance claim, and invoices from the repair service.

2. Get Your Vehicle Appraised

Prior to filing a claim with the opposing driver’s insurance provider, it’s necessary to get your vehicle evaluated and reassessed to substantiate the actual decrease in its value. The optimal approach would be to have your vehicle evaluated by a professional and obtain a written appraisal.

3. File the Claim

Upon gathering all the required documents and obtaining an appraisal that demonstrates the diminished value of your vehicle, you are ready to submit your claim to the insurance company of the party at fault. To submit a diminished value claim in North Carolina, it’s typically done by writing a letter to your insurance provider, in which you ask for the diminished value you’ve determined.

The Role of Fair Market Value in Diminished Value Claims

In the context of a diminished value claim, you are entitled to the difference between (a) the fair market value of your car before any damages occurred minus (b) the fair market value of your car after it has been repaired. This difference represents the diminished value of your vehicle due to the accident.

you can file an insurance claim for your car's loss in value after an accident

How to Determine the Fair Market Value

Determining the FMV of your vehicle involves researching online for used car sales prices. The best places to get quotes are salvage yards, used car dealerships, and certain body repair shops. If you need help with obtaining a quote, consider contacting a North Carolina auto appraiser.

The Impact of Damage Disclosure Laws on Fair Market Value

North Carolina enforces strict laws regarding the disclosure of accident damage. It is a legal requirement for both private sellers and car dealerships to provide a written disclosure of any damage that exceeds 25% of the fair market value to potential buyers. 

This mandatory disclosure can adversely affect the fair market value, as most buyers would prefer a vehicle with no history of accidents over one that has been involved in a crash.

The Appraisal Clause in North Carolina

In the event that you and the insurance provider are unable to reach a consensus on the diminished value amount (the disparity in market value pre- and post-accident), and this difference exceeds either $2,000 or 25% of the fair market value, the appraisal clause can be invoked by either party. This clause allows for an independent appraiser to determine the diminished value.

Important Considerations

  • Statute of Limitations: You have 3 years to file a diminished value claim in North Carolina.
  • Insurance Coverage: North Carolina requires $25,000 in coverage for property damage and uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value.
  • Damage Disclosure Laws: North Carolina has stringent accident damage disclosure laws. Both individual sellers and car dealerships are required by law to disclose any damage that’s over 25% of fair market value to the buyer.

Our Charlotte Car Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help

Remember, it’s always best to consult with a legal professional when dealing with insurance claims. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our Charlotte accident lawyers at 704-706-2689 for a free consultation.