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West Virginia Diminished Value Claims

Posted in Car accident on April 22, 2020

After an auto accident, even if you pay for vehicle repairs, your car will not be worth as much as it was before the crash. A history of auto accidents diminishes the resale or trade-in value of your vehicle, no matter how much or how little the crash damaged your car. Fortunately, West Virginia permits you to file a diminished value claim to recover the difference between what your car used to be worth and what it is worth now. An experienced car accident attorney in West Virginia can help with your diminished value claim for the best results.

Three Types of Diminished Value

Before you file your property damage claim, learn which type of diminished value applies to your case. The State of West Virginia allows claimants to file three main types of diminished value lawsuits based on the situation.

  1. Immediate diminished value. This refers to the actual resale or trade-in value of the motor vehicle now, before repairs, compared to the pre-crash value. You can calculate this amount as the difference in resale value before you make repairs.
  2. Inherent diminished value. This refers to the lost value of the vehicle because it has been in an accident. Even after full repairs, the vehicle will be worth less than an identical car that has not been in an accident.
  3. Repair-related diminished value. Sometimes, auto repairs after an accident are not up to standard. Low-quality or improper repairs can lead to diminished vehicle value. Incomplete or incorrect repairs can negatively impact the value of the car.

You will need to know the true value of your vehicle before and after the crash to file a diminished value claim in West Virginia. This will take a full auto appraisal. A professional auto appraisal can take into account the full history of your vehicle and give you an expert estimate of what it is currently worth. A lawyer can help you with this process.

How to File a Claim

In West Virginia, the law allows you to seek compensation for the difference in your vehicle’s value now and before the crash. No matter which type of diminished value your vehicle has, a civil claim could lead to financial compensation for the difference. Note, however, that you cannot bring a diminished value claim if you caused the car accident, or if the damage to your vehicle did not arise from an auto accident (e.g. a vandal damaged your car). The damage must have occurred in an auto accident that someone else caused.

First, file a diminished value claim with the at-fault party’s auto insurance provider. You can seek compensation for diminished vehicle value at the same time as a claim for medical costs and vehicle repairs. Use the professional estimate you received from the auto appraisal to prove the diminished value of your vehicle to the insurance provider. If the other driver’s insurance provider denies your claim, try filing with your own insurer. Hire a lawyer to help you with each phase of the claims process. A lawyer can make sure you meet all the requirements and file your claim by the deadline.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

An insurance provider – yours or the other driver’s – will not want to maximize your financial recovery after an auto accident. The insurance company may try to downplay your vehicle’s damages or argue about its value. Hiring a lawyer can be the most effective way to file a claim. A lawyer can also achieve fair recompense for diminished vehicle value. A lawyer can make sure an auto appraisal is accurate, fill out all the necessary paperwork and file a diminished value claim by West Virginia’s deadline. Then, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance claims adjuster for fair and full compensation for your losses. Hiring an attorney can make a diminished value claim easier to negotiate and more rewarding for you and your family.