Diminished Value Claims in North Carolina Car Accidents
When your car is damaged in an accident when another driver was at-fault, you expect the insurance company to pay for its repair. In many cases, though, the damage to the car’s value can’t be fixed – it’s simply worth less than it was prior to the crash.
That’s “diminished value” in a nutshell, and it’s something you should ask for. We see this money being left on the table too often!
How Does Diminished Value Work in North Carolina?
When a vehicle has been damaged and repaired, it’s generally worth less than it would have been had it not been damaged in the first place. That reduced value is part of the harms and losses you suffer when someone causes an accident and damages your car. It’s something you should seek compensation for.
How Will Someone Know My Car Was Damaged?
Services like CarFax and AutoCheck use the information they have available to build vehicle histories, and many (if not most) people will prefer a vehicle with no previous damage to one that has been repaired.
It’s also worth noting that North Carolina has fairly comprehensive damage reporting requirements as a matter of law. Putting all these pieces together, your car is likely to be less desirable in the event you need to sell it. Its value has been diminished.
How Is Diminished Value Calculated in North Carolina?
It depends on what your car was worth before the accident and its value after it is repaired. The difference between those numbers is the “diminished value.” For example, let’s say your car was worth $20,000 before the accident, and was in good condition for its age and mileage. After the accident, and the subsequent repairs, it is only worth $15,000. The difference is $5,000, and that’s what you would seek in a diminished value claim.
The language that governs diminished value in North Carolina comes from N.C.P.I – Civil 106.62 Property Damage. Specifically:
“The plaintiff’s actual property damages are equal to the difference between the fair market value of the property immediately before it was damaged and its fair market value immediately after it was damaged.”
There may also be complicating factors. What if your car was leased? What happens when you turn it in? What if you and the insurance company disagree on the pre- and post-accident value of your car? There are many questions that may arise, and we recommend consulting with an experienced diminished value attorney in North Carolina.
How Do I File a Diminished Value Claim?
You ask for it. It works in the exact same way as any other request for compensation – meaning you can file a claim for diminished value or have an attorney file it for you. There are too many things for people to think about following an accident, so they focus on the immediate and obvious. Medical payments if they’re injured. Car repairs. Day-to-day needs that are in upheaval since the accident. Most people forget about diminished value, if they knew about it in the first place.
Insurance companies probably love this, because it means they get to keep money in their pockets. Some may not remind you to make a claim for diminished value. They’re happy to send you through their direct repair program and send you on your way as inexpensively as possible.
James Scott Farrin Shareholder and Senior Litigation Attorney Hoyt Tessener spoke with ABC11 News about diminished value claims.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Diminished Value Claims in North Carolina?
Three years from the date of the accident. Remember, you can claim for diminished value in North Carolina as long as you were not the at-fault driver. If the other driver was not insured, your uninsured motorist coverage could potentially cover your diminished value claim.
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin if You Believe You Have a Diminished Value Case
If you aren’t at least considering a diminished value claim, you could be leaving money on the table – money that you’re entitled to! Even if the insurance company makes an offer, how do you know it’s fair? We can help. Call us right away at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Don’t leave money on the table – tell them you mean business!