Pursuing Diminished Value Claims in South Carolina
If you have been in an auto accident and sustained physical injuries, you are probably very concerned about how to seek compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. But did you know that you can also make a claim for the lost value, or diminished value, of your car?
Diminished value is the difference between the value of your car before the accident and the value of it after it has been repaired to fix any damages caused by the accident. Successful diminished value insurance claims compensate you for this decline in value.
Cars lose value when they are repaired – even if the repairs are well done – because the car’s damage history can have a negative impact on its resale value. Autotrader.com warns readers of the threat of long-lasting damage and poor repair quality if they are considering purchasing a car that has been in a wreck.
So, if you’ve been in an accident caused by the other driver, should you pursue a diminished value claim?
You should at least talk to an experienced diminished value lawyer about whether you should pursue this type of claim. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 with your questions. We’re available 24/7. And read on to learn more about diminished value claims in South Carolina.
How Does Diminished Value Work in South Carolina?
Diminished value claims become an option for you only if you did not cause the accident. In South Carolina, you can file a diminished value claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If that driver is uninsured, you may be able to also file a diminished value claim with your own insurance company.
In South Carolina, there are two major scenarios in which an at-fault driver can be liable to compensate you for property damage to your vehicle:
- If your car is totaled, the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating you for the fair market value of your car at the time of the accident. This would not include any diminished value.
- If your car is damaged but repairable, the at-fault driver is responsible for the cost of repairs and any lost value. This would be a diminished value case.
South Carolina also has uninsured motorist coverage (UM) for diminished value, which means that if the at-fault driver was also not insured, your UM coverage could potentially cover a diminished value claim.
How Will Someone Know My Car Was Damaged?
In South Carolina, when drivers have been in an accident and contact their insurance company, the insurance company assesses the vehicle and records the data. This information can then be accessed by companies (such as Kelley Blue Book, CarFax, AutoCheck, National Insurance Crime Bureau, VehicleHistory, and autoDNA.com) and is made available to the public.
So, potential buyers will most likely be able to see your car’s accident history. And unfortunately, many people prefer to purchase a used car with no accident history.
How Do I Calculate Diminished Value in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, if your car is repairable after the wreck, diminished value is calculated by subtracting the worth of the car after the accident from the worth of the car before the accident. The cost of the repairs is added to this difference.
The following is an example of how diminished value can be calculated:
Are There Different Types of Diminished Value?
There are three main categories of diminished value:
- Inherent diminished value is the loss in value caused by the fact that the car had repairs, even if the repairs restored the car to its pre-accident condition.
- Repair-related diminished value is a loss in value based on the quality of the after-accident repairs which assumes that the car cannot be fully repaired to its pre-accident condition.
- Immediate diminished value is the loss in value calculated by a comparison of the car’s resale value before and after the accident.
How Do I File a Diminished Value Claim in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, drivers may seek diminished value from the at-fault-driver’s insurance company by following these steps:
- Determine the value of your car before the accident. You can refer to a source, such as Kelley Blue Book, to get an estimated value range.
- Contact the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
- Tell the insurance agent that you are filing a diminished value claim against one of their insured drivers.
- Provide any information requested.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you can then file a claim for auto insurance arbitration in court where both you and the insurance company present evidence to an arbitrator or arbitration panel who then decides if you are owed diminished value, and if so, in what amount.
Talk to a diminished value lawyer. Often, the insurance company is not too interested in providing information on this topic because it may mean more money out of their pocket. An attorney can answer your questions and help you establish the value of your car before the accident by taking into account facts such as the car’s age, condition before the accident, mileage, accident history, extent of damage, and marketplace demand.
You can file the claim on your own, or have an attorney do it for you. At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we often help our car accident clients who also want to seek compensation for the diminished value of their vehicles. Don’t miss out on compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact us for a free case evaluation.
What Is the South Carolina Statute of Limitations for Diminished Value Claims?
The statute of limitations for diminished value claims in South Carolina is generally three years from the date that the wreck occurred, but we recommend that you act as soon as possible. If you miss the filing deadline, your claim will likely be dismissed. Also, you may muddle your case by driving your car in the meantime and further decreasing its value. We urge you to discuss the possibility of filing a diminished value claim with an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney.
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin if You Believe You Have a Diminished Value Claim
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and also want to seek diminished value for your wrecked car, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 as soon as possible. We are here to help.
Our firm has more than 850 years of combined legal experience. Several of our attorneys have been practicing for at least 15 years. We also have several attorneys and paralegals who have previously worked for insurance companies and understand the tactics they employ. Put our experience and resources to work for you.
We want you to pursue all the compensation to which you may be entitled. In South Carolina, you have the right to pursue a diminished value claim. It’s time to tell them you mean business.