If you have been involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the diminished value of your vehicle. This type of claim is known as a "diminished value claim," and it can be filed in Pennsylvania if certain conditions are met.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what a diminished value claim is, how it works in Pennsylvania, and what you need to do to file a successful claim.
What Is a Diminished Value Claim?
When your vehicle is involved in an accident, even if it is repaired perfectly, its resale value may decrease simply because it has been involved in an accident. This decrease in value is known as "diminished value," and it can be significant depending on the severity of the accident.
For example, let’s say you own a brand-new car that costs $30,000. If you are involved in an accident and your car sustains $10,000 worth of damage (which is then repaired), the resale value of your car may now only be $20,000 due to its history of being damaged.
A diminished value claim seeks compensation for this loss of resale value. In other words, if you file a diminished value claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company and win, you would receive money to compensate for the difference between your car’s pre-accident value and its post-accident (but repaired) value.
How Does Diminished Value Work in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, as with most states, there are certain criteria that must be met before you can file a diminished value claim. These criteria include:
- You must not have caused the accident: In order to file a successful diminished value claim in Pennsylvania (or any other state), you must not have been at fault for the accident that caused the damage to your vehicle.
- The damage to your vehicle must have been significant: Diminished value claims are typically only successful if the damage to your vehicle was significant. Minor scratches or dents usually don’t result in a significant enough loss of resale value to justify a diminished value claim.
- Your vehicle must be repaired: In order to file a diminished value claim, your vehicle must have been repaired after the accident that caused the damage. This is because it is impossible to accurately assess the diminished value of a vehicle that has not been repaired.
If these criteria are met, you may be eligible to file a diminished value claim in Pennsylvania.
How Do You File a Diminished Value Claim in Pennsylvania?
Filing a diminished value claim in Pennsylvania can be a complicated process, and it is recommended that you seek the assistance of an experienced attorney who specializes in personal injury law.
Here are some general steps you will need to follow if you decide to file a diminished value claim:
- Gather evidence: In order to file a successful diminished value claim, you will need evidence that proves the damage sustained by your vehicle and its resulting loss of resale value. This evidence may include photos of the damage, repair invoices, and expert appraisals.
- Notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company: You will need to formally notify the at-fault driver’s insurance company that you intend to file a diminished value claim against them.
- Negotiate with the insurance company: The insurance company may deny your claim outright or offer you an amount that is lower than what you believe your car’s actual loss of resale value is worth. An attorney can help negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
- File a lawsuit if negotiations fail: If negotiations with the insurance company do not result in an acceptable settlement amount, you may need to file a lawsuit against them in order to receive fair compensation for your loss.
A diminished value claim can be an important way for Pennsylvania residents to receive compensation for the loss of resale value that their vehicle may experience after an accident. However, filing a successful claim can be complicated and require the assistance of an experienced attorney.
If you have been involved in an accident and believe you may be entitled to file a diminished value claim, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury law in order to maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation.
What is a diminished value claim?
A diminished value claim is a legal claim made by a vehicle owner seeking compensation for the reduction in the value of their car after an accident.
Is Pennsylvania a diminished value state?
Yes, Pennsylvania recognizes the right to pursue diminished value claims.
Can I file a diminished value claim in Pennsylvania if I’m not at fault for the accident?
Yes, you can still file a diminished value claim even if you’re not at fault for the accident.
What factors are considered when determining the amount of compensation for a diminished value claim in Pennsylvania?
Factors such as the severity of the accident, extent of damage to your vehicle, age and mileage of your car before and after repairs, and pre-accident condition are considered when determining compensation for a diminished value claim in Pennsylvania.
Do I need an attorney to file a diminished value claim in Pennsylvania?
While it’s not mandatory to have an attorney, having one can increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your loss.
Can I file a diminished value claim if my car was repaired by an insurance-recommended repair shop?
Yes, you can still file a diminished value claim even if your car was repaired by an insurance-recommended repair shop.
How long do I have to file a diminished value claim in Pennsylvania?
The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania for filing a property damage claim including a DV (diminished value) is 2 years from date of loss/accident but it’s best practice to start early on making any claims.
Will my insurance rates increase if I file a diminished value claim?
No, filing a DV (Diminished Value) does not affect your future premiums, since it’s a collision claim, and not a comprehensive claim.
Can I still file a diminished value claim if I already settled with the insurance company?
Unfortunately, you cannot file a DV (Diminished Value) claim after you’ve accepted a settlement offered by the insurance company.
What documents do I need to prepare for filing a diminished value claim in Pennsylvania?
To file a DV (Diminished Value) claim in Pennsylvania, you will need to provide copies of repair estimates, invoices, photos of both pre and post-accident vehicle conditions, and any other related documentation or evidence that proves the loss in value of your vehicle.