Georgia is one of the few states to recognize that you have the right to recover your car’s diminished value after an accident, even from your own insurance carrier. Since 1926, Georgia has had a diminished value property damage law obligating insurers to pay you for the lost value of your car after it’s been in an accident.
By hiring legal assistance, you can have an Atlanta diminished value property damage claims attorney walk you through your claim and help you decide whether it’s best for you to retain an attorney. With years of experience in dealing with similar cases, John Foy and Associates offers expert advice from an Atlanta car accident attorney to ensure your rights are always protected.
What Is Diminished Value?
Diminished value is a loss in the value of your vehicle. It’s a very simple assumption. Even if your car is returned to its pre-accident condition, your car has lost value. It will never be worth what it was before the accident and the state recognizes that.
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Georgia Diminished Value Law
Since a ruling in 2001, the Georgia Diminished Value Law states that the at-fault party, generally the at-fault’s insurance company, is obligated to pay the costs of the repairs, as well as the value the vehicle has diminished since being in an accident.
In 2008, the Commission of Insurance and Fire Safety ordered State Farm Insurance to come up with a standard formula. It’s called the 17c formula, but it is not the only formula you may use to assess damages.
Qualifying for a Diminished Value Claim
In the state of Georgia, you must meet certain qualifications to be successful on a diminished value claim. If you are considering filing a diminished value insurance claim, speak with an Atlanta diminished value property damage claims attorney first to make sure you meet these required conditions:
- You cannot have a rebuilt or salvaged title
- Your vehicle must be worth at least $7,000 and be less than ten years old
- Your vehicle cannot have a history of more than one crash resulting in serious damage
- Your vehicle cannot have excessive mileage (more than 30,000 miles per year)
- You may not qualify if you have ever signed a release of liability form
Our team of car accident lawyers in Atlanta can assess your case and tell you if you qualify for a diminished value claim. Don’t hesitate to get a free initial consultation with our team. With expertise spanning various areas, John Foy and Associates also boast a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Atlanta ready to assist in diverse injury-related matters.
Types of Diminished Value After a Vehicle Accident
There are three types of diminished value claims that could affect your vehicle after an accident. These include:
- Immediate diminished value: The difference between a vehicle’s value before an accident compared to the value after the accident repairs have been completed.
- Inherent diminished value: The diminished value that happens after a vehicle has been repaired to its original condition, but is considered worthless simply because it has been involved in an accident.
- Repair-related diminished value: The loss of value caused by the quality of repairs. An example of this would be a paint color that is not a correct match.
The type of diminished value claim that you file could affect the amount of compensation you get, so it’s important to know what your accident warrants. A Georgia lawyer can tell you what you can expect from your case.
What to Do If Your Car Was Damaged in a Car Accident and Dropped in Value
Gather as many facts about the accident as you can, including getting a copy of the police report and all your repair bills. Take photos of your car before and after repairs. Note the mileage of your car before the accident.
Do not agree to a recorded call with your insurance company without first talking to a personal injury attorney. A diminished value property damage claims legal team in Atlanta can protect you from insurance companies and any deceiving offers that may be made.
Also, it’s important you do not agree to a settlement before discussing your case with a legal representative. Most people don’t know that once you cash a settlement check you will never be able to file a claim on this accident. You only get one chance to file a claim.
Do You Need an Appraisal Before You Contact an Attorney?
While an appraiser can make your lawyer’s job a little easier by providing a sound judgment, you do not have to have an appraisal on your car before you contact an attorney. Seasoned personal injury attorneys have lots of experience valuing vehicles and can do this for you.
If an appraisal can affect a valuation dispute in your favor, a diminished value property damage claims attorney in Atlanta can also contact an appraiser on your behalf.
If Your Insurance Company Will Only Pay for Repairs, Can You File a Diminished Value Claim?
Your car has diminished in value. The state of Georgia recognizes this and protects you under that law. Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that an insurance company would dispute that your car has gone down in value.
Your insurance company is still a multibillion-dollar corporation with a financial obligation to itself, not its customers. There are reasons why an insurance company won’t cover diminished value, including:
- The car is too old (usually 10 years or older) and doesn’t have much value.
- It had a previous accident with major repairs.
- It has excessive mileage.
- The car was a total loss.
Don’t try to fight this on your own. A diminished value property damage claims lawyer in Atlanta can get you what you deserve.
How do You Submit a Diminished Value Claim in the State of Georgia?
You can file a claim in a Fulton small claims court against the insurance company if you think the value is less than $15,000. Before you do so, it’s recommended you consult a personal injury attorney. Remember that insurance companies have legions of in-house attorneys who fight for their financial protection all the time. You will be seriously outmatched without legal help.
Is There an Average Amount for a Diminished Value Claim?
Every accident is different, and so is the amount of each diminished value claim. While you may be able to calculate a ballpark amount using a diminished value calculator online, you can’t know for sure how much you can ask for until you consult with a qualified diminished value property damage claims attorney in Atlanta.
One thing you can count on is your insurance company offering you less than your claim is worth. Insurance companies tend to offer around 10% of what you could actually get in a diminished value claim. This is yet another reason to hire an experienced attorney to negotiate your claim. You may be entitled to a higher reward if you suffered injuries in your accident.
Liability for a Diminished Value Property Damage Claim
The liable party for a diminished value property claim and for your accident will be responsible for payment (generally through their insurance carrier). In Georgia, if you were at fault for a car accident, your insurance company is obligated to pay you for your vehicle’s diminished value. Your carrier is not allowed to raise your rate because of this claim.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
Georgia Code § 9-3-33 details the state’s statute of limitations, or time limit, to file a diminished value auto property claim. Generally, it is two years. However, there are shorter exceptions. Seek representation sooner rather than later. You will want your car repaired and back on the road in a timely manner.
Atlanta Lawyers Can Calculate Your Diminished Value
The formula used to calculate diminished value is as follows:
The market value of your vehicle before the accident – the market value of your vehicle after the accident = diminished value
Insurance companies prefer the complicated 17c formula, but they often do this to trip you up and get you frustrated so that you drop your claim altogether. A diminished value property damage claim lawyer in Atlanta will make sure your rights are being protected and insurance companies are not trying to deprive you of money you’re lawfully owed.
Call John Foy & Associates to Review Your Case
Atlanta diminished value claim lawyers John Foy & Associates are long-time personal injury attorneys located in the heart of Georgia. For more than 20 years, we’ve fought for people who have been injured by someone else’s negligence. Your diminished value property damage claim is important to us. Nothing makes us madder than an insurance company trying to underpay its customers.
Let us help you get compensation for your car’s lost value. Contact our Atlanta diminished value property damage claims lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation.