by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: February 16, 2017

Diminished Value Claims


The Zanes Law personal injury lawyers in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona have represented thousands of clients over the years.  One thing that I have learned from these clients is that the damage caused to their vehicles in a car accident is one of their main concerns.  They are not simply concerned about getting their vehicle repaired, but they are also concerned about their vehicle suddenly having less value because it has been involved in a car accident.  They know that their vehicle can never be restored to its original condition.  This is know as “diminished value” and it means that when you go to sell your vehicle you will ultimately receive less money because it has been involved in this car accident.

Tip #1:  It is difficult to get the help of a car accident attorney, so ask about your property damage claim at your intake.

Due to the lack of financial incentives to handle property damage claims, many personal injury lawyers refuse to help their clients with the property damage portion of their case.  At Zanes Law our car accident lawyers have always taken the opposite approach and will handle our client’s property damage claims for free, and we will also take on diminished value claims on a contingency fee basis.

Tip #2:  Understand how diminished value is determined

Although an insurance company may want to fight about it, the correct way to determine diminished value is simple.  It is the fair market value of your car prior to the accident minus the fair market value of the repaired vehicle after the accident.  Unfortunately, insurance companies prefer to use a different calculation that actually favors them!  No surprise there.  I won’t get into the details of the formula that insurance companies attempt to use, which is know as the “17c Formula,” because it is complicated.  But what you need to know is that a good car accident attorney should be able to fight the insurance company on this and win.

Tip #3:  Cost of repairs and the age of your car count

The amount of repairs that your car needs will increase the amount of your diminished value.  At the same time, the older your vehicle is the less diminished value you will have.  It is my belief that diminished value does exist for most vehicle involved in an accident, but it is not cost effective to pursue a diminished value claim on many vehicles that are older than five years old or that had less that $2500 in repairs done to them.  Having said that, every claim is fact specific and you should get the input of a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.

To learn more about handling your property damage claim please listen to my podcast.  If you have been injured in any way, please call us and we will do our best to help you just like we helped our many clients who have left us 5-Star Google reviews.

Three Tips From a Car Accident Lawyer on Making Diminished Value Claims

Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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