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Understanding Georgia’s Diminished Value Law After a Car Accident

By Butler Prather LLP on June 22, 2022

Most vehicles will have diminished value after a vehicle accident occurs, particularly if the repairs were done poorly or incorrectly. Additionally, in Georgia, a vehicle can also have something called “inherent diminished value,” which means that the value of the vehicle is reduced even if it has been repaired properly. Here, we want to examine Georgia’s diminished value law so that you have an understanding of what to expect when it comes to compensation after a beautiful accident occurs.

What Diminished Value Means in Georgia

Whenever a vehicle has been involved in an accident, others will know about this when the time comes to trade-in or sell the vehicle. Most modern auto shops enter a vehicle’s information into a system that is accessible by other mechanics and dealers. Even if a vehicle has been repaired properly and looks completely fine, an accident will diminish the value of the vehicle. Simply being damaged in a vehicle accident decreases the value.

The diminished value will certainly occur if the vehicle was repaired incorrectly or poorly. However, Georgia recognizes that vehicles can have “inherent diminished value,” which means the value of the vehicle is reduced even if it has been repaired at the best quality. This is especially true if the accident caused major damage.

Diminished Value Versus Typical Depreciation

Depreciation and diminished value are not the same things. A vehicle will depreciate over time, meaning it will lose value as time goes on from when the vehicle was purchased. This type of loss is expected. This has nothing to do with a vehicle accident. Diminished value and an inherent diminished value are directly related to a vehicle being involved in an accident.

Including Diminished Value for a Vehicle Accident Claim

Diminished value should certainly be considered when trying to assess damages following a vehicle accident caused by another driver. However, many crash victims do not realize this is a possibility.

If your vehicle accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, you do have the right to recover compensation. This can include compensation through an insurance settlement or as a result of a personal injury or property damage lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The diminished value of a vehicle should be included in the loss is calculated because the diminished value will likely prevent you from trading in or selling the car for as much as you would have been able to before the accident occurred.

If you qualify for a diminished value claim, insurance carriers are required to pay it. Diminished value claims should not increase your insurance premium. However, most insurance companies are not going to be forthcoming about compensating you for diminished value. These insurance carriers do not want to pay out any more than they have to, but we encourage you to ask about diminished value of your vehicle as soon as you start the claims process.

Working With a Lawyer

If you or somebody you love has been injured or sustained property damage in a vehicle accident caused by another driver, contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer today. An attorney will help you calculate total expected losses, including the inherent diminished value of your vehicle so you can recover as much compensation as possible.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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