After a car accident, the value of a vehicle automatically declines. This is known as a reduction in inherent diminished value, or IDV. If you wish to file an IDV claim following a collision, you should have an appraisal. Here’s what a diminished value appraisal should include and how you can get help from an experienced IDV lawyer.
Diminished Value Inspections
An appraisal for diminished value typically summarizes what damage was done and what repairs are needed, as well as how much the vehicle was worth before the accident and how much it should be worth after repairs. In order to determine these figures, a diminished value inspection should be done. This should include a comprehensive review of:
The Vehicle Body and Exterior
The exterior of a vehicle typically bears the brunt of a collision and the majority of damage is to the vehicle body. For example, a crushed front fender would be listed in this section. However, some defects caused by an accident may not be visible immediately. A diminished value inspection should include a thorough assessment of the exterior of the vehicle, including both major and minor damage.
Safety Equipment and Features
After an accident, a vehicle’s safety equipment and features may be affected. For example, airbags cannot be reused after they are deployed. They must be replaced. Emergency braking systems may also be impacted; during a road test, braking and emergency braking capabilities should be assessed. If a vehicle has safety systems like back up cameras or self-driving technology, these should be inspected to determine if they need repair or replacement. Each should be listed in the report along with the estimated cost of repair.
The Suspension and Steering Systems
Kinetic damage to a vehicle during a car accident can cause problems with the steering and suspension systems. A road test should be conducted to determine how the vehicle drives and if there are any issues with the car’s alignment, shocks and struts, or power steering. The vehicle should be tested on highways at high speeds, back roads, in city traffic, and other simulated conditions to identify where the vehicle might not be performing properly.
Assessing a Vehicle Post-Collision
It’s important to have your vehicle assessed for diminished value after a collision by a trustworthy and reputable source. If every area of the vehicle isn’t fully inspected and properly tested, one or more problems that were caused by the accident may be missed. This affects the vehicle’s driveability and its ability to keep you safe in the event of another collision.
For example, restoring the body of a vehicle after a collision can make it look brand new, but it doesn’t improve the way the car drives at all. If the steering column was damaged in the accident, the car may have alignment issues that cause it to drift to one side while driving. If the vehicle never undergoes a road test during its post-collision assessment and corners get cut, you could end up with a partially repaired vehicle.
Diminished Value Report
You should receive a detailed report of your diminished value. This should include:
Your Vehicle’s Pre-Accident and Post-Accident Values
A diminished value report should give an estimate of the value of your car before the accident. This is done by assessing the vehicle’s age, mileage, appearance, and condition. A vehicle that is driven a lot and isn’t well cared for will have a lower initial value than a car of the same year, make, and model that was kept in good condition.
Using the pre-accident value of the vehicle, an insurance adjuster can calculate the vehicle’s post-accident value. The value of the collision damage is subtracted from the vehicle’s pre-accident value, which results in the current value of the car after the accident but before repairs.
A diminished value report should also include an estimate of what the vehicle will be worth after a collision once the necessary repairs have been made. This figure can be used to illustrate that even fully repaired, the vehicle will not be worth as much as it was prior to the accident.
Necessary Repairs to Restore the Vehicle
The diminished value report should also go over each repair needed to bring the vehicle back to its pre-collision state. This might include things like window replacement, a new paint job, tire and rim replacement, a new front fender, body work, and other similar repairs. The cost estimate for each of these should also be listed, along with a final total of what the repairs will cost in their entirety.
When to Contact an IDV Lawyer
Any time you’re involved in a car accident, especially if you were not the driver at fault, you should reach out to a personal injury attorney for guidance. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we look for every opportunity to collect compensation for our clients, including Inherent Diminished Value claims. We have a proven track record of success for helping our clients obtain the full and fair compensation they deserve after a terrifying accident.
Call today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case in depth by dialing (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084. Serving all of Massachusetts and New Hampshire with offices based in Salem, MA.