After a car accident, your vehicle will lose value even if you have it repaired. This is known as inherent diminished value and occurs simply because the vehicle has a collision history. When you resell the vehicle, you will have to sell it for much less than you would have if it had not been in an accident.
However, filing a claim for inherent diminished value, or IDV, can be challenging because the plaintiff carries the burden of proof. You must be able to clearly show that you lost significant value in your vehicle as a result of the accident that can only be remedied by an insurance settlement.
Here’s what you need to know about proving inherent diminished value and how to get help from an experienced car accident attorney in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
What You Need to File an Insurance Claim for Inherent Diminished Value
As the plaintiff, or the individual filing a claim for damages to a motor vehicle, you assume the burden of proof for establishing that you were in an accident and suffered documented damages as a result. Here are some things you’ll need to be able to show evidence of when you file an insurance claim for inherent diminished value.
Proof That Your Insured Car Was in an Accident
First, you’ll need to establish that your motor vehicle was insured at the time it was involved in an accident. If you called the police or 911 at the scene of the collision, there should be a formal police report that was filed. You can submit a copy of this to your insurance company to show that you were in an accident and your vehicle was damaged.
If you do not have a police report, you should voluntarily file one on your own with your local law enforcement. You can go down to the police station or the police can come to your location to take your information.
Evidence That You Were Not at Fault for the Collision
Generally, the insurance company of the at-fault party is responsible for the inherent diminished value of any vehicles damaged in the accident. Regardless of whether you are making a claim against your own insurance company or the insurance provider of another driver, you’ll need to show evidence that you were not the at-fault party.
This may be done via police report, accident reconstruction, or evaluation by the insurance company. If you were the one at fault, your claim may legitimately be denied, even if you pay for full coverage on your vehicle.
Supporting Documentation That Justifies the Damages You’re Seeking
Finally, you’ll need to be able to prove that your vehicle was, in fact, damaged in the collision and that even though it’s been repaired to the fullest extent possible, you will not be able to recover the lost value of the vehicle as a result of its being involved in an accident. Your mechanic and/or auto body repair shop should be able to provide you with an itemized list of repairs and the expected cost of labor and materials.
How Will the Insurance Company Respond?
Any time you file a motor vehicle insurance claim, your insurance company or the insurer of the at-fault driver will look for ways to deny your claim. Paying settlements is costly for insurance providers and too many approved claims will start to eat into their bottom line. Expect at least some resistance to your claim, particularly if you’re dealing with another party’s insurance company.
When an Insurer Can Legally Deny Your IDV Claim
There are situations where an insurance provider can legally deny a claim for inherent diminished value following a motor vehicle accident. For example, if you did not stay up to date on your insurance premiums at the time of the collision, your insurer has the right to deny your claim.
They may also deny your claim if the vehicle you were driving wasn’t covered for another reason or if they can prove there is no inherent diminished value after repairs were made. The latter typically occurs less frequently; the sheer act of being involved in a collision automatically diminishes the value of a vehicle even after it has been fully repaired with the highest quality parts and most experienced labor.
Reaching a Fair Settlement for IDV Damages
Even after submitting an itemized report of damages to your insurer or the insurance provider of the at-fault party, you may have to go back and forth to negotiate a fair settlement for the damages your vehicle incurred as a result of the collision.
Will Having a Car Accident Lawyer Represent Me Help Me Win My Case?
Negotiating with an insurance company after an accident can be challenging at best, especially if you’re dealing with another driver’s insurance provider. Your chances of filing a successful claim for inherent diminished value (IDV) and receiving a fair settlement are low without the help of an experienced car accident attorney.
At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we understand how devastating motor vehicle accidents can be, even when there hasn’t been any severe injuries. Your car or truck is responsible for more than just getting you from point A to B; it also needs to keep you and your family safe. You deserve to get what you invested out of your vehicle if it’s been damaged in an accident caused by a negligent driver.
Contact us today to learn more about filing a claim for inherent diminished value or to discover how our legal team can help you. Call now at (978) 744-4000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.