Nothing is more irritating after an accident than getting your car fixed. Calling to set up the claim, taking your car to collision centers for estimates, setting up a rental car — the list goes on and on.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the insurance company is intentionally “keeping quiet” on extra money you are entitled to receive under Georgia diminished value law. Georgians leave millions of dollars of their money in the pockets of insurance companies every year.
“Diminished Value” is the most misunderstood concept in insurance law. Diminished Value is compensation after a car accident for the anticipated future loss that will occur when the vehicle owner tries to re-sell the vehicle. To better understand this legal concept under Georgia diminished value law, let me give you an example:
Bob gets rear-ended by Jan, and Jan’s insurance company pays for the repairs to Bob’s vehicle. Bob’s vehicle looks like new, after the frame damage is hammered back out. Two years later, Bob takes his car to CarMartWorld to sell. CarMartWorld pulls the car history and sees his vehicle has been in a bad accident. They offer Bob $10,000 for the vehicle even though the car’s normal value is $12,000.
As you can see, Bob will lose $2,000 because of the accident caused by Jan. Under Georgia diminished value law, Jan’s insurance company is responsible for paying Bob the $2,000 diminished value as part of the property damage settlement.
Here is the kicker: Most insurance companies will not offer to pay you diminished value unless you ask for it, and 99% of all Georgians involved in a car accident don’t know to ask. The higher the cost of repairing your vehicle, the more important it is that you to ask for compensation for diminished value. Remember never to sign a property damage release until you receive your diminished value payment.
First, try to find the re-sale value of your car and compare it to cars for sale online that have been in an accident. Then ask the insurance adjuster to pay you the difference. Generally, the insurance adjuster will counter with their own amount — ask how they arrived at the number. Most often they will tell you they arrived at the number by a “formula,” but this “formula” is not necessarily the final authority. Keep negotiating until you come to an amount you feel good accepting.
If you still cannot recover what you feel you deserve, talk to a lawyer or file a lawsuit in small claims court. A lawyer can be particularly helpful if the insurance company is acting in bad faith — as the court can force the insurance company to pay a serious penalty if they are intentionally not paying a valid claim.
Best of luck in your negotiations, and always get all the compensation you deserve under Georgia diminished value law. If you have any questions, we are always here to help.