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What Is a Diminished Value Claim?

Posted on June 29, 2022 in

One of the most overlooked aspects of a car accident is how the collision impacts the value of your vehicle. Even if you receive prompt and high-quality repairs, your car’s value can decrease because it has a history of previous collisions.

In Illinois, you have the right to pursue a claim and recover compensation for a vehicle’s diminished value. These claims are intended to compensate you for the difference between your car’s pre- and post-accident value.

Pursuing a Diminished Value Claim in Illinois

As soon as you purchase a vehicle, the car’s value will start to decrease. However, being involved in an accident can significantly diminish a vehicle’s worth at a faster pace. Even if your vehicle is working exactly the same as it did before the accident, a potential buyer could argue for a lower price.

In Illinois, you have the right to pursue compensation for diminished value as long as you were not responsible for the accident. The state follows a fault-based insurance system, meaning that negligent drivers are responsible for all of the damages that victims suffer in the accident—including a reduction of the car’s value.

Examples of negligent driving behaviors that may form the basis of a diminished value claim include the following:

  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Making an unsafe lane change
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Driving under the influence
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued or drowsy driving
  • Aggressive or reckless driving

How Long Do You Have to File a Diminished Value Claim?

In Illinois, civil lawsuits are subject to a law known as the statute of limitations. This rule establishes time limits for filing certain claims. For lawsuits involving property damage, such as diminished value claims, you have five years from the date of your accident to file your lawsuit.

If you do not file within this time frame, the court will likely dismiss your case. To protect your right to recovery and get the support you need to pursue a lawsuit, speak to a Chicago car accident attorney as soon as possible.

How to Calculate Diminished Value

Multiple factors play into calculating the value of your vehicle before and after the accident, such as your car’s make, model, mileage, and year. Generally, insurance companies use a formula that takes 10% your car’s blue book value. Then, they apply modifiers for mileage and damage to determine the diminished value.

For example, say that your vehicle’s book value is $60,000. The insurance company will first calculate 10% of the value, which is $6,000. However, your vehicle has high mileage, so the company applies a modifier of 0.5—lowering the value to $3,000. Then, the company will multiply this number by a damage modifier of 0.4, further reducing the value to $1,200.

This formula is relatively straightforward, but it is important to keep in mind that not all insurance companies use the same strategies. Additionally, these carriers will often take steps to reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay.

In these situations, it is important to have a personal injury attorney on your side who can help calculate your settlement and advocate for your right to compensation. As soon as possible following your accident, contact a lawyer to discuss your next steps.