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Dimunition of value

by Jason

Hello there,

About two weeks ago, I was in a t-bone car accident, I am the claimant, the other auto insurance admitted fault, and now the adjuster and I are going back and forth about the car's condition. I believe that the car needs to be totaled, he believes it just needs repaired, I have a 9 month old son and do not wish to put my son in any further risk of injury than is need be.

The car I own is a 2007 Ford Focus, 28,000 miles.

So I have faithfully followed your steps, and boy I must say that the adjuster is getting rather tired of dealing with me. I haven't dealt with a manager yet, that might be coming up though. Anyways, here is my question,

I live in California, how do I file for Diminution of value on my car? Do I need a lawyer for that? Does the insurance pay for that?

The total value of the car according to the adjuster is 12900 after taking the car to the dealership they said the would pay less than 8000 for the car since it was in an accident. I am trying to add all of the costs to point out to him that he would be saving several thousand dollars by simply totaling the car. I guess we will see how tings go, I am probably having the Tear-down tomorrow. Thanks for any and all input.

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First of all I want to say thank you for this wonderful website. After I finish this question I will be donating to help keep you guys running.

Thanks again, Jason



Hello Jason,

First, thank you for your words. Comments like this one encourage us to continue writing. Let me address your question by steps:

I live in California, how do I file for Diminution of value on my car? Well, sounds like you already read our materials on that subject. If not, visit our diminution of value page here.

Remember this is a very hard claim to argue.

There is a lot of foot work involved, but it can be done. You do have a right to this claim. Make sure if you are talking to dealers that they are putting on writing the value they would pay. Also make sure you get your own Carfax where it shows the car was in an accident.

It is probably a good idea to contact the DMV, most car accidents in California are reported (over $750 I believe), therefore showing that your accident is now public record will help your case.

Do I need a lawyer for that?

Contacting an attorney is wise, however, most will not take a case like this unless there are injuries. There is no money on this type of claim for them. You can try to see if anyone takes the case.

Does the insurance pay for that?

Yes. Even though they will argue that they do not. Many states bar a diminution of value claim if you are making a first party claim (against your own insurance company), however, in your case, you are making a third party claim.

This means that you are seeking compensation from the people that cause the damage. You are not bound by an insurance policy and you are seeking the damages they caused. You should be entitled to that payment.

I see that you read our materials and I hope they helped some. As I said this is a hard claim to make, and you do have a legitimate worry (the car is unsafe). Make sure if the insurance company fix it, then both, the insurance company and the bodyshop give you a letter of guarantee insuring all possible damage.

Good Luck,

Comments for Dimunition of value

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Apr 07, 2011
Dimunition of Value
by: Anonymous


Where is there legal standing to collect for dimunition of value on a 3rd party claim in California?
To my knowledge there is no standing having successfully settling tens of thousands of third party car losses over a 31 year career, and never paying one dime of diminution of value on any claim.


Actually, it's the opposite, where is the legal standing barring a claimant from making that claim in the state of California (diminution of value is an economic loss that flows from the accident, thus the negligent party must indemnify).

The claim is allowed unless otherwise in the Administrative code or case law, there is an specific prohibition (for third party claims). It does not exists to our knowledge. Clear showing of "we have not done it ever, thus it's not owed."

It's owed if it is well documented. Talk to your legal department and ask to see the prohibitions on this type of claim.

First party claims are subject to policy language, however, some states (California is not one of them) have deemed the policy clause regarding first party diminution of value not enforceable.

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