Question: Should the insurance company pay for the depreciation, decreased or diminished value of my car due to the accident?
Answer: Absolutely, YES.
As a result of the negligence of another you automobile, vehicle or car is damaged. If the cost to repair the car is more than the value of the car before the accident, then the car will be totaled and you are entitled to the value of the car immediately before the accident, if you assign the title of the wrecked vehicle to the insurance company. (If you want to keep the wrecked car, than the salvage value of the vehicle will be deducted from the payment). You should also be paid the tax and license transfer fees. Finally you should be provided a rental car for a reasonable period that it takes to replace the vehicle.
If the cost to repair the vehicle is less than the value of the car before the accident minus the salvage value, then the insurance company should pay the reasonable cost to repair the car. But in addition, since a car that has been in an accident is not worth as much as one that hasn’t the insurance company should pay a reasonable amount for that decreased value that you now have in the car. (Keep in mind, that vehicles tend to loose value with time which is not the depreciation owed, but the depreciation or loss of value associated with the car being a “crashed vehicle.”) If you have to try the case, you would need to prove how much the diminished value or depreciation actually is – you cannot expect the judge or jury to speculate or guess at a number.
Here is the Virginia Model Jury Instruction that would be given to a jury if the case were tried by a jury:
Virginia Model Jury Instruction No. 9.070, reads as follows:
Where personal property is partially damaged, the measure of damages is the difference in value immediately before and immediately after the accident plus the necessary and reasonable expenses shown by the evidence to have been incurred by the plaintiff as a result of the damage. If, however, the cost of repairing the damaged property is less than the difference in value immediately before and immediately after the damage, then the measure of damages is the reasonable cost of repair with a reasonable allowance for depreciation.
You need experienced counsel. You should contact a lawyer with the law firm of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. today.
Thomas H. Roberts, Esq.
Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C.
105 S 1st Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 783-2105 fax
The materials are prepared for information purposes only. The materials are not legal advice. You should not act upon the information without seeking the advice of an attorney. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship.