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What is my Ohio Diminished Value Claims Potential?

by Andrew Tobergte on May. 23, 2016

Accident & Injury Car Accident 

Summary: You might be asking how much your diminished value claim is worth. There are a lot of factors that go into how much your claim may be worth, and a professional appraisal is probably needed to ascertain this value, but I do know that in Ohio the potential value of your claim is probably capped.

So your car is in an accident, and then repaired, it is now worth less money because of the accident history. That is easy enough, but unfortunately, Ohio courts have not left it at that. In Ohio, the value of your diminished value claim plus the costs of repairs to your car cannot exceed the total diminished value suffered immediately after the accident. That is probably as clear as mud so I will do my best to make this a little clearer.
TOTAL DIMINISHED VALUE
After the car accident, and the damage to your vehicle has been done, your car suffers a total amount of diminished value. Let's call this number the total diminished value. To find this total diminished value number you simply take the value of your car before the accident minus the value of your car as it sits wrecked after the accident. The difference between the two numbers is the total diminished value. This is a very important number, because as I stated above, the dollar amount spent on the repairs to your car plus the inherent diminished value payment you will receive, cannot exceed this total diminished value number. Let's talk about inherent diminished value next.
INHERENT DIMINISHED VALUE
When you make a diminished value claim with the insurance company you are really going after what can be called the inherent diminished value. This is the loss in value your car suffers because of the stigma it now has after being in an accident. Remember total diminished value explained above. Think of inherent diminished value as a sub-part of the total diminished value. Inherent diminished value is the remainder of diminished value left over after your car is repaired. Inherent diminished value is that loss in value that repairs cannot fix, it is the stigma associated with having an accident history. This inherent diminished value cannot be restored by repairing the vehicle.
INHERENT DIMINISHED VALUE + COST OF REPAIRS = TOTAL DIMINISHED VALUE
Generally, if your car is damaged and it is repairable you have it fixed by a body shop. Ohio courts have held that the cost of these repairs plus the inherent diminished value claim you make cannot exceed the total diminished value number. So basically the equation in the heading above must be followed, the cost of repairs plus the inherent diminished value claim you make must EQUAL the total diminished value number.
This is unfortunate because sometimes the market forces that impact a vehicle's resale value would put an inherent diminished value claim much higher, but Ohio court rulings seem to say that these claims cannot exceed the total diminished value of a vehicle as described above. Everyone knows that sometimes repairs to a vehicle do not restore value dollar for dollar, maybe in the future Ohio courts will recognize this.
IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD APPRAISER
Complicated stuff, these are tough abstract concepts, and there is a lot of room to argue with the insurance company on some of these values. This is why getting an attorney to help make sense of all of this and get a qualified appraiser who knows what he or she is doing, is very important.
A good appraiser will produce an appraisal report with four different values:
1-The value of the vehicle before the accident. (this value minus number 2 below gives you the total diminished value)
2-The value of the vehicle after the accident and before repairs. (this value subtracted from number 1 above gives you the total diminished value)
3-The value of the vehicle after the accident and after repairs are completed. (this value subtracted from number 1 above gives you the actual diminished value)
4-The total diminished value the car has suffered due to market forces at work in the geographic area. (this is the actual diminished value)
If your appraiser is not giving you these values, chances are their report will not stand up to some of the tough scrutiny the insurance company may put your case through. Considering the cost of these appraisals, better to get it done right the first time.

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