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Law Offices of Shane Smith

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Q
How does the insurance adjuster decide on the diminished value of my wrecked car?

A

     Many times I am asked about diminished value claims. The diminished value is the decrease in the value of your car because it was in a car accident. What is this diminished value worth? That is a very difficult question. The insurance question has a formula they will use which basically says that unless there was major frame damage to the vehicle the value of the vehicle is not diminished very much. The supreme court of Georgia has said and John Oxidine, the insurance commissioner, has both said that this formula is not required by the court. However, the insurance companies continue to use it.
     If you would wish to dispute the diminished value portion of your property damage to you claim, you have several options. Option one is merely to argue with them. This is not generally effective and they will refer to the formula and imply that is fair.  Please find a copy of Mr. Oxidine’s letter here.  Option number two is to attempt to get an estimate from a car dealer or your own dealership showing what they would have offered you prior to the collision if you had tried to trade your vehicle in and what they would offer you now knowing that it has been in a car wreck. The gap would be the diminished value portion of you claim. A third option is to pay an appraiser to do a diminished value estimate of your vehicle.
     These normally range in price from $250.00 to $350.00 for a claim. Should you wish to pursue this option please contact my office and I will try to provide you with several names of people we have used in the past. These estimators usually provide a detailed report indicating how much value your vehicle has lost.  It is very helpful in arguing about diminished value because you now have something showing the lost value from an independent appraiser.

Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia