What is a diminished value (DV) claim?

What is a diminished value (DV) claim?

You were involved in a car wreck and  you were not at-fault. Not only you are in pain, but your car is damaged. More than a hundred different thoughts are going through your mind right now; one of which is knowing that your car’s worth is going to be significantly impacted because of the wreck. It is common knowledge that if your car is damaged because of a wreck, your car has been diminished in its value. Below we will thoroughly discuss what your rights are and how the at-fault party’s insurance company evaluates your diminished value claim. 

1. The claim.

The claim process is a separate and distinct process and claim from your personal injury and property damage claim. In your personal injury claim you are claiming Special (out-of-pocket expenses) and General (the amount of pain you’ve endured) damages. In your property claim, you are getting your car repaired. In your diminished value claim, you’re seeking reimbursement for the amount your car’s value has been diminished because of the wreck. You will first need to have your car inspected by a diminished value expert who will then come up with a diminished value of your car. You will then need to submit that report along with a demand letter to the insurance company for payments. They will have 60 days to evaluate your demand and either accept or reject your demand. Please note that a counter-offer is the same as the rejection of your offer. 

Example: You submit your diminished value report to an insurance company and request a response in 60 days for $4,000.00. However, the insurance company sends you a counter-offer for $3,000.00. This counter-offer is now a rejection of your demand. 

2. When can you qualify to have a claim?

If your car is considered to be a total loss, then you wouldn’t even qualify for a diminished value claim. Let’s face it, you won’t have a car. Your claim would just be the total value of your car, property damage claim. 

3. What is the standard used by insurance companies to evaluate your DV claim? 

Georgia case law has mandated the insurance companies to compensate their insured of the loss of value of their car. 9 days later the Georgia insurance commissioner issued a directive to all property and casualty insurers licensed in the state that they were now required to adjust claims by including ‘assessment and payment of diminution of value relative to physical damage.’” Then there was another case that came along that created something called a 17(c) formula. In an effort “‘to clarify the Department’s position’ on diminished value claims,” the Insurance Commissioner issued a second directive on December 2, 2008. There, “[t]he Commissioner observed that the Department ‘ha[d] never indicated that the diminished value result obtained by a carrier’s use of a particular formula or method constitutes the definitive determination of the carrier’s liability to its insured.’

The Commissioner noted that “‘[t]he nature of each claim demands that carriers must take into consideration all relevant information in the evaluation of diminished value claims including, but not limited to, relevant information provided by an insured regarding diminution of value.’”  

Bottom line is that they can and often do use the infamous 17(c) formula, but they really don’t have to. 

4. What is the infamous 17(c)? 

This formula uses some modifiers to come up with the final diminished value. It first takes 10% of the fair market value of your car. It then assigns a Damage modifier where it assigns a value of 0-1 from no damage to severe damage to the structure of the vehicle. It then assigns a mileage modifier with a blue of 1-0 (1.0 – 0.91 having a mileage of 0 – 9,999) and 0 (having a mileage of 100,000 plus). You would then multiply your base value by your damage modifier and you’ll get a number. You would then take your mileage modifier and multiply it by the number you got by multiplying your damage modifier by your base value. And voilà! 

As you can see, the entire thing is very made-up. There’s no scientific rule behind it. 

5. What should be used instead? 

Expert’s individual opinion should definitely be used instead of this made-up method. But what are your options when the insurance company refuses to play nice? You could definitely bring a lawsuit and fight them. However, we recommend that you could put in your best argument when you are submitting your demand in the first place. This means let us help! This means that if your attorney can’t put up a persuasive argument on your behalf, perhaps they are doing something wrong! If you have any questions about your diminished value claim, don’t hesitate to call us and we’ll be happy to guide you through he process. After-all, this is exactly what we do for every single one of our clients who have a personal injury claim.