Car accidents in Colorado often have long-term ripple effects throughout the victims’ lives. One impact of car accidents that many victims fail to consider in the days immediately following a serious accident is the diminished value of their vehicle after an accident even following repairs.
Because even the best repair jobs are rarely perfect, the imperfect appearance and reduced safety level of the repaired vehicle cause a depreciation in its value. So, does this mean that the accident victim simply has to accept this loss and move on? The answer is no, not if someone else was at fault in the accident.
According to Colorado’s comparative negligence insurance laws, the individual at fault in an accident is liable for damages and an accident victim may make a claim for compensation for those damages as long as they are less than 51% at fault for the accident. Because a crashed vehicle loses a significant portion of its previous value after an accident despite repairs, courts consider the difference in the value after an accident compared to before the accident as part of the victim’s damages. An accident victim deserves compensation for all of the damages after an accident.
How Do You Calculate a Vehicle’s Diminished Value After an Accident?
When making a claim for the diminished value of a vehicle after an accident, an accident victim and their Westminster car accident attorney must first determine the value of the vehicle before the accident. They do this through industry-accepted references such as Kelley Blue Book and Consumer Reports. Many online organizations offer appraisal services locally.
Most accident victims and/or their attorneys obtain several appraisals and then average them to determine the value of a vehicle before an accident, while the insurance company determines the value of the vehicle after the crash and repair job. By subtracting that amount from the value of the car before the crash, accident victims arrive at the amount the vehicle’s value has diminished. The at-fault party’s insurance policy must pay out this amount under the liable party’s property damage coverage in their auto insurance policy.
Proving Liability in Diminished Value Claims
When claiming damages after a car accident in Colorado, including diminished car value claims, the claimant or plaintiff in the case has the burden of proving liability on the part of the individual at fault for the accident through a preponderance of the evidence. Proving liability for a car accident in Colorado requires documenting evidence to demonstrate the following legal points of liability:
- The at-fault party had a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries (damages) to others
- They breached this duty through an act of negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing
- The breach of this duty directly caused injury
- The injury victim suffered significant damages
Damages in car accidents include the diminished value of the vehicle after an accident when the vehicle now has a crash history on record.
Statute of Limitations for Diminished Value Claims in Colorado
Colorado places a two-year statute of limitations on insurance claims for diminished value of vehicles after an accident. Cars and trucks with an accident history automatically lose value. In order to make a claim for the diminished value of a crashed vehicle, the claimant must make the claim within 2 years of the accident. The state’s statute of limitations serves to ensure that evidence is still available and current should the claim proceed into a lawsuit in court.
Missing this 2-year time limit will result in the court dismissing the case and releasing the insurance company from its obligation to pay out on a diminished value claim. Diligent attorneys in Colorado file lawsuits for diminished vehicle value in a timely manner if an insurance company fails to pay out on a diminished value claim.