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  • Andrew Littlejohn Johnson

Diminished Value of a Car

If your vehicle was involved a South Carolina car wreck that was someone else's fault, you likely have a "diminution of value" claim. This is the legal concept that because your car was in a wreck, its resale value is less than the same car that was not in a wreck. This portion of a claim is wholly separate from the property-damage portion of your claim.

Think about it this way: you are looking to purchase a used 2020 Toyota Camry. You find two Camrys that are the same color, have the same 25,000 miles, and have the same extras. Both cost $20,000.00. However, one was in a wreck. Which one are you going to buy? Yeah, the one that has never been in a wreck. Therefore, the value of the other vehicle is considered to be diminished.

Handling and Calculating the Diminution Value Claim

Set up a diminution claim with the at-fault driver's property damage adjuster. Using multiple valuation platforms (e.g., Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, NADA), determine your car's value. Multiply it by a cap percentage depending on the insurance company (normally 10%). Multiply that number by a damage multiplier (100% for structural damage, and down to 10% for minor scratches). Multiply that number by a mileage multiplier (100% typically for anything under 20,000 miles, and down to 10% if approaching 100,000 miles). Notate any additions to your vehicle, as these may add value (e.g., premium tires or a sound system). This becomes the number you may demand for your diminution claim.

Note that insurance companies use differing calculations in determining the diminished value. It's always best to see if they will give you their calculations and research first, then go from there in your research and counteroffer.

If you have questions about your diminished value claim from a South Carolina car accident, give Columbia attorney Andrew Littlejohn Johnson a call today. It is free to speak to us, and you may just need a little guidance.


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