How to Prove a Diminished Value Claim

If you’re unfortunate enough to be the victim of careless driving, the status of your vehicle may be the least of your immediate concerns. Getting treatment for your injuries and filing a police report are top priorities. However, if your automobile was damaged, you might qualify for a diminished value claim.

Not many New Mexico lawyers specialize in diminished value claims. Victims may not even be aware they need this kind of assistance until it’s too late.

What is a diminished value claim?

A diminished value claim can be filed any time your personal vehicle is damaged because of another driver’s negligence. Diminished value is the difference in your vehicle’s market value before and after an accident.

Most insurance companies in New Mexico use a calculation called the 17c Diminished Value Formula to calculate the diminished value of your vehicle. There are four steps in the process:

  • Determine the value of your car using Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guides.
  • Apply a 10 percent cap to that value.
  • Apply a damage multiplier to adjust the value.
  • Apply a mileage multiplier using your car’s current mileage.

Once you have completed all four steps, you’ll have the after-crash value of your vehicle. Insurance companies can do this for you, but you might want to check their figures or have your property damage attorney do so to ensure accuracy.

How does diminished value hurt my personal vehicle?

Not all automobile accidents result in your vehicle being totaled by the insurance company. Sometimes, the damage can be repaired. While it might seem like this is a good thing, it has little known repercussions for accident victims.

It doesn’t matter if the accident was someone else’s fault. Your personal vehicle sustained damage and no longer is in its original factory condition. That means when you go to sell it or trade it in for a newer vehicle, you’ll receive less money for it. This is called repair-related diminished value.

Victims of automobile accidents get a raw deal all the way around. They likely sustained injuries that can impact their future earnings and health. To add insult to injury, they also might be stuck with a vehicle that’s decreased in value.

diminished value claim Carfax
Carfax reports include any repairs made to your car that required filing an accident claim through the insurance company.

What role does Carfax play in proving my claim?

When a vehicle accident is reported to your insurance company, they automatically notify Carfax. If you’re not familiar with Carfax, it’s a commercial web-based service that supplies vehicle history reports to businesses and individuals on used cars and light trucks in the U.S. and Canada.

If you’ve ever bought a used vehicle from a dealership, you’ve probably seen one of the comprehensive reports this service produces. All you need is a vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or license plate number and state to request a Carfax report.

The reports aren’t free, so be prepared to cough up some cash if you want to check the impact of a crash on your vehicle’s market value.

To avoid a report being made to Carfax, the vehicle must be repaired out-of-pocket. If you’re concerned about diminished value, your property damage attorney can make this request of the at-fault party. Other negotiations also can occur to offset the loss in value.

What’s the statute of limitations on diminished value claims?

New Mexico is a diminished value state per statute 66-5-301. You have up to four years from the date of your accident to file a diminished value claim.

Additionally, New Mexico has uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value. That means all insurance companies must offer this coverage to accommodate for accidents with uninsured or underinsured vehicles.

How do property damage attorneys prove my case?

Property damage attorneys follow a basic principle when proving your property damage claim. They look for evidence that supports your assertion that another person’s negligence cost you money.

One of the first things your property damage attorney does is request a police report for the accident. Most accident investigators indicate the at-fault party in their reports. Similar documentation also should be available from the insurance claims adjuster.  

Diminished property value can be tricky to prove, so most property damage attorney rely on opinions and testimony from experts in the field to bolster your case.

Should you hire a property damage attorney?

If you’re serious about proving your diminished value case, working with an experienced property damage attorney is essential to your success. While you aren’t required to hire a lawyer, working with one can maximize your chances of getting adequate financial compensation.

Bill Russell possesses extensive knowledge of property damage laws in New Mexico. He’s not afraid to go the extra mile to ensure you receive fair compensation for your accident, including covering the diminished value of your vehicle.

Contact Bill today to schedule your free case evaluation.

5 Tips for Getting a Rental Car

When you’re involved in an automobile accident, getting treatment for your injuries can be your top priority. You may not be thinking about the damage to your personal vehicle (and whether it’s even drivable after the accident).

Even after you get medical attention, your focus may shift to pursuing a personal injury claim if your accident was caused by another driver’s carelessness.

It may take days or even weeks before you realize that you’ve been left without reliable transportation to important appointments. You may qualify for a rental vehicle while the insurance companies sort what to do with your personal automobile. Before you congratulate yourself on a problem solved, keep in mind that finding a rental can be an exercise in frustration because of an ongoing rental car shortage.

What’s causing the rental car shortage?

Getting a rental car can be challenging these days for a variety of reasons. The most prominent cause of the shortage is that during the covid shutdowns, many rental car companies sold off their inventories. They did this for one of two reasons:

  1. No one was traveling and they were taking a loss on maintaining rental cars no one needed.
  2. They sold some of their vehicles to consumers desperate for used automobiles when car dealerships were running low on their own inventories.

Now that pandemic restrictions have eased and people are traveling more, the problem has worsened. Rental agencies haven’t managed to restock their inventories to pre-covid levels, even though demand for their products has soared.

You can increase your odds for rental car success by following the five tips below.

Increasing your odds for rental car success

Your automobile insurance company can provide coverage for a rental vehicle. They can even help you get reimbursement for the rental from the at-fault party. What they can’t do is find you an available rental if none are to be found.

So, what’s a person to do? Here are some tips you can follow to increase your odds for rental car success after an accident.

  1. Don’t wait to request a rental
    The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll have difficulty securing a rental vehicle. If you think your automobile is unsafe to drive after the accident, then start finding a replacement right away. You may need to have a friend or family member make the calls for you if you’re in the hospital recuperating from your injuries.
  2. Disclose the reason for your rental need
    Rental companies sometimes prioritize long-term rentals because they can be more lucrative. The first thing you should do when calling for a rental is to let the agent know your situation. Tell them you were involved in an automobile accident and need a long-term rental while the insurance company sorts what to do with your vehicle. It’s important to mention you were not the at-fault driver in the accident to ensure rental agencies aren’t leery about providing you with a car, truck, or SUV to drive.
  3. Be willing to take what’s available
    Some insurance companies pay for a rental vehicle that’s comparable to yours. However, that doesn’t mean the rental agencies have one available. You may have to agree to take what’s available if you need a rental right away. Otherwise, you could find yourself without reliable transportation. You can always ask the rental agency if it’s possible to upgrade (or downgrade) your rental if one more to your liking becomes available.
  4. Rent from a local
    There are alternatives to traditional vehicle rental agencies. Some car owners rent out their automobiles. Just like an Airbnb or Vrbo property rental, there is a version of this service for automobiles. One of the quickest ways to find people who lend out their vehicles is through a service called Turo. Just plug in the dates you need a car and your preferred model, and the platform generates a list of possibilities.
  5. Rent from a car dealership
    Here’s an option that many people don’t realize exists because it’s a well-kept industry secret. If you’re struggling to find a rental from one of the usual local agencies, you can consider this alternative. Some car dealerships rent out parts of their own fleets. Nissan and Toyota are among the automobile dealers that let you easily rent from them. There’s no guarantee they’ll have anything available, but it never hurts to ask.

Seeking help with car accident property damage New Mexico

Dealing with all the moving parts after an automobile accident can be stressful. Finding a rental car shouldn’t be one of the things added to your anxiety. Reach out to the car accident property damage lawyers in New Mexico who can help sort it all for you.

Contact Cameron & Russell at 505-218-7844 or request your free case evaluation online. We’ll make sure all your needs are covered.

Call Cameron & Russell for a Free Case Evaluation

Bill Russell and Marcus Cameron are the faces behind Cameron & Russell. We go the extra mile for our clients to pursue personal injury claims and provide criminal defense. We approach every case with a fresh eye to detail and the determination to represent our clients to the fullest extent the law allows. We passionately defend clients facing criminal charges, and relentlessly seek out fair compensation for personal injury claims. No matter your situation, we promise to tirelessly represent your legal needs. 

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