What Is A Diminution Claim?
Yes, we’re afraid to say that those fears you had about your beloved vehicle losing value following a car accident are entirely true.
Whether you were taking the children to school, driving on the motorway, or simply parked outside the local supermarket, that lack of concentration from another driver, resulting in a collision with your vehicle, is likely to have depreciated the value of your car in the form of “Diminution”.
Vehicle diminution happens when you try to sell your car and are told it is worth less because it has been involved in an accident. Even if you had your car fully repaired at a recognised dealership, it is unlikely that a potential purchaser will pay the same as an identical model with an unblemished history. You will find that car dealers will reduce their offers on previously damaged vehicles and can even refuse to take such a vehicle, particularly if the accident it was in caused extensive damage.
This loss of value is very different to normal vehicle depreciation and would not have occurred had your car not been involved in the collision.
The fact is that if you are looking to sell your vehicle, a car that has been involved in an accident and sustained bodywork damage is much less desirable than the equivalent car without the repair history. So what does this mean to you? It means that your car has lost value as a result of the damage it sustained. That loss, is caused as soon as your car was damaged, and any decision made about the repair work, sale or the quality of the said repair work is irrelevant.
The good news is that subject to a motor engineer agreeing that there has been a loss of value, Diminution can be claimed from the insurers of the responsible driver.
It is generally thought that classic, rare and prestigious vehicles are more likely to be accepted for a vehicle diminution claim however; it has been proven at Court that some less valuable vehicles can result in successful claims too. The vehicle would usually have to be no more than five years old and have had damage sustained costing over £3000 to repair. The larger the market value of the car, the higher the compensation award is likely to be.
Of course, motor insurers don’t want claims of this nature to be made as they seek to mitigate their own losses however; there is nothing they can do to argue about the principle of the claim.
Oakwood Solicitors was recently approached by Mr B of Preston, Lancashire in order to pursue a claim for vehicle Diminution.
Mr B’s 2016 plated Mercedes A Class motor vehicle was parked and unoccupied when a 3.5 tonne lorry collided with the offside rear of his vehicle which subsequently sustained moderate damage totalling £8469 including VAT. The vehicle had already been repaired to a high standard by an approved Mercedes repairer by the time Mr B had contacted us, and Mr B’s vehicle had not previously been involved in any other accidents and was well maintained with a low mileage.
Liability for the accident was admitted by the third party insurers.
At our instruction, specialist engineering evidence was obtained following the repairs, and the claim for vehicle Diminution was assessed at £2970.00.
We approached the responsible insurers who subsequently conceded and promptly made a payment to Mr B in the amount assessed by the engineer.
Having been approached at the very end of April 2016, Oakwood Solicitors sent Mr B his settlement money in the middle of August 2016.
If you feel like vehicle Diminution could have affected you, please contact Oakwood Solicitors for a free consultation on the services we can offer to you.
Article written by Rob Crompton, Head of the Road Traffic Accident Department at Oakwood Solicitors.