Car Accident Damages and Car Accident History Reports
When a person files a car accident claim, either with their own insurance provider or with the provider of another negligent driver, their goal is to restore themselves financially to a pre- car accident state. This means recovering compensation for medical expenses if the person is injured, lost wages if they were/are unable to work due to their injuries, property damage to their car, and in cases of personal injury claims against a negligent driver, compensation for their physical and emotional pain and suffering.
However, thanks to the increasing prevalence of car accident history reports, whether through Carfax, the MVC (formerly the DMV), vehiclehistory.com, or any other provider of these reports, restoring a car to its pre-accident state is no longer as simple as repairing the car, then calling it a day.
As car buyers are wary of purchasing a car which has previously been in an accident, this hesitation intrinsically lowers the value of such a car. With this in mind, today’s article will discuss when and how people involved in car accidents may be able to recover compensation for the lost value of their car due to its vehicle accident history, and how our Passaic County car accident attorneys can help you to do so.
Calculating the Value of Your Car Before and After a Car Accident
To reiterate, the goal of filing an insurance claim after an accident, whether it be with your own provider (a first-party claim) or with the provider of another driver (a third-party claim) is to restore yourself financially to a “pre-accident state”.
In the past, when it came to damages to the driver’s car, they would either seek compensation for the cost of repairs, or compensation for the total loss of the vehicle based on common car appraisal services such as Kelley Blue Book.
However, now that the simple fact of whether or not a car has been involved in any kind of accident can be relatively accessed through a car accident history report, simply repairing a car to its pre-accident state is no longer truly restoring the value of that car. We believe this fact to be true for two reasons:
- Car accident history reports seldom detail the events or specific damages to a car in their report, merely stating for example “rear-end collision, 11/24/2017”. This means buyers have no way of knowing exactly how much damage actually occurred to the vehicle when it was involved in an accident.
- Since potential buyers do not have much detail regarding the car accident or what kind of repairs were done to the car following the accident, when faced with the choice of two identical cars (same make, model, year, mileage etc), but one has been involved in a car accident and the other has not, the buyer will almost certainly purchase the vehicle with no car accident history.
So, car accident history reports and their availability and use have certainly lowered the value of your car if it has been involved in an accident. But can you recover compensation for this damage? And if so, how?
Recovering Compensation for Your Car’s Lower Value Due to Accident History
Case law thus far in New Jersey has more established that drivers seeking compensation for the lost value of their car due to its inclusion in a car accident history report will not be able to recover compensation for this kind of damage if they are filing a claim with their own insurance company (a first-party claim). However, if this first-party claim is being filed against your Uninsured/Under-Insured policy coverage, this kind of claim is usually treated like third-party claim, and compensation may be able to be recovered in such a situation.
On the other hand, driver’s have had success recovering compensation for this kind of car accident damage when filing third-party claims (claims against another driver’s insurance coverage).
The most important thing to keep in mind when seeking these kinds of damages, or for that matter damages of any kind, is that the party filing the claim and their West Milford auto accident lawyer will need to prove that the damages they say occurred actually occurred, and that they are worth what they are claiming them to be worth. This often involves hiring experts in a variety of fields to consult and testify to the matter, and this kind of expert consultation and testimony is seldom free.
What this boils down to is that if you believe the lost value of your car due to its involvement in an accident is less than the cost of hiring an expert to prove these damages occurred, it probably isn’t worth pursuing in the first place. Conversely, certain luxury cars, imported cars, or sports cars lose a massive percentage of their value, a value which was already high to begin with. In this kind of situation, it can be very worthwhile to work with an expert car appraiser to help you prove these damages, and ultimately help you recover the compensation which restores you and your car to its pre-accident state.
Contact Our Passaic County Car Accident and Injury Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Fredson & Statmore, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients and their families to recover full and fair compensation in car accident claims and personal injury claims of all kinds in towns across New Jersey and Passaic County, including Little Falls, West Milford, Clifton, Wayne, Pateron, and Woodland Park.
Our firm has already recovered millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and verdicts alike, and our track record of success and service speaks for itself.
To discuss your car accident, motor vehicle accident, or any other kind of accident resulting in injury and damages with our attorney team today in a free and confidential consultation, please contact us online.