August 5, 2016
Back in 1930, automobiles weren’t nearly as prevalent as they are today. But, people still got into car crashes and then had to deal with the repercussions of owning a vehicle that’s been in a collision. That year, the Oregon Supreme Court heard the case of Rossier v. Union Automobile Insurance Company in which the plaintiff’s vehicle collided with a truck and suffered pretty significant damage. The Court stated in its decision, “It is common knowledge that the nature and extent of damage to a car may be such that replacement or repair of broken parts will not compensate the insured for his loss.” The Court went on to conclude, “It cannot be said that there has been a complete restoration of the property unless it can be said that there has been no diminution of value after repair of the car.” Thus was born the concept of “diminished value.”
Diminished value simply means that a car that’s been damaged in a collision and then repaired is usually worth less than if it had never been hit. Whenever someone is going to buy a used vehicle, one of the questions they invariably ask is, “Has it ever been in a collision?” People ask this question because they have concerns about the quality of the repairs, whether the vehicle’s structural integrity has been compromised, whether the replacement parts are good quality, whether the warranty has been affected, and so on. If the vehicle does have a history of damage, the buyer will usually demand a discount before purchasing it. Auto dealerships will do the same if the vehicle is a trade-in.
If your car has been damaged and then repaired because of a crash caused by someone else, you may have suffered diminished value and you might not even realize it until you try to sell the vehicle. Depending on how long it’s been since the collision, you might be prevented from recovering from the at-fault party because of the statute of limitations. Corbridge Law Offices has represented dozens of people whose vehicles have suffered diminished value and its attorneys are eager to help those who find themselves in this situation.