Calculating Vehicle Damage After an Accident

How do you calculate the dollar amount of damage to your car after an accident?

The first step is to get an estimate from a car repair shop. Be sure to check and see if your repair company is covered by your insurance, since not all insurance companies work with all repair shops. Get an estimate before you take it in for repairs.

Be sure to save all the bills from the repair company you take the car to. If the car needs to be serviced in more than one shop, make sure you retain the bills from each location. Any costs related to the damage, such as paying to have it towed, should be included.

Diminished Value

There are times when the vehicle damage calculation becomes a bit complicated. That’s because vehicles that have been in accidents have “diminished value.”

Diminished value refers to the fact that, even though a car has been completely repaired, it doesn’t retain the same value as a car that has never been in an accident. Even if there is no visible or structural damage, many buyers will consider a car that has been damaged in a collision structurally weaker and less sound than one that has never been in an accident.

As a result, buyers usually are not willing to pay as much for a car that’s been in an accident as they are for one that’s accident-free. Your car’s value, therefore, has been diminished by the fact of the accident. Many of the reports that used car buyers look at, such as Carfax and similar services, will reveal whether a car has been involved in an accident, including the date.

Either the insurance company or the party responsible for the accident should compensate you for the diminished value of your car.

What if Your Car Is a Total Loss?

If a car would cost more to repair than it would be worth at resale (using a reputable site like Kelley Blue Book or Edwards), the insurance company will likely declare it a total loss, no matter the amount of damage.

In other words, a total loss depends as much on the value of your car as on the nature and extent of the damage to it. If the value of the car is less than the repair cost, a total loss could be declared even if the damage doesn’t look that bad to observers.

Call a Respected Louisiana Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a crash, call seasoned Baton Rouge and Lafayette car accident lawyer Bart Bernard today. Your initial consultation with Bart will cost you nothing, and you owe no fees unless we win your case. Call today, and Hit Hard with Bart Bernard™!

Additional Resources:

  1. Araujo, Mila. Diminished Value After a Car Accident: Will Your Car Insurance Pay? The Balance. October 25, 2018.
  2. Accident Guide in Louisiana.
  3. Kelley Blue Book.



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