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Automobile Negligence and Diminished Value

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Say your car is worth $7,000, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) guide. Then all of a sudden your involved in an accident and you have to make a claim on your insurance. The insurer or negligent parties insurer pays for the repairs on your car (minus your deductible) and you decide to sell the car. As you shop your car around, you find that you can’t get anything near $6,000 for it because it was wrecked and repaired. What happened? Your car has experienced diminished value (also known as diminution in value). So, can you make a claim for this “loss” under your auto insurance policy?

In Oklahoma the answer is yes. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has held that “the overwhelming weight of legal authority supports the rule that damages are not limited to the cost of repairs actually made where it is shown that repairs failed to bring the property up to the condition it was in prior to the damage. In such cases, the cost of repairs made plus the diminution in value of the property will ordinarily be the proper measure of damages.”