When a vehicle is involved in a crash and is then repaired it is generally worth less than it would be had it not been damaged. The reason for this is quite simple, when a buyer is looking to purchase a used vehicle, those that have previously been damaged and repaired carry a stigma. This stigma generally results in a lower resale value. Victims of this situation can bring a claim for damages against the at fault motorist for their ‘accelerated depreciation’.
- The claim needs to be against the at-fault party. The insurance company of the at-fault driver (such as ICBC) is the wrong party to sue. Typically the action is brought against the driver of the at-fault vehicle along with the registered owner who is ‘vicariously liable‘ for damage caused by people who operate their vehicle with their consent.
- The claim must describe a ’cause of action’. In other words you have to sue for a recognized wrong. Typically car crash cases deal with ‘negligence’ that is, the at fault motorist caused the crash by careless driving.
- The resulting harm needs to be caused by the negligent action. The Pleadings should reflect that the accelerated depreciation was caused as a result of the at-fault driving of the Defendant.
- The loss needs to be proven with admissible evidence. It is not good enough to baldly suggest that a vehicle sustained an accelerated depreciation. Some vehicles do not sustain any loss in value following a collision. It is a good idea to retain a qualified expert to examine the vehicle, the repairs done and to then comment on what the vehicle’s lost value is compared to its natural depreciation at the time of the collision. The expert should be prepared to come to court to testify as to his opinion and the expert’s report needs to be served in compliance with the Rules of Court.
- You must bring your lawsuit in time. If you wait beyond the applicable limitation period before starting your lawsuit the claim will be dismissed.
- If you have personal injuries but fail to sue for these and only claim for accelerated depreciation you may be barred from bringing a personal injury action later. It is important to claim damages for all losses resulting from the crash.