In our last blog entry , we discussed recovery of market value in auto accident cases . Today, we will discuss methods of proving market value and other methods of proving valuation of your damaged vehicle. These types of methods are not just applicable to auto accidents – they can be applied to any type of property damage from negligence.
To prove market value (defined as the difference in the value of the item immediately before and immediately after the collision), an injured party can offer either his/her own personal testimony or that of an expert provided the testimony deals with market value as opposed to sentimental value. The witness must be familiar with the market value of the property and the value must be measured at the time of the auto accident, not the value at time of trial.
A market value witness can introduce common appraisal guides like Kelley Blue Book which publishes automobile vehicle valuations as well as before and after photographs of the damaged vehicle.
Another critical component to proving market value is to introduce the repair bills to prove the difference in market value before and after the collision. The argument here is that the vehicle repair would ultimately make the vehicle like new or restore the car back to full working mode. Therefore, the cost of repairs becomes the primary evidence of loss in market value. The collision repair estimates then represent the difference in value before and after the car accident.
There are certain proposed measures of damages which the Texas courts have ruled are inadmissible as a means of proving market value including the purchase price of the vehicle (cars depreciate) and any amount remitted by the insurance company for losses.
If market value is not a viable option, the next category of valuation damages is replacement value, meaning the cost of replacing the car or reproducing the damaged goods. The cost of replacement is reduced by any enhancements or upgrades to the vehicle which were not present before the accident. In addition, the damages must be reduced by the depreciation of the original vehicle and the salvage value. So a vehicle that is 10 years old which is totaled in a San Antonio car accident could theoretically be replaced by a newer vehicle. However, replacement value would be reduced by the decrease in value due to depreciation and any salvage value of the original property.
To prove replacement value, the injured party can offer their own personal testimony or that of an expert concerning the cost of replacing damaged property. Testimony would consist of discussion of the condition and value of the property at the time of the accident, the initial cost of the vehicle, the cost of buying an equivalent replacement vehicle (using an appraisal guide like Kelley Blue Book), and the condition and value of the replacement vehicle.
In our next blog entry, we will discuss some alternative methods of valuating damages when market value or replacement value are not viable options. A San Antonio car accident lawyer can assist you with your property damage and auto accident injury claims in San Antonio and Austin.