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Trade-Ins After a Car Accident: What You Need to Know and How a Lawyer Can Help

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You were sitting at a stop sign in Austin when a truck rear-ended your vehicle. Not much damage was sustained to your vehicle; however, you did seek medical treatment for whiplash. After your vehicle was repaired, and looks better than ever, you learned that not only does the accident put the car at risk for being a dangerous used car if you trade it in, but the fender-bender will also actually bring down the trade-in value.  

Unfortunately, car dealerships typically don’t give car owners the Kelley Blue Book value for vehicles that have been involved in accidents, even if the collisions were minor and the automobiles show no signs of damage. A simple Carfax report will show that the car was in an accident, and the dealership will then base the trade-in value on the damage that was sustained. Typically, the dealership will offer about 10 to 30 percent less for a car that has been involved in an accident than it would for a car in the same condition that has not been in a collision.

How the Dealership Will Calculate Your Car’s Trade-In Value

In addition to factoring in a car accident when determining the value of your vehicle, dealerships look at a few other determinants when coming up with an offer, including:

  • Cosmetic damage. It makes sense that a dealership will factor in the appearance of your vehicle when making an offer. Even if the damage wasn’t created by an accident, like a dent from an opening car door making contact with your vehicle, any dent, scratch, or otherwise cosmetic imperfection can have a big impact on the amount you receive for a trade in. However, if you’ve had work done to the vehicle that eliminates the damage, you may get a bigger offer than you would otherwise.
  • Vehicle age. When older vehicles are not involved in accidents, they are typically worth less than new vehicles are. However, a newer vehicle that is involved in a crash will receive a bigger hit in the amount offered than an older model, because the older car’s value has already depreciated, so getting into an accident won’t make the value drop down as much. The value of a newer car that is involved in a crash will be impacted much more.
  • Salvage title. Salvage titles are issued to vehicles that have been damaged or deemed as total losses because of damage. If you are involved in an accident, your vehicle will receive this type of “branding.” Even if your car was completely repaired, it will still carry a salvage title on it, which is unfortunate, because a majority of dealerships will not trade in a vehicle that has this type of title.
  • Major damage. Even if your vehicle is completely repaired of all major damage, it will still draw in a smaller trade-in amount than one that was not involved in any accidents. Whenever a driver files a police report or a claim with his insurance company, the damage and repairs will appear in the car history.

How an Attorney Can Help

If you decide to file a claim against the person who was at fault in your car accident, you probably know you can make claims for your medical bills, time lost from work, money spent on trips back and forth to the doctor’s office, and vehicle repairs. However, you may not know that you can also include the amount of money you will lose on the trade-in value of your vehicle because of the accident. Some defense attorneys will argue that their clients shouldn’t have to pay for that, and this is where having the help of a good attorney on your side comes in.

Having a knowledgeable and skilled attorney from the law offices of Wayne Wright working for you increases your chances of getting the financial compensation you deserve. Contact us today by calling 800-237-3334 to schedule your consultation and find out how we can help.

Thank you for your article. I found this useful. -- GREGORY P. SGRO, Auto accident attorney http://www.sgrolawyers.com/
Posted by GREGORY P. SGRO on December 19, 2016 at 07:06 AM

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