Although the concept of diminished value has been around formally for at least 200 years, diminished value in the automobile context has become much more popular recently, primarily because of the proliferation of technology and the use of vehicle reporting agencies.
It is axiomatic that a party would never knowingly pay as much for a vehicle that had been in an accident as they would an identical vehicle with no accident history. This is the essence of “diminution in value”.
In the past, the prospective purchaser may not have actually known the car they were looking at had been in an accident, thus they would not have expected to pay less for it because it carried the stigma of damaged goods. If the repair was optimal, only the well trained eye of a dealer or mechanic could discern that the vehicle had been in an accident which meant that you could sell your damaged vehicle without the risk that someone would know about and want to pay less for it.
Today that is no longer true. With the proliferation of technology and vehicle reporting services, it is highly unlikely that you’ll be able to conceal your vehicle’s damage history.