If your car sustains damage in an accident that someone else caused, their insurance company traditionally pays for the necessary repairs. However, even if the repairs return your vehicle to like-new condition, its value may diminish. The legal term for this phenomenon is “diminution,” or the diminishing of monetary value.
Under the Florida statutes, a vehicle owner can pursue a claim for diminution from the negligent party who caused the accident, typically by filing directly with their insurance company. To make a diminished value car insurance claim, however, you must provide clear proof of the diminution and its dollar value.
The car accident lawyers at Anidjar & Levine can aid you in proving your claim for diminished value and other damages. Call us today for a free case evaluation at 800-747-3733.
What Is Diminished Value in a Car Insurance Claim?
After a car crash, even once your car repairs are complete, the market value of your vehicle diminishes as compared to the identical vehicle that never sustained damage in an accident. The reasons a car’s value diminishes after an accident primarily relate to safety and the subsequent buyer’s concerns about value.
Used car buyers often avoid buying an “accident car,” as many vehicle history reporting services call them. If there is evidence of towing on a car history report, buyers inherently fear a serious accident and extensive damages.
Consumers understand that insurance companies do not like paying claims and unethical auto repair shops sometimes take shortcuts. So, even if your vehicle underwent the highest quality repairs, a buyer may be unwilling to take that chance.
Even if you plan to trade your vehicle in at the dealership, rather than sell it yourself, the dealer knows that a formerly wrecked vehicle carries a stigma that makes it a tough sell — and worth significantly less than an equivalent vehicle that did not sustain damage in an accident.
Who Is Responsible for Paying Your Diminished Value Claim?
The Florida statutes addressing the settlement of motor vehicle claims give legal standing to a vehicle owner to pursue a diminished value claim from an at-fault driver (or that driver’s insurance company.)
How Do You Prove Diminished Value in a Car Insurance Claim?
Depending on the make, model, year, and amenities, the diminished value of your vehicle could be many thousands of dollars.
In Florida, the plaintiff (claimant) carries the burden of proving diminished value of their vehicle. This means that you (and your car accident lawyer, if you have one) must document your vehicle’s diminution.
Proving diminution can present a significant challenge, especially to a vehicle owner. Some collision damage repair shops can provide an estimate of value for your car with and without having undergone damage and repair. However, the insurance company may not accept this assessment.
Ideally, you can call on a certified vehicle appraiser or another recognized industry expert to handle the research for you. These professionals have extensive knowledge of vehicle markets, particularly in your area, as well as the ability to analyze collision damage and the quality of completed repairs.
Car accident lawyers have access to such subject matter experts if you struggle to find someone who can verify your diminution to the insurance company’s satisfaction.
How Can a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
Car accident lawyers work daily to help their clients recover damages sustained in Florida car accidents, including car repair and diminished value claims.
Contact the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine today at 800-747-3733 to learn more. You can schedule a no-cost consultation to speak to one of our Florida car accident lawyers, who help you determine if you have a valid diminished value car insurance claim.