After a car accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will pay to replace your car if the adjustor declares it a total loss. If your vehicle was not a total loss, the insurance company would pay for the repairs. Unfortunately, your vehicle will never regain the value it had before a collision and subsequent damage repair.
In most cases, you have the right to submit a claim or sue for the diminished value of your car – although the insurance company is not likely to volunteer this critical piece of information.
Contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today at 1-800-747-3733 for a free case review and to learn more about how a diminished value property damage car accident claims lawyer in Port St. Lucie can help.
Understanding Diminished Value in Car Accident Claims
Florida’s negligence laws require the at-fault party in an accident (or their insurance company, if applicable) to make the victim whole by compensating them for all actual damages.
After a car accident, once the negligent party’s insurance company pays to repair your vehicle’s damage, it may appear you have been made whole. However, your car will have a diminished market value after involvement in a collision – no matter how good the collision damage repair work may have been.
If you want to sell or trade your car in the future, the potential buyer will have access to the vehicle’s history report, which will provide details about the accident. With no way to determine how thorough or professional the repair shop was, no buyer will offer what your car’s value may have been if it had never been in a crash.
Diminution as Actual Damages
Diminution, or diminished value, is the difference between your car’s value before a car accident and after. And, just as the physical damage to your vehicle, diminution is actual economic damage.
Fortunately, the Florida statutes allow victims of a property damage car accident to pursue diminished value as a part of their settlement claim or lawsuit.
Determining the Value of Your Diminished Value Car Accident Claim
The value of your diminished value accident damage case will depend on a variety of factors related to your vehicle. Some information that we will consider when determining the value of your claim includes the following elements, specific to your automobile:
- Make and model
- Pre-accident condition
- Factory upgrades and features
- After-market upgrades and features
- Prior accidents and repairs
We will also consider the nature and extent of the damages your car sustained in the crash, and what types of repairs it required.
Your diminished value may also vary depending on where you reside, as different parts of the country have distinctly different automotive markets. For example, a one-ton pickup truck may carry a higher value in Texas than it would in New York City. Likewise, a convertible may be more valuable in Florida than it would be in Alaska.
Our legal team will consider these and other relevant factors to determine the most accurate estimation of your diminished value claim.
How a Diminished Value Accident Claims Lawyer Proves Your Damages
In any injury or property damage accident claim, you must demonstrate the at-fault party’s negligence to establish liability for your damages. Once you establish liability, you must demonstrate that you suffered actual damages (also known as compensatory damages). Proving actual damages requires that you submit evidence of your financial losses.
Proving the value of your diminution requires extensive documentation, especially if your diminished value claim is substantial. To demonstrate the value of your diminution, the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will assemble a variety of evidence, which may include:
- Information about the vehicle (mileage, make, model, year)
- Damage repair estimate and details
- Photos of the damaged vehicle
- Towing company receipts
- Certified vehicle appraiser opinion of value
- Subject matter expert testimony
If your vehicle carries a classic or historic designation, or if it is a particularly high-value or luxury vehicle, we may have to pursue further evidence and expert testimony to document a higher claim amount.
Once we submit your claim to the insurance company, we will work diligently to negotiate a fair settlement for your loss. We will protect your legal rights and ensure that the insurer negotiates in good faith. Otherwise, we will stand ready to file a lawsuit if appropriate.
Including Diminished Value in Your Original Car Accident Damage Claim
Depending on the client and the nature of the damages, our legal team can file a diminished value property damage claim by itself or as part of your original case.
In some cases, we may advise waiting until your vehicle repairs are complete to file a diminution claim, in case the collision damage repair shop discovers additional damage once they begin the work.
In most cases, you will not relinquish your rights to collect a diminished value, property damage car accident settlement by allowing the repairs on your vehicle to proceed. However, you must take care not to sign any releases or other documents requested by the insurance company without talking to our office. Doing so could prevent you from seeking any further damages from the negligent party’s insurance company.
Meet With a Diminished Value Claim Lawyer in Port St. Lucie for Free
Dealing with the insurance company can present a problem for accident victims, especially if they do not have extensive legal knowledge or negotiation experience. The insurance company will work hard to minimize the number of losses, which means they may offer you a meager or unacceptable settlement or attempt to get you to sign away your rights to compensation.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine help protect you from the insurance company by representing you in all matters concerning your property damage claim. By doing so, we will protect your legal rights and fight hard to ensure you get the fair compensation you deserve.
To answer your questions and help you take the next step in your property damage car accident claim, we offer a free consultation and case evaluation to clients in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
To set up an appointment with a diminished value car accident claim lawyer at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine contact us today at 1-800-747-3733.