If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Florida that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to make a diminished value claim. This is a claim for the loss in value of your vehicle as a result of the accident.
Understanding Diminished Value Claims
A diminished value claim is a type of claim that drivers can make to seek compensation for the reduced value of their vehicle after an accident. The idea is that a sensible buyer would not be willing to pay the full price for a vehicle that has been involved in an accident.
The assessment is conducted by comparing it with similar motor vehicles in the local market that have not experienced an accident.
Types of Diminished Value Claims
There are three different types of claims relating to diminished value:
- Inherent Diminished Value: This is the most prevalent type and it pertains to the basic concept of a vehicle’s value decreasing due to an accident being recorded in its history.
- Immediate Diminished Value: This type involves damages that instantly reduce the vehicle’s value, regardless of whether they are repaired or not.
- Repair-Related Diminished Value: In cases where repairs are of substandard quality or improper, and the vehicle cannot be restored to a satisfactory state, a claim for repair-related diminished value may be warranted.
Filing a Diminished Value Claim in Florida
The process of filing a diminished value claim in Florida involves several steps:
- Contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company: Reach out to the other driver’s insurance company and ask about their diminished value processes and coverage.
- Determine the original value of your vehicle: You need to know the original value of your vehicle before the accident.
- Have an appraisal performed on your vehicle: An appraisal will help determine the current value of your vehicle.
- File the claim: Include the diminished value claim as a cause of action in your regular negligence lawsuit.
- Contact an attorney: Discuss your diminished value claim with an attorney to ensure you’re taking the right steps.
Keep in mind, in Florida, you have a two-year window from the date of the accident to file a diminished value claim. However, it’s crucial to obtain information about the car’s value as soon as possible following the accident.
Challenges in Filing a Diminished Value Claim
While the process of filing a diminished value claim may seem straightforward, there are several challenges that claimants often face:
- Eligibility: A diminished value claim can only be filed by a driver who is determined to not be at fault for the accident. The at-fault driver is not allowed to recover the diminished value of their vehicle.
- Insurance Company Resistance: Insurance companies often resist paying diminished value claims. They might underestimate the value of your car and use higher modifiers on your claim in an effort to pay you the smallest amount possible.
- Legal Complexities: Florida law does not allow such benefits recovery by default unless the insurance policy specifically empowers the claimant to recover benefits for diminution in value.
- Time Limitations: The statute of limitations on car accident claims is two years from the date of the accident. After the two-year window has closed, you cannot seek compensation.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
To successfully navigate the process of filing a diminished value claim in Florida, you must first of all understand your eligibility. As a Florida resident, you can file for 3 types of diminished value claims—repair, immediate, or inherent.
After that, make sure you gather the necessary documentation: the initial value of the vehicle, an appraisal report that gives a clear estimate of the vehicle’s lost value, and the vehicle’s mileage at the time of the accident.
It is important to note that most insurance companies cap diminished value claims at 10% of the vehicle’s initial value. This is why it’s essential to contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate this process successfully and reclaim the value that your vehicle has lost.
Contact our office at 954-915-7405 to schedule your free initial consultation.