Diminished Value Claims High-End Vehicles
Hancock Injury Attorneys represents clients with diminished value claims for their high-end, ultra high-end, exotic, antique, collector, luxury vehicles.
In addition to representing clients in significant personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from car crashes, Hancock Injury Attorneys has developed a niche specialty practice representing owners of high-end, ultra-high-end, exotic, antique, collector, luxury vehicles that have suffered a diminution in value (diminished value) as the result a car crash.
We are very selective in the cases we accept. The diminished value of your vehicle must exceed $10,000.00 before we will agree to represent you in your claim for diminished value. The most common car brands that we would consider would include Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Land Rover Range Rover, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lexus, Tesla, Bugatti, Lotus, McLaren, and Chevrolet Corvettes.
How Much is My Diminished Value Claim Worth?
Florida law allows for diminished value (also known as diminution of value) claims against the at-fault party that caused the crash. The actual legal measure of damages is set forth in Florida Jury Instruction 501.2 (h), which states the measure of property damage includes:
- The difference between the value of the vehicle immediately before the crash and its value immediately afterward.
- The reasonable cost of repair, if it was practicable to repair the vehicle, with due allowance for any difference between its value immediately before the crash and its value after repair.
- Taken into consideration is any loss to the vehicle owner for for towing or storage charges and by being deprived of the use of the vehicle during the period reasonably required for its replacement or repair.
Even though Florida law and Florida Jury Instructions clearly and unambiguously allow for diminished value claims, every single insurance company in Florida will fight to the bitter end to avoid paying such claims. We constantly hear from my clients’ stories about how an adjuster has asserted that there is no diminution of value claim if the repairs were completed in a satisfactory manner. Or assertions by insurance adjusters that there are no diminished value claims until such time that you sell your car for less than it would have been worth had it not been in an accident. Both assertions are patently false.
Florida Law on your Right to a Diminished Value Claim
Florida case law going back to 1982 recognizes your right to recover damages for diminished value. In the case of McHale v. Farm Bureau, 409 So. 2d 238 (1982), the Third District Court of Appeals held that the “…cost of repairs made plus the diminution in value will ordinarily be the measure of damages.” The Court went on to define diminution of value as the diminished value “…by virtue of the vehicle having been involved in the accident.”
In 1984, The Florida Department of Insurance published informational bulletin (84-270), which supported the right to compensation for diminished value in Florida. The bulletin states:
“The responsibility of the insurance company for automobile accident damages is the substantial restoration of the automobile as to function, appearance, and value. The owner has not been properly indemnified unless there is no diminution in value of the automobile as it was before the damage and as it is after repairs.”
In the case of Siegle v. Progressive Consumers Insurance Company, 819 So. 2d 732 (2002), the Florida Supreme Court again recognized Florida’s longstanding right of vehicle owners to be legally entitled to recover for the diminished value of their vehicles after having been repaired, when it held “We recognize that one may sustain an economic value loss when the repair of damage is perfect in every respect.”
Although for most brands and models of cars there will be minimal or no diminished value unless there has been structural damage to the vehicle, the same is not true for the case of damage to high-end luxury and sports cars. In those cases, the loss in value to such high end luxury and sports cars is far greater than in mainstream vehicles. The individual willing to pay $100,000.00 to $200,000.00 and above for a vehicle will not purchase a vehicle with any history of damage, and if they do, they demand a significant discount for the vehicle.