The concept of diminished value is fairly simple the law recognizes that even if your vehicle has been properly repaired it still has a diminished value as a result of being involved in a crash. As an example, if you were in the market to buy a Porsche and you were told that Porsche had been involved in an accident, would you be willing to pay the same price for that car as a same vehicle sitting next to it that had never been involved in an accident? That’s the concept of diminished value claims.
Although there have been many Florida appellate and Supreme Court cases recognizing the right to recover diminished value for your vehicle, insurance companies will not offer that information to you. In fact it has been my experience with my clients that when they present the diminished value claims themselves to the insurance companies, the insurance adjuster typically asks the following question, “well sir was your car properly repaired and if so there’s no diminished value.” Which, is just a complete misstatement of the law.
Without actually hiring an attorney to represent you, you have no actual leverage to deal with the insurance adjuster or the insurance company. By retaining an attorney to represent you in your diminished value claim you go from a position of having no leverage to a position of strength and the reason that is is because we have the ability to file a lawsuit if necessary and push this to trial.
The statute of limitations in a diminished value case is four years from the date of the accident. This is because the underlying cause of damage to the vehicle is negligence against the other party. All negligence cases have a statute of limitations of at least four years.
Whether you have sustained a diminished value to your vehicle as a result of the accident really depends on a few factors. First we take into account what type of vehicle it is, we take into account how old the vehicle is, we take into account the amount of damage and for the typical car the experts really have to find that there has been structural damage to your car. If it’s just cosmetic damage and we’re talking about a car that has a retail value of twenty to forty thousand dollars, there’s not going to be any diminished value claim. If the car however is a high-end luxury model or high-end sport car or collectors car, those cars are of such nature that even without structural damage they can sustain a diminished value as a result of an accident even after being perfectly fixed.
We can represent you on your claim for diminished value even without any structural damage, or the damage can be significant. We like to take cases in which the diminished value is at least ten thousand dollars.