Hi, I’m Mike Hancock with Hancock Injury Attorneys and today we’re going to discuss diminished value claims.
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 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 that when my clients present their diminished value claims themselves to the insurance companies, the insurance adjuster typically states the following: “Since your car was properly repaired, there’s no diminished value.” This is 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 is because we have the ability to file a lawsuit if necessary and push this to trial. And the trial of the case like this is fairly simple; it involves us hiring an expert to come in and provide an evaluation and an opinion as to what the diminished value claim is. And that is what the insurance companies hate because they know that even if they go out and obtain their own expert, their own expert most likely will agree with ours.
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 the how old the vehicle is, we take into account the amount of damage. And for the typical car, the diminished value 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 collector’s 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. As an example, if I have a Porsche 911 or an Aston Martin or a Mercedes s550, those cars, even without structural damage, are such that no one wants to touch those cars on the used market if they’ve had any type of damage history.
So, when it comes to regular type of vehicles, we need structural damage, when it comes to high-end luxury and sport models, we can represent you on your claim for diminished value even without any structural damage. We like to take cases in which the diminished value is at least ten thousand dollars
If you have any questions regarding your diminished value claim, I’d be happy to get on the phone with you or have an in-office consultation with you and discuss it at length and explain how we can benefit you in detail here in the office. For more information on diminished value claims please go to our website, HancockInjuryAttorneys.com.