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How To File a Diminished Value Claim in Florida

After getting into a car accident, you already know that you have the right to receive compensation if another person was responsible for your accident. But you may not be aware that a car accident loss of value can be something else that you sue for. Knowing how to claim diminished value in Florida and finding a diminished value attorney in Florida can increase your chances of success with your case. Reading on, you can learn all about loss of value claim after a car accident and proving diminished value.

Understanding Diminished Value

Diminished value is the term used to talk about a car’s drop in value after a car accident. A vehicle that has been in a more serious car accident will usually have a significantly lower resale price than if that vehicle were never in an accident. Even if the car was repaired according to the highest standards and you cannot tell that the car was in an accident by looking at it, your car will lose value. According to the law, you could actually be compensated for this diminished value.

There are a few different kinds of diminished value that you should be aware of.

Inherent Diminished Value

Just by being in a car accident, a car loses its value. It doesn’t matter if the car was completely fixed and has no evidence that it was in an accident. Inherent diminished value is typically the common diminished value claim. It focuses on the difference of value from what your car was valued prior to the car crash, and then what the value is after the car crash and a high-quality repair job. This is because cars that have been in car accidents are viewed as less safe than vehicles who have never been in an accident.

Repair-Related Diminished Value

Unfortunately, you’re not always going to get a repair job that can fully restore your car back to its former glory after you’ve been in an accident. Repair-related diminished value is where the car’s value was diminished due to the lower quality of the repair work after a car accident. There are a couple of examples of this. One example is when the repair company just uses secondhand parts for the car. Another example is if the color was not adequately matched. These are just two examples of repair-related diminished value.

Immediate Diminished Value

Similar to inherent diminished value, immediate diminished value refers to the immediate loss of value that a car experiences right after the accident. This value doesn’t factor in any potential repairs in the future, only the value of the car right before and right after the collision occurred. This is not the most common diminished value claims.

Can I File a claim for Diminished Value?

Suing for diminished value can be a complex issue to deal with. You are able to sue and file a petition for diminished value, under certain circumstances. These circumstances include:

  • If there’s another party who is at fault in the accident, which led to the damage that your car has suffered from.
  • You own or finance your vehicle.

If the driver who was deemed at fault and liable for the accident has insurance, their insurance company is usually responsible for any of your damages caused by the accident. In addition to paying for things like medical expenses or car repairs, they could also compensate you for any diminished value on your car that was caused by this accident. If the other driver was underinsured or not insured at all, you might get coverage for diminished value through your own insurance, as long as you have coverage for uninsured motorists.

The problem is that you do need a bit of evidence in order to effectively prove your diminished value claim. Some evidence that you will need for proving diminished value include:

  • Photographs of both the damage to your car and the scene of the accident.
  • Any documentation of repairs required after the accident.
  • Car appraisal from a professional.

An accident attorney can work with other professionals that can help to prove any claims of diminished value. This includes working with certified appraisers who can determine the fair value for your car and any other essential advice for your case. These experts are well-versed in the markets for vehicles in the area and can not only analyze any damage, but also the quality of the completed repairs. This can give you the information that you need to get the best possible outcomes for your cause, including how much value your car actually lost.

How Long Does Someone Have to File a Claim for Diminished Value?

Just as you would with any other claim, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after you have been in a car accident and think that you have a claim for diminished value. There are plenty of reasons why you should file your claim as soon as possible. For one thing, you can get your money sooner the earlier that you file your claim.

Another reason why it’s so important for you to file a claim for diminished value right away is because if you wait too long, you may not be able to get the evidence that you need for your case. Witnesses may forget what happened. It may be harder to collect any evidence to support your claim. In order to have the strongest case possible, you will want to get started on your claim as soon as possible after an accident.

You should also consider the fact that as time goes on, your car will naturally decrease in value. Depreciation happens as time goes on, which further decreases the value of your car.

A final thing to consider is that states typically have a statute of limitations for these diminished value claims. If you are too late when filing your diminished value claims, you won’t be able to receive the compensation that you are entitled to. You should be sure that you have a car accident lawyer on your side that has experience with these types of claims. Diminished claims cases can be extremely complex, so you want to have a professional by your side during these cases. They can let you know whether or not you have a viable claim for diminished value.

Is It Worth It to File a Claim for Diminished Value?

The biggest problem with diminished value claims is that these can be extremely difficult to prove. Whether or not it’s actually worth it to go through a claim can really depend on your specific situation. If you have an older car or if your car didn’t really sustain any major damage in an accident, you may find that a diminished value claim isn’t worth your time. But, if your car did sustain extensive damages in a car crash and/or is worth far less even after you paid for a quality repair, you may benefit from a diminished value claim. These claims can help you recover compensation for any significant hits that your financials took as a result of the accident and the diminished value of your claim.

In order to determine whether or not a diminished value claim is worth the time, you will want to consult with a legal professional. They can give you an honest opinion as to whether or not it is actually worth it to file a claim for diminished value. The legal professional will talk to you about any and all of your options to recover the compensation that you are entitled to after an accident, including diminished value.

Are Insurance Companies Supposed to Pay for Diminished Value Claims?

You won’t necessarily be guaranteed to receive compensation for diminished value claims. If the other party was found liable in your accident and they have decent car insurance, you can typically recover damages for your vehicle’s diminished value. You will need to be able to prove your claim for diminished value in order to get the other party’s insurance company to cover your diminished value claim.

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How Can an Attorney Help with a Diminished Value Claim?

As previously mentioned, it can be essential for you to hire a legal professional for your diminished value claim. Laws can vary on diminished value claims from state to state. But a lawyer that specializes in diminished value claims in Florida can be your best asset during your case. It’s important to have someone on your side, fighting for your best interests. A lawyer with your best interests at heart will offer you valuable advice about your case and make sure that you know exactly what your rights are throughout this process.

There are quite a few ways that a lawyer can help you with a diminished value claim. This section will take a closer look at the different ways that a lawyer can help.

Handles the Insurance Companies for You

Insurance companies make their money by paying out as little money as possible for claims. They won’t want to just hand you money. In fact, they may employ sketchy tactics that help them avoid paying you any money at all. Dealing with insurance companies can be extremely tricky, which is why you should avoid dealing with them by yourself.

Instead, a lawyer can handle them for you. They have a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and understand all of the tactics that they typically use to get out of paying the compensation a person is entitled to. The attorney can better negotiate with the insurance company to get you the fair compensation that you deserve for your claim. Having a lawyer handle the insurance company prevents any issues and ensures the best outcomes possible.

Full Investigation

You may have some evidence, but you likely can’t get all of the evidence that you actually need in order to prove your claim. You need to have a lot of evidence to prove your claim, as diminished value cases are highly complex. You don’t necessarily have all of the resources that you need to get the thorough evidence that you need.

This is where a lawyer can be greatly beneficial to you. A lawyer will have a team of professionals and experts that can thoroughly investigate your case. This means that they can let you know about all of the different damages that you can collect in your case, including diminished value. Your lawyer can help you by:

  • Identifying all of the liable parties for your accident.
  • Gathering essential evidence that is necessary to prove your claim.
  • Building a solid case against any of the at-fault parties for your accident.
  • Providing expert witnesses that can help prove your case.
  • Accurately calculate the diminished value of your car so that you know what a fair settlement will be for your case.

Offers You Peace of Mind

Most of all, a lawyer can give you peace of mind that you will get the best outcomes possible for your case. It can be frustrating and extremely time-consuming to deal with a diminished value claim without having a lawyer on your side. A lawyer will provide you with a team that will work with you every step of the way, helping you better understand the process. They can let you know what to expect every step of the way.

When you are going through something with such financial consequences, it can be very stressful. The peace of mind that you get when you work with a lawyer can make you feel much better throughout this process.

How Do They Calculate Diminished Value?

There is no specific regulations or laws to determine how to accurately calculate diminished value. The laws merely state that you are able to collect compensation for diminished value. There are essentially 2 primary ways to calculate the diminished value. The first way is known as the general rule, which is where you calculate the immediate diminished value by gross diminished value. This is the difference between the car’s market value right before and right after the car accident occurs, before you have any repairs completed on your car.

The alternative rule consists of the inherent diminished value and the gross diminished value. This looks at the difference between the car’s market value before the accident and its lesser value once repairs have been completed on your car. If the value of the damaged then repaired vehicle is less than what the value was before the car was damaged, you can be entitled to recover the cost of any repairs as well as the diminished value after the completed repair.

There are other methods that may be used to calculate a car’s diminished value, including:

  • Formulas
  • Algorithms
  • Use of online calculators for diminished values
  • Price guides
  • Car dealers
  • Auction data
  • Diminished value appraisals

A lawyer can work with an independent appraiser, who specializes in diminished value.

Proving Diminished Value Claim

It’s important to take a closer look at how you can prove a diminished value claim. These can be notoriously hard to prove, but by knowing how to prove your case you can get a better chance of receiving the compensation that you deserve.

A common mistake that people make is that they immediately go to a car dealership or another licensed appraiser to get necessary documentation for your claim. Unfortunately, this can give you the supplemental documentation that you need, but this isn’t the documentation that you want for your claim. The best thing that you can do here is to go to an independent and licensed appraiser that specializes in diminished value.

It’s important to go to an independent appraiser because they aren’t interested in picking sides for the claim. They are unbiased and won’t make a profit by selling your car. This not only means they offer you the most valuable information, but it also means that they will make excellent witnesses if you are going to move forward with your claim.

You do need to have evidence that the other party is at fault for the accident that led to the damages to your car. After this point, you need additional evidence that can strengthen your case. This includes ensuring that you get this independent appraisal of your car’s diminished value.  

Conclusion

If your car was significantly damaged in a car accident, you may have a valid claim for compensation for any diminished value. You will need to make sure that you contact a legal professional that can help you with your case. This will help you get the best possible outcomes for your diminished value claims. To learn more about what your rights are in these cases and whether or not you should move forward with your claim, you should contact a legal professional as soon as possible. They can tell you exactly how they can help you with your case.

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The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

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