Diminished Value Claims in Florida Explained
The second you buy a car and drive it off a dealer’s lot, it loses value. This is something called “depreciation,” and it can be costly for those who plan to sell or trade-in their vehicles in the future, especially those with expensive luxurious cars. What’s more, car depreciation can be a real problem when your new car sustains damage in a Florida car accident.
Typically, depreciation is calculated by the age, condition, make, and mileage of a car. Once your car is damaged, its condition is altered, and the value exponentially decreases. Why is this so important? Despite efforts to collect the full extent of your property damage in a car accident claim, insurers may only pay for the cost of repairs—failing to consider your car’s value before and after the accident. Hence, without the assistance of a car accident attorney, you may lose a lot of money.
Understanding Diminished Value in Florida
The difference between the initial market value for your car and its market price after an accident is referred to as diminished value. Fortunately, in some cases, you can pursue a diminished value property claim to recover some of the lost value in the State of Florida.
Generally, vehicle owners file a diminished value claim when another driver is at fault for their accident. Although the at-fault driver and their insurer may pay to repair the vehicle, some auto service centers replace parts with third-party equivalents or aftermarket parts that function the same but are less expensive. Many people believe that once their vehicle is repaired after a car accident, its market value will be reinstated. Unfortunately, even if the repair was executed flawlessly and the car looks as good as new, the simple fact that the car was in an accident and had to be repaired will lower its value.
Types of Diminished Car Value Claims
With respect to diminished value, there are three types a vehicle may sustain, and each primarily depends on whether the repair was completed or started. The three stages are explained below.
- Immediate diminished value: Filing for the immediate loss of resale value that your car suffered at the time of the accident before any repairs have begun
- Inherent diminished value: Filing for your vehicle’s loss of appeal once it has been repaired to its initial condition or as close as possible
- Repair-related diminished value: Filing for the loss of your vehicle’s value due to the repairer’s inability to completely or perfectly repair your vehicle to its original condition
Inherent diminished value claims are most common and can take the form of a first-party or third-party claim. First-party claims are made against the vehicle owner’s personal insurer if it falls under the policy’s terms. On the other hand, third-party claims are made against the negligent party and their insurer and regulated by tort law. In Florida, diminished value damages can only be pursued through a third-party claim.
How to Get Paid for a Diminished Value Claim
Not all cars that are damaged and repaired are eligible to make up for the loss of equity through a diminished value claim. Some older models may increase in value after older parts are substituted for newer replacement parts. When submitting a diminished value claim against a third party in Florida, eligibility for compensation is based on the following:
- Proving another driver is at fault
- Filing a claim within four years from the date of the accident
- Obtaining accurate pre- and post-accident appraisals
- Presenting evidence to prove the depreciation on your car
Proving diminution in value takes time and a clear understanding of the vehicle market, collision damage, and insurance. To ensure you’re fairly compensated for your losses, it’s best to consult a Florida accident attorney with access to resources to help confirm the value of your claim.
Learn More About Diminished Value with Orlando Car Accident Attorneys
At The Umansky Law Firm, our legal team provides every client with the support needed to navigate complicated Florida car accidents and personal injury laws. If your vehicle was damaged in an Orlando car crash, our seasoned personal injury lawyers will remind you of your legal rights and explain how diminished value may apply to your case. In addition to diminished value damages, we may also help you recover compensation if you were seriously injured.
Working with The Umansky Law Firm means you benefit from a firm that possesses over 100 years of cumulative experience in this area of law. We combine a client-focused approach with the highest level of professional integrity because we care about helping our clients achieve results. When you’re ready to get started on your case, call our office or complete a contact form online for a free consultation.