If you have ever bought a car, you know that looking into a car’s prior accidents is an important step. Why? Because past accidents might have damaged the structure of the car, even if you cannot immediately see anything wrong. Prior accidents significantly lower the market price of a car. So, imagine you get into a car accident. If the majority of the fault lies with the other party, you should consider filing a diminished value claim. This claim takes into account the value your car has just lost by getting into that accident. Think about it. That accident may have just decreased your car’s resale value on sites such as CARFAX, even if it wasn’t your fault! You deserve compensation for your vehicle’s lost value.
In order to drive in Florida, you must have personal injury protection (PIP) as well as property damage liability, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Furthermore, Florida courts have affirmed a vehicle owner’s right to bring forth a claim for diminished value against the at-fault party’s insurance provider. A notable diminished value case is Siegle v. Progressive
Consumer’s Insurance Company in 2002, where the driver was able to recover the diminished value of their vehicle from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In that instance, the value “loss” was defined as “direct and accidental loss or damage to your insured auto, including its equipment.” So, if you’ve been in a car accident which was the fault of another driver, consider filing additional diminished value claims and get the loss compensation you are entitled to.
What Factors Impact a Diminished Value Claim?
When deciding whether or not to pursue a diminished value claim, there are many factors to consider. These factors consider the damage done to your car as well as your car’s value. They include, but are not limited to:
- Your vehicle’s make
- Your vehicle’s model
- Your vehicle’s mileage
- Your vehicle’s year of manufacturing
- Your vehicle’s history before the current accident
- Your vehicle’s market value before the current accident
Information pertaining to the accident
- Your vehicle’s condition pre-crash
- Your vehicle’s condition post-crash
- Extent of damage done to your vehicle
- Repair costs
- Your vehicle’s condition after repair
- Your vehicle’s market value with the added accident history
Keep in mind that if your car is a new or a luxury vehicle, then the diminished value could be quite high, upwards of thousands of dollars. Conversely, if your vehicle is older, with more mileage or in bad condition initially, the diminished value may be much smaller, even negligible. Of course, assessing the damage can be confusing and difficult for someone unaware of Florida vehicle accident laws. This is where a car accident lawyer comes in. An experienced attorney will be able to walk you through the steps and determine whether or not a claim is in your best interest.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help You File a Diminished Value Claim
Often, filing this type of claim is a lot more complicated than just handing over your vehicle’s data to an appraiser and waiting for their results. The following are some examples of the trouble you might run into if you decide to file the claim on your own:
Dealing with the Insurance Company: Often, insurance companies want to settle as soon as possible. They often offer low-ball sums in the hopes that you take their offer. A car accident attorney can advise you on if the insurance settlement offer is good or not. Your attorney may advise you to file a diminished value claim if the majority of fault lies with the other party and your car’s value dropped significantly.
Navigating Liability and Fault: Deciding where the liability and fault lies in a car accident is always a tricky situation. The insurance companies have their idea, as do you and the other driver. What you say and the evidence which you have are going to significantly impact the way your case unfolds. Having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side during this time means you won’t be taken advantage of or pressured. A lawyer will help you make sure your story is being heard.
Aiding Appraisal Issues: Unfortunately, the appraiser you choose for your claim can be challenged by the insurance company. They have their own appraisers who may possibly calculate lower values than the one which you obtained. This disparity may cause significant friction during your claim process. It can be a terrible situation in which to find yourself. A car accident attorney can help you navigate this legal process with confidence.
Filing a Lawsuit: Lawyers are beneficial because they can file your case and take things to court, if needed. Although most cases are settled out of court, if insurance settlement discussions break down, your lawyer can file a lawsuit. The threat of litigation is often which pushes an insurance company to settle. A car accident lawyer keeps you from being pushed around when settlement negotiations go astray.
Get Help Today: Contact Browning Law Firm in Fort Walton Beach, FL
Filing a diminished value claim is a settlement facet often overlooked by people involved in a car accident. Yet, if your car has lost a significant amount of value, filing a claim might be what you need in order to repair your car or buy a new one. At Browning Law Firm in Fort Walton Beach, FL, we have extensive experience dealing with the intricate details involved in car accident law, insurance settlements and diminished value claims. Contact us today and let us help you get the compensation you so rightly deserve.