Getting into a car accident comes with a long list of issues: medical bills, repair costs, lost wages, future medical bills, the loss of earning capacity and PTSD to name a few. Then to add insult to injury, if the car wasn’t totaled, whenever you decide to trade it in or sell it down the line, it will also have a diminished value. Why? Because every time you take your car in to the shop for repairs, it’ll show up on your Carfax report.
Let’s say you have a 2011 Lincoln MKZ and someone crashes into it. At the time you’re ready to trade in or sell, the value of the same make and model could be $10,000 if the car had not been involved in an accident. However if you now have an accident in the vehicle’s record, it’s worth $5,000. Can you sue the person who hit your car to recover its diminished value?
How to Make Diminished Value Claims in Florida
The good news is that, yes, you can sue an at-fault driver for the diminished value to your car due to an accident. That being said, the process is not a simple one.
1. The other party has to be at fault. If you were partially responsible for the accident, you won’t be able to pursue a claim against the other party’s insurance company.
2. You’ll need an estimate of the car’s value before the accident. Typically, this is done by expert testimony by someone in the automotive industry, who can provide information regarding the value of the same make and model car, with the same mileage, geographical location, and no history of car accidents.
3. You’ll need an appraisal of your car’s current value. This can’t be done by simply plugging your information into Auto Trader. Just like the estimate of your car’s value prior to the accident, you’ll need expert testimony regarding the value of your vehicle. This person providing this must have a thorough understanding of how the accident affected your car, as well as the market value of your motor vehicle.
4. You have a time limit to file your claim. A diminished value claim is a lawsuit for negligence. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a negligence claim is four years from the date of the accident.
If You Got Into This Situation And Were Not at Fault, Let Us Help You.
At Carey, Leisure & Neal, we have over three decades of combined experience successfully representing clients involved in car accidents. All of our attorneys are accessible and Board Certified in civil trial law. If you got into this situation, and were not at fault, let us help you. Contact us online or call us at 727-799-3900 to schedule a free consultation.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.