When it comes to car accidents, there are certain terms that are more familiar to the general population than others. For example, when most people hear about negligence, there’s a general understanding that someone acted in a careless manner. By the same token, if someone has a claim for personal injuries, even if there is dissent about the extent of them, both parties acknowledge a similar meaning. But, what about diminished value claims? How, exactly, do you prove them?
What is a diminished value claim?
Florida law establishes that you are entitled to the diminished value (DV) of your motor vehicle after a car accident. The reasoning for this type of claim is that a reasonable consumer would refuse to pay full value for a car with an accident in its history. When making such evaluation, it has to be done vis-à-vis comparable motor vehicles that are available in your local market — the same year, make, model, condition, and mileage — but without the accident history. Such a comparison must also be done against cars that have been appraised and/or sold for such value within the preceding 90 days.
How to File a Diminished Value Claim in Florida
The statute of limitations to file a diminished value claim in Florida is four years from the date of the accident. However, you must have information regarding the value of the car as soon as possible after the accident. Additional wear and tear and mileage from the passage of time will not be considered in such a claim.
When filing a diminished value claim, you include it as a cause of action in your regular negligence lawsuit. For example, if you got injured in the accident, had to miss time off work, and are now concerned about your car being worth less, you file a lawsuit with all claims — one for personal injuries, one for lost wages, and one for the diminished value of your vehicle.
How to Calculate Diminished Value in Florida
The specific dollar amount has to be calculated, and you must provide proof in writing, when establishing your claim. To do so, look for information on the value of your car prior to the accident — by using information as the make, model, features, condition, and mileage. Then, get your motor vehicle inspected as soon as possible after the accident. Florida Statutes Section 626.9743 requires a person filing such a claim to provide documentation that includes itemized dollar amounts of all parts of the vehicle that were damaged.
When repairing your vehicle, the itemized sections should include the value of the original parts that need to be replaced. The party who caused the accident cannot require the use of replacement parts that are not at least equivalent in kind and quality to the damaged parts in terms of fit, appearance, and performance.
How can a lawyer help in a diminished value claim case?
You should always speak with an experienced attorney after a car accident. This is because, from the moment a claim is made with the guilty party’s insurance company, an adjuster will reach out to you in attempts to obtain more information about the accident. This is done to figure out a settlement agreement. Often, the person on the phone will sound professional and reasonable. However, it doesn’t matter how likable they may sound. Their main objective is to diminish their insured’s liability. Any statement you make — no matter how innocent you may think it sounds — can be used against you later on. It could be used as an admission of partial responsibility for the accident, or as an affirmation that your vehicle may have been worth less than what it was prior to the accident.
Even if you are a car buff and feel pretty confident about your assessment of the value of your vehicle pre and post-accident, there are other considerations that may not be on your radar — such as future medical costs, PTSD if you later on start having flashbacks or nightmares.
Call Clark Law If You’ve Been Arrested for DUI in Tampa Bay
If you or someone you love has been arrested for DUI, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. At Clark Law, we have experienced attorneys who regularly represent clients involved in motor vehicle accidents, and we can help you determine the best next step.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.