Factors Influencing the Worth of a Diminished Value Claim

December 30, 2016 - Articles

In Florida, as in other states where diminished value claims are viable under the law, a variety of factors influence the success and damages amount potentially recoverable in a diminished value claim.

As you begin the process of filing a diminished value claim, you’ll want to work with a diminished value attorney who is skilled and experienced in negotiating such claims.  Insurers generally make attempts to avoid liability or to otherwise minimize the value of the diminished value claim, so it’s important that your attorney is familiar with the arguments typically put forth by insurers.

As a general rule, anything that affects the resale value of your vehicle is likely to negatively affect the worth of your diminished value claim.  If your vehicle is worth a great deal at the time of the accident, then the accident will more significantly “diminish the value” of the vehicle.  If your vehicle isn’t worth much before the accident, then the diminished value claim cannot be particularly significant.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of factors -- some that can influence the pre-accident value of your vehicle, and thus, influence the worth of your diminished value claim, as well as others that directly affect the worth of the diminished value claim.

Vehicle Has Significant Mileage

When a vehicle has accrued significant mileage, it can have a serious negative affect the resale value of the vehicle, as buyers are usually unwilling to pay as much for vehicles with high mileage (which will have a natural downward effect on the worth of the diminished value claim, of course).  In some cases, insurers will refuse to pay for diminished value claims when the vehicle has accrued more than 100k miles, but damage recovery is possible – just more difficult.  You will likely have to show that your high mileage vehicle has been maintained well and that it has not sustained as much wear and tear as its mileage would imply.

Vehicle is Somewhat Old

Older vehicles tend to sell for less than newer vehicles, all things considered – not a particularly controversial position.  Insurers will attempt to negotiate your diminished value claim down significantly as a result, however.  To better protect the worth of your diminished value claim, you should work with your attorney to gather data showing that the vehicle was capable of fetching a high pre-accident resale value.  You will also want to show that the vehicle was kept in good condition prior to the accident.

You Have a Luxury Vehicle

Luxury vehicles tend to fetch much higher value diminished value claims as a natural consequence of their pre-accident resale value being high.  Some luxury vehicles (such as a Mercedes-Benz or BMW) also hold value well over time.  If you have a luxury vehicle, then a skilled diminished value attorney will know how to twist the insurance provider’s arm to maximize the payout.

Local Market Value

The resale value of your vehicle can vary quite a bit depending on your location.  As a general rule, resale value is higher in more populated areas and lower in less populated areas.

Vehicle Has an Accident History

Every prior accident that your vehicle sustained – even if the damage has been expertly repaired – lowers the subsequent resale value.  The pre-accident to post-accident drop in value (in other words, the diminished value) for your most recent accident will be less significant as a result.

To put it in simpler terms: one extra accident for a vehicle with a history of accidents will have a minimal diminished value effect.

Proposing a Low Diminished Value Amount

Diminished value negotiations are typically push-and-pull.  It rarely works out in such a way that your original proposal is accepted by the insurer without further downward negotiation.  As such, it’s important not to underestimate your diminished value claim to the insurer.  Aim high.  If the insurer negotiates the amount down, you will end up with a satisfactory compromise.

Pursuing a diminished value claim is easier with the support of an experienced team of attorneys.  At Coffey Trial Law, we are prepared to assist you with your legal needs.  Contact us as soon as possible to learn more about your rights under the law.