The concept of diminished value in Florida is multifaceted to some degree. In the colloquial sense of the term, however, diminished value refers to the intrinsic loss of a vehicle’s value after an accident.
All vehicles lose their value after an accident. This value loss is intrinsic. It does not matter whether you employ the highest-quality mechanics to make expensive repairs, nor does it matter whether the repairs were executed flawlessly. When buyers compare two of the same vehicles, and one has an accident history, the vehicle with the accident history will be seen as less valuable.
In today’s auto market, there are a variety of reporting tools made available to buyers. With just a few clicks, a potential buyer can learn everything they need to know about your vehicle’s accident history. As a result, even a single accident can cause a sudden and noticeable decrease in the value of your vehicle.
In Florida, diminished value claims are brought by plaintiffs (vehicle owners) who have been involved in accidents in which someone else is at-fault. As a plaintiff, you are entitled to recover damages against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for the diminished value of your vehicle.
Understanding the Different Facets of Diminished Value
Though discussion of diminished value often centers around the intrinsic value loss of a vehicle following an accident, there are several different types of diminished value.
Intrinsic diminished value.
Intrinsic diminished value – otherwise referred to as stigma damages – is the loss in a vehicle’s value after it has been in an accident and subsequently repaired. It describes the loss in value that follows the vehicle regardless of its condition. To state it simply: a vehicle with an accident history is worth less than a vehicle without one.
Immediate diminished value.
The immediate diminished value represents the instant loss in a vehicle’s value after an accident but before any repairs are undertaken. It is the difference between the pre-accident and immediate post-accident value of a vehicle. Understanding the immediate diminished value can be very important in a situation where repairs are incomplete or otherwise insufficient, as it enables the parties to exclusively assess the losses caused by the accident.
Repair-related diminished value.
Repairs may be inadequate or incompetently executed. Flawed repairs may further reduce the value of the vehicle beyond the intrinsic or immediate diminishment.
These improperly executed repairs need not necessarily be structural in nature. Cosmetic repairs may also count towards repair-related diminished value.
Repair-related diminished value does not refer to the cost of repairs. It refers specifically to the additional diminishment in the value of the vehicle as the result of faulty, incomplete, or otherwise improperly executed repairs. The actual cost of repairs is a separate component of a diminished value claim.
If your vehicle has been damaged in an accident, you may be entitled to pursue a diminished value claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company. Our experienced diminished value attorneys at Coffey Trial Law are committed to the success of your claims, and will help provide guidance through every step of the process, including how to prove diminished value of your vehicle. Contact us today to discuss your legal options.