Vehicle accidents regularly lead to significant property damage. In many cases, crash victims are able to get their vehicles repaired nicely, perhaps to the level that nobody can tell if an incident even occurred. However, even if a vehicle is tended to by the best mechanics, it could still have a diminished overall value. Here, we want to discuss whether or not crash victims have the right to recover compensation for the diminished value of their vehicle in Florida.
Understanding What Diminished Value Means
After a vehicle has been involved in a collision, there will inherently be a diminished value because any person who goes to purchase or accept a trade-in on the vehicle will find out about the accident. Typically, auto repair shops enter the vehicle’s information into a system that is accessible by dealerships and other mechanics. Even if a vehicle has been completely repaired and looks normal, the accident will still be on the record and diminish the value of the vehicle.
Further, the diminished value will be even greater in the event the vehicle is not repaired correctly or receives poor repairs. The state of Florida does recognize that vehicles can have an inherent diminished value, which means that there is an expected diminished value even if repairs have been done at the highest quality. This is particularly true for vehicles that sustained significant damage and an accident.
How is This Different From Normal Depreciation?
Diminished value and depreciation are not the same things. All vehicles depreciate over a period of time, which means they lose value as time goes on from the purchase date. This type of loss is completely normal and expected. Depreciation does not have to do with an accident. Diminished value is based upon a vehicle being involved in an accident.
Can You Include Diminished Value on an Accident Claim?
The diminished value of a vehicle should be considered when working to assess damages after a collision with another driver. However, most accident victims do not realize that they can claim diminished value and recover more compensation.
In the event you have been involved in a vehicle accident caused by the negligent actions of another driver, you will likely have the right to recover compensation for your medical bills and property damage expenses. This compensation can come through a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier or through a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The diminished value of the vehicle should be a damage that is calculated and requested through the settlement or jury verdict award.
If the vehicle qualifies for a diminished value claim, the insurance carriers are supposed to pay it. However, insurance carriers look to payout as little as possible when a claim is made, so do not expect them to be forthcoming about the diminished value of your vehicle.
Generally, if you are responsible for the accident, your insurance carrier will not pay for the diminished value of the car. We strongly encourage you to look at your policy to see whether or not diminished value will be included for accidents you cause.