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What Is the Best Way to File a Diminished Value Claim in Florida?

Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident involves treating any injuries, repairing property damage, and trying to figure out how to pay for all the expenses associated with the collision. One of the stressful elements in the aftermath of an auto accident is discovering the value of your vehicle has decreased because of the accident. Referred to as diminished value, the value of your car decreases even if a dealership or an auto repair shop restores the vehicle to its previous condition.

Depending on your policy, your auto insurance company might pay for the diminished value of your vehicle. Understanding how to file a diminished value claim in Florida can be the difference between you receiving a favorable settlement and losing money because your insurance company nor the insurer representing the other party agrees to cover the losses caused by a diminished value claim.

What is the best way to file a diminished value claim in Florida? The answer is by hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in helping clients recover the money lost because of an auto collision. Since 1988, the personal injury lawyers at Morgan & Morgan have helped clients recover more than $10 billion in monetary damages, some of which have come from getting diminished value claims approved by insurance companies.

Schedule a free case evaluation with one of the highly-rated personal injury attorneys from Morgan & Morgan to learn more about how to file a diminished value claim in Florida.

What Does Diminished Value Mean?

Diminished value represents the difference in the market value of your motor vehicle before and after an auto accident. After a vehicle collision, the value of your car decreases even if a certified auto repair shop can restore it to its prior condition. This is because car valuation sites such as Carfax offer a report that demonstrates your vehicle has at least one accident on its record. Filing a diminished value insurance claim can help you recover the money lost because of a reduction in the value of your automobile.

What Are the Types of Diminished Value?

Each of the following three types of diminished value calculates a loss in the value of a motor vehicle based on a rate of depreciation. Knowing which type of diminished value an insurance company uses to calculate the value of a claim helps you know how to file a diminished value claim in Florida.

Repair-Related

Repair-related diminished value refers to the inferior repair work performed on a damaged motor vehicle. For example, if an auto repair shop uses aftermarket parts instead of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) parts, the vehicle under repair loses value. Another common example of repair-related is when an auto repair shop uses paint that is a different color than the original paint. This type of diminished value assumes a damaged vehicle cannot be restored to its original condition.

Immediate

Immediate repair value is the difference in market value of a vehicle right after an auto collision and before the vehicle undergoes repair work. Since your insurance company covers most repairs expenses after an accident, immediate repair diminished value is not commonly used when evaluating a diminished value claim.

Inherent

As the most common form of diminished value used by insurance companies, inherent diminished repair refers to the decrease in the market value of a car because of the vehicle’s accident history. An insurance company reviews the accident report of your vehicle that is provided by a service such as Carfax. Inherent diminished value assumes your car underwent quality repairs and the diminished value is based mostly on the vehicle’s accident history.

How Do I File a Diminished Value Claim in Florida?

To submit a persuasive diminished value claim, you first need to gather and organize supporting data. Accessing a tool such as the one offered by Kelly Blue Book allows you to discover the value of your vehicle before the car accident. You need to input information such as the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the condition of the car before the accident. After inputting the number of miles and the year of the car, you should receive an accurate value for your motor vehicle.

The next step involves determining the diminished value laws enacted in Florida. Then, contact your insurance company or the insurance company of the negligent driver. Make sure to cooperate with the insurance agent handling your diminished value claim. The agent handling your diminished value claim lets you know where to take your vehicle for a certified inspection. Finally, wait for the insurance company to issue a decision on your claim.

Working with one of the personal injury lawyers from Morgan & Morgan can keep your diminished value claim on track for a prompt and thorough review.

What Are the Factors That Determine the Outcome of a Diminished Value Claim?

Filing a diminished value claim is not the right decision to make for everyone that requires repair work done to a damaged motor vehicle. You should consider several factors before you decide whether to file a diminished value claim in Florida.

First, determine the value of your car before the car accident. If you drive an older vehicle that has structural damage and/or racked up a considerable number of miles, you might not receive compensation for a diminished value claim. Second, if the auto collision involved an uninsured driver and you have uninsured motorist coverage, you should file a diminished value claim with your insurance company. Finally, one of the most important factors that help you decide whether to file a diminished claim is whether you must assume legal liability for causing the car accident.

How Do I Prove I Am Not at Fault for Causing a Car Accident?

One of the first things to do after an auto collision is to determine which, if any, party should assume fault for causing the car accident. If you assume most, if not all of the blame for causing a vehicle collision, getting a diminished value claim approved is difficult to do. The personal injury lawyer you work with from Morgan & Morgan can help you prove you are not at fault for causing the accident by following a few steps.

Collect and Organize Physical Evidence

Submitting convincing evidence is the most important element of filing any type of auto accident insurance claim. However, it is especially important for proving you should not assume any legal liability for causing the collision. Physical evidence comes in the form of photos taken of the accident scene, as well as video footage shot by a camera located at the scene of the crash. If a law enforcement agency responded to the car accident, the formal police report represents the most important document you file with your insurance company. A formal police report typically includes a section that assigns fault for an auto collision.

Witness Accounts

Witness accounts of a car accident provide support for the physical evidence gathered at the scene. When you meet with a Morgan & Morgan personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation, you should present the lawyer with a list of the names and contact information for every witness. Your legal counsel interviews each witness as soon as possible after the vehicle collision to get the most accurate account of what happened before, during, and after the car accident.

Never Admit Fault

One of the most important reasons for hiring a personal injury attorney at Morgan & Morgan is that your legal counsel becomes the intermediary between you and the insurance company reviewing your diminished value claim. Many insurance companies pressure policyholders to admit at least some part of the blame for causing an auto collision. If you admit blame for at least partly causing a car accident, the insurance company handling your claim is justified in lowering the value of your claim.

What Is the Deadline for Filing a Diminished Value Claim in Florida?

Each state has established a deadline for the filing of a diminished value claim. Also referred to as the statute of limitations, the deadline for filing a diminished value claim in Florida is four years from the date of the auto collision. Although four years seems like more than enough time to file a diminished value claim in Florida, the complexity of filing a diminished value claim means you might run up against the clock when filing your claim with an insurance company.

The best way to file a diminished value claim in Florida is to act with a sense of urgency. Insurance companies process tens of thousands of diminished value claims in Florida every year. Waiting to file a diminished value claim also prevents you from receiving the money you need to pay for repair work and the cost of treating any injuries that you sustained because of the car accident. If you fail to file a diminished value claim before the statute of limitations expires, you can expect the insurance company reviewing your claim to deny it.

How Long Does It Take to Reach a Settlement for a Diminished Value Claim?

Several factors determine how long it takes your personal injury attorney to settle with the other party’s insurance company. Diminished value claims usually take longer to settle than the time it takes to settle standard auto insurance claims. The most influential factor that determines the duration of negotiations concerns the issue of proving fault. Another factor that can delay an insurance settlement for a diminished value claim is a significant backlog of claims. A diminished value claim can take several months to settle, but your personal injury lawyer can help move the process along at an acceptable rate.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney at Morgan & Morgan

Although you might not need legal counsel to settle a standard car accident claim, the same cannot be said about settling a diminished value claim. From proving fault to calculating diminished value, an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in helping clients file diminished value claims can help boost the strength of your claim.

Schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the diminished value claim experts at Morgan & Morgan.

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