- $13 Billion+ Won
- 800+ Lawyers Nationwide
- The Fee is FreeTM, Only Pay If We Win
- America’s Largest Injury Law Firm
- Protecting Families Since 1988
How to Handle a Diminished Car Accident Value Calculator in Tampa
Anytime you’re in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you’ll likely want to file a lawsuit and recover compensation for the damages. Most people are fully aware of this. What many people aren’t aware of is the fact that you are also entitled to be compensated for the difference between what you could’ve sold your car for before the accident and what you can sell it for after the accident, even after the damage is fixed. If this sounds confusing, we can help.
Morgan & Morgan has successfully handled car accident claims of all kinds—including diminished value claims—for decades. Anytime you hire Morgan & Morgan, you don’t pay us anything upfront. We always work on a contingency fee basis, so we only get paid when we win. Contact us today for a free case consultation.
What Is a Diminished Value Claim?
When you’re in a car accident, you’re not only entitled to damages and compensation based on your injuries, you’re also entitled to something called diminished value. This is the difference between what you could sell your car for before the accident and what you’ll be able to sell it for after the accident, even once the vehicle has been repaired.
It’s important to understand that being in a car accident and having vehicle damage can lead to a claim where you try to recover the value that the vehicle has lost due to the accident. The simple act of being in an accident almost immediately decreases the value of a car, even if it’s fixed perfectly. If you’ve ever purchased your own car before, you know that one of the first things you and other people consider is whether the vehicle has ever been in an accident. This is a red flag for many people, even when the repairs are completed perfectly. In fact, a major corporation has created a tremendously profitable business based on this simple concept - Carfax and their famous Carfax report. It shows all the accidents and the total history of the car. When searching online for cars to buy, many people even filter out vehicles that have been involved in accidents.
If your car was worth $20,000 before an accident and only $16,000 after the repairs, you might be entitled to the $4,000 in diminished value that the accident caused. While this sounds easy, in practice, it can be a bit more complicated. There are many factors that the parties may not agree on, such as how much the car was worth before the accident, how much it was worth after the accident, and how much the value actually decreased as a result of the accident versus a decrease in value for other reasons, such as the passage of time or a new model of the same car being released.
How Is Diminished Value Actually Calculated?
In Florida, there’s no exact formula for how diminished value is calculated. However, when you hire an experienced attorney, they can help you determine this value. An experienced lawyer who has handled these types of cases over the course of their career knows what factors to look for, and how to get you the most value. Some of the primary factors they usually consider are the year, make, model, condition, features, and mileage of the vehicle. Once they get all of this information, many lawyers will use the Kelly Blue Book to determine what their stated value of the vehicle is. This is the retail value. Once this is calculated, your attorney must next determine how to calculate the diminished value. The simplest way to do this is to look at the sales history for similar vehicles that were also involved in accidents. The accidents should be similar in severity and type. Otherwise, there are too many variables that won’t add up.
Tampa Car Accident Diminished Value Calculator – The 17c Formula
The insurance company will try to use what’s called the 17c formula, which will significantly reduce the diminished value claim. The 17c formula is overly simplistic and generally doesn’t provide adequate compensation in diminished value claims. It’s important to note that Florida courts have not adopted the 17c formula as the definitive solution. As always, the primary goal of an insurance company is to pay out the least amount of money possible in the quickest amount of time. While it’s often tempting to take whatever payout the insurance company offers you, it’s almost always in your best interest to speak with an attorney and let them handle the situation properly, and talk to the insurance company for you. If a reasonable agreement can’t be reached, your attorney can take the case to court.
If you’re wondering if there’s an actual calculation used other than the flawed one that the insurance companies use, there really isn’t. Your lawyer will use their expertise and experience to determine what you are owed.
Morgan & Morgan
How Can a Lawyer Help Me?
Anytime you’re in a car accident and think you might want to file a lawsuit, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney. They can help you in several ways, including the following:
- Identify at-fault parties
- Collect evidence and speak with expert witnesses who can help determine who and what caused the accident
- Calculate the diminished value of your vehicle
- Assist you in collecting other types of damages
- Negotiate a settlement
- Prepare your case for trial
Once your lawyer determines what they believe you should be compensated for the diminished value, they will send a demand letter to the insurance company of the at-fault party. This letter informs the insurance company of the compensation you are requesting. In addition to the letter, your lawyer will give the insurance company supporting evidence and documentation. In this letter, your lawyer will also state that you must be paid this amount of money within a specified period of time. If the insurance company refuses to pay, you and your lawyer can then decide to file a lawsuit.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
In a diminished value claim after a car accident, the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the accident. If you don’t accept a settlement or file a lawsuit within that time frame, you likely won’t be able to file a claim, and you will miss out on compensation that you’d otherwise be legally entitled to. Filing this type of claim and determining what you’re truly entitled to takes time, so it’s essential to contact a lawyer right away. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to collect evidence and to properly prepare your case.
Why Can People File for Diminished Value?
Anytime a car is in an accident, the value is inherently diminished because of the stigma people place on vehicles that have been in accidents. It doesn’t matter if the car has been repaired flawlessly. There are three different categories of diminished value that can help explain why these claims are allowed.
- Immediate Diminished Value. When a car is in an accident, there is an immediate diminished value. This is the difference between how much the car is worth if you sold it or traded it in right after the crash. In this case, you would seek the difference between what it was worth before the accident and what it would be worth after the accident.
- Inherent Diminished Value. Inherent diminished value is the issue of cars being inherently less valuable once people are aware that they’ve been involved in an accident. It doesn’t matter how perfect the repairs appear. It doesn’t even matter if the car is now in better shape after the accident than before. The car is still going to be worth less in most cases simply because it was involved in an accident.
- Repair-Related Diminished Value. This refers to the reduction in value after a car has been repaired. In some cases, the parts used might not have been as good as the original parts, or the repairs weren’t done perfectly. This clearly reduces the value of the car, even once the repairs are completed.
What Is Siegle vs. Progressive Consumer’s Insurance Company?
Siegle vs. Progressive Consumer’s Insurance Company is a Florida case that provides favorable case law in diminished value claims. In this case, the courts ruled that an individual cannot recover diminished value from their own insurance company, but they could recover them from the at-fault party’s insurance company.
The Florida standard jury instructions for property damage, which are critical in a diminished value case, state the following.
The measure of such damage is:
- The difference between the value of the vehicle immediately before the accident and its value immediately after the accident.
- The reasonable cost of repair, if it was practicable to repair the vehicle, with due allowance for any difference between its value immediately before the accident and its value after repair.
- Also take into consideration any loss to the claimant for towing or storage charges and for being deprived of the use of the vehicle during the period reasonably required for its replacement/repair.
Morgan & Morgan Can Help With Your Diminished Value Claim
If you were in a car accident and have suffered property damage to your car, you may be entitled to compensation if another party was at fault. Many people think compensation can only be provided for injuries and repairs to your car or other property. However, this isn’t true. If you aren’t aware of a diminished value claim and you don’t file one, you’re likely leaving money on the table. When you hire the right law firm, they will do everything they can to try and settle your case for an appropriate amount. However, if that’s not possible, they will prepare your case and take it to trial.
You want to make sure you hire a firm that has a proven track record of successfully litigating cases, not just accepting quick settlements. Morgan & Morgan fits the bill. We represent clients all throughout the country and have recovered more than ten billion dollars in compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.