Diminished Value Property Damage Claims Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale

Even the most minor car accidents can result in costly property damage. Once a vehicle has sustained damage in an accident, it will never have the value it did before the accident, even after repairs. If you have been involved in an accident caused by a negligent driver, you may need to file a claim to recover damages for the diminished value of your property.

Unfortunately, recovering compensation for diminished value is much harder than it should be. If you are having trouble getting the adequate payout you need, talk to a Fort Lauderdale diminished value property damage claims lawyer at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L.

Schedule a free consultation today: 954-524-2820.

Defining Diminished Value

Diminished value typically falls into one of the following categories:

  • Immediate diminished value: This refers to a difference in the market value before and immediately after an accident (before repairs).
  • Inherent diminished value: This refers to the reduction in value that exists even after a professional has competently and fully completed all repairs.
  • Repair-related diminished value: This refers to any loss in value caused by incompetent or incomplete repairs. Insurers may consider both cosmetic and mechanical damages.

What should I do if my property has diminished value after an accident?

If you have been involved in an accident and the accident was not your fault, you may file a diminished value claim to recover damages. In Florida, the statute of limitations for diminished value claims is four years. That means that you have four years from the date of the accident to file your claim.

There are two types of claims based on inherent diminished value: first-party and third-party.

First-Party Claims

In a first-party claim, the owner of the vehicle will file a claim against his or her own insurance company. If your vehicle has been damaged, a first-party suit allows you to recover the inherent diminished value (difference between before collision value and after repair value).

Florida generally does not recognize first-party diminished value claims.

Third-Party Claims

Third-party claims allow vehicle owners to seek recovery against the at-fault driver in the accident. Even if you have settled your property damage claim with your insurance company, you can still recover damages for the diminished value of your vehicle from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

You should first get an appraisal of your vehicle to show value before the accident and after the completion of repairs. It will be your responsibility to establish your loss.

In order to file a successful third party claim, you will need to prove that the other driver was at-fault for your accident. To prove this, you will need to establish the driver’s negligence by showing:

  • Duty: All motorists owe a duty to other drivers and passengers on the road. They have a duty to adhere to a standard of reasonable care when operating their motor vehicles.
  • Breach of Duty: In a negligence claim, you will have to establish that the defendant breached his or her duty. You can prove a breach by showing that the defendant was negligent in operating his or her vehicle. Minor breaches include failure to use a turn signal and rolling through a stop sign. Major breaches can include reckless speeding, running red lights, and drunk driving.
  • Causation: You must prove that your injuries were the result of the defendant’s breach of the duty of care.
  • Damages: You can prove that you incurred economic and non-economic damages by presenting testimony and documentation.

Once you have established the accident was the result of the other driver’s negligence, you will need to establish the “diminution,” i.e., reduction, of value of the vehicle.

You can prove this by presenting repair documents. You should also present the appraisal of your vehicle to show a drop in value. Any evidence you can present will help you recover damages.

Our attorneys know what evidence you need to prove negligence and diminished value. We will gather the necessary evidence and build a convincing case to get you the compensation you deserve.

How much is my diminished value claim worth?

This is a difficult question to answer, but we can estimate your claim’s value based on a number of factors including:

  • Amount of damage compared to the value of the car
  • Type of vehicle
  • The condition of the vehicle before the accident
  • Whether there is any frame damage
  • The quality of the repairs

Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. has years of experience handling diminished value property damage claims in Fort Lauderdale.

The reality is that your vehicle will not be the same value as it was before the accident, even if you get it repaired. You deserve compensation to make up for the devaluation of your property. Consult with our knowledgeable legal counsel on staff to help you determine your legal rights and options. Call 954-524-2820 to discuss your claim today.