Florida is the third-biggest state in the U.S. with almost twenty-two million people. Over 500 accidents occur in Florida every day. Most of these vehicles are repaired and may be eligible for diminished value compensation.
Am I eligible for diminished value compensation in Florida?
To be eligible for diminished value compensation in Florida the following must be true.
- You were not at fault and another individual or a company was at fault. Damage from animals, nature, etc. does not qualify.
- The vehicle is not totaled
- The vehicle is not leased (financed OK)
What is the legal basis for diminished value claims in Florida?
In Florida, diminished value claims are made against the at-fault party (or their insurance) and are governed by tort law. The concept of tort simply means that if someone’s negligent behavior has caused you any kind of a financial loss – they must make you whole. In this case, the negligent driving of the at-fault driver has caused your vehicle to suffer diminished value.
Additionally, Florida has favorable case in regards to diminished value. Florida courts have held that “the cost of the repairs made plus the diminution in value will ordinarily be the proper measure of damages.” McHale v. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., 409 So.2d 238, 239 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1982). And it is not necessary for the vehicle to be sold before damage for diminished value is realized and can be recovered. Meakin v. Dreier, 209 So.2d 252 (Fla. App. 1968).
Florida Jury Instructions for property damage also support diminished value. The measure of such damage is as follows.
The reasonable cost of repair, if it was practicable to repair the (name property), with due allowance for any difference between its value immediately before the (incident complained of) and its value after repair.
Can I get diminished value if my car was hit in a hit-and-run or by an un/under-insured driver?
In Florida, it’s not possible to claim diminished value from your own insurance company under an Uninsured Motorist Property Damage policy.
How long do I have to claim diminished value in Florida?
In Florida, you have four years since the date of the accident to claim diminished value.
What can I do if the insurance company doesn’t want to pay me a fair amount for diminished value?
Small Claims is a very effective option for car owners when the insurance company is failing to play fair. You don’t need an attorney for Small Claims – it’s a “Judge Judy” type of an environment designed to be easy, fast and very low cost for everyday people to make their claims without the need and expense of hiring a lawyer. In Florida, you can file for up to $8,000 in Small Claims. Given that the average DV claim is $6,000 – Small Claims is the perfect tool for most diminished value claims.
What are the steps to get a diminished value check in Florida?
- Purchase a professional third-party diminished value appraisal.
- Email a Demand Letter with the appraisal attached to the at-fault insurance company.
- Receive a check for diminished value.