What is Diminution?
It means that your car is worth less because it was in an accident. Most cars suffer a 10% to 50% loss in market value even after being repaired. Would you pay top dollar for a car that had been in an accident?
How do I get compensation for diminution in value?
You may be entitled to compensation for diminution in value if:
- Your accident was caused by someone other than you;
- That person has insurance; and
- Your car was properly repaired.
How much is my claim for diminution in value worth?
The value of your claim is based on several factors:
- Amount of damage compared to the value of the vehicle
- Value of the vehicle in pre-accident condition
- Any frame damage
- Year, Make, and Model
- Quality of repair
How do I make a claim for diminution in value?
Brett M. Bressler is an attorney who represents owners of cars, motorcycles, trucks, recreational vehicles in claims for diminution in value.
How do I get an attorney?
Brett M. Bressler, P.A. accepts cases on a contingency fee basis in which the client pays no attorney fee or costs unless there is a recovery. This allows the client to retain an attorney even if he or she cannot afford one. Call my office for a free consultation.
What advice can you give me now that may help my case?
- Take high quality photographs of the damage to your vehicle. Take pictures that show the entire vehicle in a single frame, and close up pictures that show damage to the frame, body, undercarriage, and interior. Use a good camera with a flash. If you do not have a good camera, call me.
- Find your original purchase invoice for the vehicle, and save all receipts for the towing, storage, and repair of your vehicle.
- You are entitled to money for a rental car while your car is being repaired.
2007 Lamborghini Murceilago
This 2007 Lamborghini Murceilago was rear ended. The insurer of the at -fault driver denied liability and actually won at arbitration because of insufficient data supplied by my client’s insurer. We were able to prove that the other driver was at-fault by simply calling him and asking him to verify with his own insurer that he caused the accident. It is wonderful when a person is honest and is truthful with his own insurance company and cooperative. After we were successful in convincing the other driver’s insurer that its insured caused the accident, we proved that our client’s claim for loss of use and diminished value was worth more than $100,000 resulting in the at-fault insurer tendering its $100,000 policy limit to our client.
2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
This Aston Martin suffered some minor damage, but the vehicle was out of service for several weeks until parts could be obtained causing a loss of use claim in additional to the diminished value claim. We settled this case for $24,450.
2015 BMW X5
This 2015 BMW X5 was almost brand new when it was hit on the passenger side causing air bag deployment. The damages on the exterior did not look serious, however, the repair was extensive. Our client’s insure paid for the repairs, and wanted to seek subrogation against the at-fault insurer for its $25,000. We were able to convince our client’s insurer to permit our client to obtain the at-fault insurer’s money before it made its claim for subrogation. After the car was repaired, we were successful in making a recovery of the full $25,000 policy limit of the at-fault insurer.
2016 Honda Odyssey
Honda Odysseys are often purchased by families with children for convenience and safety. We were successful in recovering $9,552.38 for this family in this accident which did not result in air bag deployment. If the air bags had deployed, we would have argued that this brand new car should have been declared a total loss because air bag deployment has a major detrimental affect to the perceived integrity of a wrecked and repaired car, thus causing significant diminution in value.
2016 Land Rover Sport
This brand new 2016 Land Rover Sport was rear ended on I-4. Unfortunately, the at-fault driver had the Florida minimum property damage liability limit of $10,000. We would have been able to recover more if the limits had been higher.
2016 Ford Focus
The air bags deployed in this Ford Focus in the accident. In our opinion, cars that suffer air bag deployment should be declared a total loss because these accidents always are major losses, and consumers do not want to buy a car in which because these accidents always are major losses.
Cars that have been repaired after an accident resulting in air bag deployment cannot be trusted with respect to the future reliability of the air bags. When a potential buyer questions the safety and integrity of a vehicle, this lack of confidence causes doubt which dissuades a buyer from buying. The result is major loss in value. In this case, we recovered $10,000 for the owner.
2011 Audi A4
This 2011 Audi A4 should have been declared a total loss. The cost to repair was $14,267.04 which was paid for by our client’s insurance company. The at-fault insurance company had $10,000 in property damage liability insurance, and our client’s insurer wanted its $10,000 policy limit. We were successful in reaching an agreement with our client’s insurance company to permit our client to receive the full $10,000 from the at-fault insurer for his diminished value and loss of use claims even though our client’s insurer would receive nothing.
Our client’s insurer was more sophisticated than many other insurance companies and recognized its insured, our client, had priority rights to the limited funds of the at-fault insurer under the common law Made Whole Doctrine acknowledged by the Florida Supreme Court in its 1992 decision in Insurance Co. of North Am. v. Lexow
, 602 So.2d 528 (Fla. 1992).
2014 Range Rover 4x4 Sport HSE
This vehicle suffered relatively minor damage caused by a careless valet parking attendant which cost $4530.94 to repair. We were able to recover $9000 for our client for diminished value and loss of use.
2012 Harley-Davidson FXDC
This motorcycle was damaged in an accident. The repair took 90 days. We made an excellent diminished value and loss of use claim of $12,332.00 for the owner of this excellent motorcycle.
2013 Porsche Boxster
We recovered $12,500.00 in damages for diminished value and loss of use for the owner of this beautiful 2013 Porsche Boxster.
2007 Mercedes Benz CLK 63 AMG
This AMG Mercedes suffered relatively minor damage which cost $4,050.00 to repair. We recovered $6,010.00 for diminished value and loss of use for the owner.
2008 Jaguar XK
This is an example of how a seemingly small accident causing rather minor damage can result in a diminished value recovery. These photographs show a small dent to the driver’s side door. We recovered $3,200.00 for our client.
2010 Jaguar XKR
This band new 2010 Jaguar XKR cost more than $100,000. This car was hit head-on by a driver going the opposite direction at an intersection. Unfortunately, the driver that caused the accident only had a $10,000 property damage liability policy limit which is the State of Florida minimum insurance. This case is interesting because this was a very expensive car that was brand new and suffered massive damage, more than $50,000.00 in repairs. Most cars would have been declared a total loss if the cost to repair was $50,000.00. Because this car was so expensive, it was repaired. The challenge in this case was that the owner’s insurance company paid for the $50,000 repairs and wanted to get the $10,000.00 in property damage liability insurance from the at-fault insurer. We negotiated with our client’s insurer and the insurer allowed us to get the full $10,000.00 for our client for diminished value.
2010 Jaguar XF
This was rear ended accident. We recovered $11,000.00 on a repair that cost $17,267.93. We were successful in arguing that our client had an additional claim for loss of use as he was provided with a Dodge Charger rather than a car similar to his Jaguar. Given the difference in the two cars, our client was entitled to additional damages for loss of use. The law says the owner is entitled to a similar vehicle during the repair period for loss of use. You cannot replace Jaguar sports car with a Dodge Charger; therefore, our client sustained damages for loss of use.
2002 MB C230 Sport with 104,392 miles.
A tractor trailer backed into this high mileage but excellent condition 2002 Mercedes Benz C230 causing $4,939.61 in damage. We recovered $3,000.00 in diminished value damages for our client. This is an example of a modest recovery from a small accident.
2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante
Exotic cars can suffer substantial diminished value, even where an accident causes minor damage. Wealthy people simply do not want to purchase any expensive car that has any accident history. Often, the history of a vehicle and its ownership are more important than actually using and driving the vehicle. In this example, one of my clients owned a brand new 2012 Aston Martin DB9 Volante with 1,400 miles for which they paid about $159,250. This vehicle was hit by a commercial truck while parked on a street. The cost to repair the mostly cosmetic damage to this carbon fiber vehicle was more than $30,000.00. We recovered $55,000 for diminished value and loss of use damages.
2008 Mercedes Benz GL 450
This 2008 Mercedes Benz GL 450 suffered $25,571.49 in damage. This case was unique in that we recovered $13,500.00 for diminished value before the repairs to the vehicle were completed.
2009 Audi Q5
This vehicle was more than four years old when it suffered damage to the rear. Even though the car was older and had many miles, we still were able to recover $2,700.00 for the owner.