When a car accident occurs in Orlando most people know that they have a right to be compensated for the damage to their vehicle and for any injuries they have sustained. However, you also have a right to be compensated for the decline in the resale value of the vehicle after the accident.
Diminished value is the difference between the resale value prior to the accident and the resale value after the accident occurs. In other words, it is the market value lost, even if repairs are properly completed. For example, if your car had a resale value of $25,000 prior to the auto accident, but after the accident and the repairs to your vehicle, the resale value has been diminished to $19,000, you may be entitled to the $6,000 decrease in the resale value from the at fault party’s insurance company. With the popularity of vehicle history report services, such as Carfax, vehicle crash information is readily available and is actively considered when calculating resale value. Since most people do not trade-in or sell their vehicle until months or years after an auto accident, the diminished value claim is often overlooked and waived.
In Florida, there is no set formula for diminished value. However, auto accident attorneys usually start by calculating the suggested retail price of the vehicle based upon make, model, condition, features, and mileage. This is usually done by consulting Kelley Blue Book or NADA. Once the retail value is determined, the diminished value must be calculated. The easiest way to do this is to find the sales history for a similar vehicle that has been involved in a similar accident. However, if this is not possible there are several formulas, which may be implemented to calculate diminished value. The insurance company will attempt to utilize a formula known as the 17c formula, which will greatly reduce your diminished value claim. Florida courts have not accepted this formula. It is important that you consult with an experienced car accident attorney to help properly calculate your diminished value claim. If you fail to do so, you may be leaving money on the table.
While diminished value claims may exist for all types of vehicles, the value of the claim will vary depending on the age, make, and model of the vehicle. It is typically easier to calculate the diminished value for luxury and high-performance vehicles, as these types of vehicles seem to have a greater decline in their resale value after an accident. However, you may still have a diminished value claim if your vehicle has not been involved in a prior accident. It is always important to discuss with your attorney whether you should bring a claim for the diminished value of your vehicle.
The 17C formula to calculate diminished value refers to the Georgia case of Mabry v. State Farm. It is important to note that this is not Florida law. The 17C formula is an overly simplistic view of diminished value that, in our opinion, does not adequately compensate those involved in a car accident for the diminished value of the vehicle. The 17C formula attempts to place an arbitrary 10% cap on the diminished value claim.
When dealing with car accident claims there are many pitfalls, which may significantly impact the value of your claim. It is important to seek the advice of a skilled and experienced car accident attorney to advocate on your behalf and guide you through the process. If you would like to speak to us regarding your claim, please give us a call. There is never a consultation fee to discuss your car accident claim.