The Collision Law Center
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Diminished Value Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is my diminished value claim worth?

There is no set formula for determining loss of value. However, the main factors that are considered are:

  1. the year of the vehicle;
  2. the make and model;
  3. the mileage;
  4. the amount of damage sustained to the vehicle and;
  5. whether or not the vehicle has been involved in any prior accidents.

2. How is the attorney paid?

You do not pay anything up front. If we are successful in recovering money for you, we take a percentage of the recovery. If there is no recovery, you owe us nothing. If there are any costs, we will pay these costs and if there is a recovery, these costs are reimbursed to us out of the recovery. If there is no recovery, you do not owe us anything for the costs.

3. Will I need to go to court?

Probably not. The vast majority of our cases are settled without having to go to court.

4. Why hire an attorney and not a public adjuster?

Public adjusters do not have the ability to file lawsuits, lawyers do. Therefore, if settlement discussions with the insurance company break down, only lawyers have the ability to pursue the matter further by filing a lawsuit. It is the threat of litigation and the ability to go to court if necessary that puts lawyers in a better position to obtain maximum recoveries.

5. Who is my claim against?

In most states, including Florida, your claim must be made against the insurance company for the at-fault party.

6. How long does the process take?

The claims process usually takes on average between 90-120 days, depending on what insurance company and adjuster we are dealing with.

7. Do I need to go to the lawyer’s office?

No. Most of the time, we simply take the information by phone and then email the client a retainer agreement to sign and return. Any relevant documents may be sent to us via email or fax. However, you are more than welcome to stop by our office at any time.

8. What if I already have a personal injury attorney?

It is perfectly okay if you are being represented by another attorney for an injury claim for the same accident. The diminished value claim is separate and distinct from the personal injury claim and the two claims will not interfere with each other. Even if your personal injury claim has already been settled, you may still be able to recover additional money for diminished value.

9. Do I need sell my vehicle in order to recover diminished value?

No. The loss in value occurs immediately after the accident and you are entitled to recover compensation for this loss right away.

10. Can I trade in or sell my repaired vehicle?

Yes, but not right away. Once the insurance company receives notice of a diminished value claim, it may request the opportunity to inspect your vehicle. If you sell or trade in your vehicle without providing the insurance company an opportunity to inspect the vehicle, it may cause problems with your claim. After the inspection takes place or if the insurance company does not request an inspection, then you are free to get rid of your vehicle.

11. What is frame damage?

Frame damage refers to any type of damage to the structural members of the vehicle. Diminished value claims involving frame damage are usually taken more serious by the insurance companies. Although frame damage may be repaired, it will usually result in a significant decrease in your vehicle’s value since it is very difficult to trade in or sell a vehicle that has prior frame damage.

12. Do I still have a diminished value claim if my vehicle did not sustain frame damage?

Yes. Your vehicle will lose value by the mere fact that it was involved in an accident and now carries an accident history. We handle claims all of the time for vehicles that did not sustain frame damage.

13. Should I pay for an expert appraiser’s report from a company that I found online?

There are many so-called experts advertising on the internet offering to provide you with a diminished value report. Please be careful. If they are from another state, they will not be able to inspect your vehicle or show up to court if necessary. Often times, an expert is not even needed to settle your claim, so save your money. If one is needed, we work with top notch experts whose opinions and methods we trust and who will be able to testify at court if we need them to.

14. How much time do I have?

Every state has a statute of limitations time period or a deadline to file a diminished value claim. Most states allow between 2 to 4 years from the date of the accident. Florida allows up to 4 years.