The strength of a diminished value claim in Florida depends on many factors. One very important factor is whether or not your car sustained any frame (or structural damage) in the accident. Frame damage is more serious than minor, cosmetic damage because it involves the actual structure of the vehicle. Usually, frame damage occurs when the impact is more significant, but they may also occur from lower impact accidents as well. Frame damage is significant because once a vehicle has sustained frame damage, although it may be properly fixed, it can never be restored to it’s pre-accident condition.
Because frame damage affects the underlying structure of the vehicle, the integrity of the vehicle is compromised. When frame damage occurs and the integrity of the vehicle is compromised, the vehicle becomes less safe. If such a vehicle is involved in a subsequent accident, it will likely crumple easier because the structure is not as strong.
Frame damage should be properly documented and specifically referenced on the insurance company’s repair estimate, but often times it is not. For various reasons, it may not be in the insurance company’s best interests to point out frame damage. Therefore, when reviewing a diminished value claim, it is very important to carefully read the itemized lines on a repair estimate to see if frame damage exists. It is also a good idea to ask the body shop who fixed your car whether or not your car sustained frame damage.
Selling or Trading In a Car With Frame Damage
Frame damage is important because it severely affects your ability to sell or trade-in your car. Most dealerships will not even be willing to buy a car that has suffered frame damage because they will be unable to re-sell the car. Certainly, they will probably not be able to re-sell the car as certified pre-owned. If you are lucky enough to sell or trade-in your frame damaged car, you will certainly take a big loss on it.
Finally, it must be noted that frame damage is NOT a requirement for pursuing a diminished value claim. Your car still loses value even if there is no frame damage. Even diminished value claims without frame damage cars are still worth pursuing. Frame damage, however, makes the diminished value claim more significant and more valuable, and because of this, insurance companies tend to pay more money to settle diminished value claims involving frame damage.
At The Collision Law Center, we understand the importance of frame damage and we are able to properly explain the significance of frame damage to the insurance adjusters handling your claim. We know how to spot frame damage on repair estimates and our experts can identify frame damage when they look at your car. Let us handle your diminished value claim and fight to recover the money owed to you for the loss of value to your vehicle.