1: Diminished Value is the Law of the Land
Ohio, like many states, allows for the recovery of “residual diminished value” –above and beyond the cost of repairs- following an accident. While the matter has not yet been taken up by the Ohio Supreme Court, two appellate courts (See: Braum v. Kinderdine, 2nd Dist. No. 26298, 2015-Ohio-696 and Rakich v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 172 Ohio App.3d 523, 2007-Ohio-3739, 875 N.E.2d 993 (10th Dist.) have decided in favor of claimants bringing such claims.
2: The Legal Concept Behind Diminished Value is Old (much older than CarFax)
Law students are made well aware of the Restatement of Torts during law school. Ohio has specifically adopted the Restatement (Second) of Torts Section 928, which states:
“When one is entitled to a judgment for harm to chattels not amounting to a total destruction in value, thedamages include compensation for:
(a) The difference between the value of the chattel before the harm and the value after harm or, at his election in an appropriate case, the reasonable cost of repair or restoration, with due allowance for any difference between the original value and the value after repairs, and
(b) The loss of use.”
3: One Cannot Recover Beyond the “Gross or Total Diminution in Value”
Ohio courts have held that a claimant cannot collect more than the difference between the value of the vehicle after the accident but before repairs (low value) and the value of the vehicle just before the accident (highest value).
Say, for example, your vehicle is worth $10,000.00 just before the accident, and is only worth $3,000.00 following the collision before repairs (total/gross diminution in value, then being $7,000.00). If the repairs cost $5,000.00, the most one could recover for residual diminished value would then be $2,000.00 (even if the vehicle is only worth $6,000.00 after repairs for example).
4: Insurance Companies Do Not Like to Pay for Diminished Value in Ohio
We commonly hear complaints from prospective clients that the insurance company has told them any number of excuses not to pay. The primary excuses are “we don’t owe for that in Ohio” and “your vehicle was repaired to completion so there’s no loss in value”. Neither of these excuses are valid, of course.
5: Hire a Lawyer!
Shameless plug for our firm here of course but McKenzie & Snyder has resolved hundreds of diminished value claims and has the experience and knowledge to obtain excellent results. Further, many insurance adjusters simply will not take a diminished value claim seriously unless a competent lawyer –who is willing to litigate- is pursuing it.
If you think you might have a diminished value claim, call McKenzie & Snyder for a free consultation.
We’ll discuss whether or not you have a claim to be made and what the insurance company owes you.