The law behind Diminished Value.
The legal theory behind diminished value claims is based in tort law. Payment of diminished value claims is normally the responsibility of the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. This is because the auto insurance policy promises to pay for damages caused by the insured. A good way to look at it is as the compensation for the depreciation your car has experienced due to an accident that wasn’t your fault. The Restatement of Torts § 928 states as follows:
“Where a person is entitled to a judgment for harm to chattels not amounting to a total destruction in
value, the damages include compensation for: (a) the difference between the value of the chattel
before the harm and the value after the harm, or at the plaintiff’s election, the reasonable cost of
repairs or restoration where feasible, with due allowance for any difference between the original value
and the value after repairs.”
In the Maryland case of Taylor v. King, the Court of Appeals said that damages should be compensated by paying the damaged vehicle owner the amount necessary to return the vehicle to the same condition it was before the accident. What the court did not do was clarify if that included the fact that the vehicle now had less value due to the fact it had been damaged and repaired.
In 1971, Maryland courts applied the Taylor case and recognized that complete compensation for an accident included not only the repair, but the diminished value as well. (Fred Frederick v. Krause, 12 Md. App. 62) In Krause, a tractor-trailer crashed into four cars parked on a dealer’s lot. The Court of Appeals of Maryland decided that the Taylor ruling required that diminished value be included in compensation to the injured party.
Since King, auto insurer’s in Maryland have no choice but to pay for diminished value. The only question becomes what that amount is. The Maryland diminished value law firm The Law Offices of Nicholas E. Kosmas, LLC looks at all the factors that determine loss of value, including quality of repairs, type of vehicle, market value, cost of disclosure, and resale value of your vehicle. We then take these factors and get the maximum award for you. Call us today for a free consultation at 410-935-1800.