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Law Practice in Jacksonville

SELECTED 2013-2017

Diminished Value Claims in Florida: The “Dirty Carfax” loss

What is a “Diminished Value” Claim?

Carfax has done a great job transcending an industry. People now care more about the history of a wrecked vehicle. Even minor or moderate structural damages to a vehicle can cause a vehicle to be worth less. After market parts or repairs may make it look the same or drive the same, but a car is simply not valued the same as a wreck.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the ultimate marketplace for second hand vehicles- dealer auctions. There are strict disclosure policies set forth within these auctions. Repairs are highly investigated and scrutinized. These auctions even have stringent rules which discuss repairs must be disclosed.

Why do they go to auction? Most dealers will send accident damaged vehicles to auction instead of dealing with the ramifications of unsatisfied customer returns, bad reviews, law suits and the like. Major dealer groups such as AutoNation have policies which prohibit the purchase of vehicles with a particular accident history. This is despite the fact Florida protects these entities with laws which require the “buyer (to be) beware” and which holds that unless there is fraud, the benefit of the doubt travels with the seller of used vehicles.

Before versus After

The difference in a vehicle’s value prior to a loss and after a loss or “prior to repair” or “after repair” is basically the barometer in assessing its true inherent loss in value. It’s simple; would you buy a car if you knew it was in a previous accident? The answer most likely heard is “no.” A logical buyer would not pay the same for a vehicle with a blemished history report as opposed to a vehicle with a clean bill of health. Even if the repairs were done perfectly, the vehicle will still be valued less and inferior to one that was never in an accident.

Certified Pre Owned Vehicles

Nearly every car dealer has a “Certified Pre-Owned Program,” which come with increased warranty protection and much more of a premium offered vehicle. These progams are a mainstay for most dealer used car departments. They offer a “peace of mind” because the vehicles have been intensely checked. Even vehicles with only cosmetic paintwork may not qualify within some factory programs.

Obligation to Disclose

Most states require that any previous accident damage over $500 must be disclosed by the seller to the prospective buyer whether that buyer is a private party, dealer trade-in or any other form of sale regardless of how the vehicle was repaired and to what standards it was repaired. Even in the event this requirement was not in effect, a prior collision can be easily detected on this vehicle by looking at it closely.

Determining Diminished Value

Your vehicle must be evaluated by a professional appraiser to determine its value after repairs have been made. This diminished value expert will then create a report outlining the specifics of your case, including the total loss of value. We can then help you recover that amount.


We invite you to review our verdicts, our accolades and awards and what clients have to say about us and give us a call for a free consultation where our lawyers will consult with you personally.  John represents clients in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and before the U.S. Supreme Court with passion and compassion. Our firm handles a wide variety of injury and death cases, criminal defense, family law and a host of high profile matters. We can be emailed at help@floridajustice.com or call us at (904) 444-4444 in Florida or (912) 444-4444 in Georgia.