Diminished Value Claims
If your car has been damaged through the fault of someone else, you may be able to file a diminished value claim to recover the lost value to your vehicle.
Diminished value is the loss in value to your vehicle due to it being involved in an accident and now having a recorded history of damage. For example, consider the following scenario: You are shopping for a pre-owned vehicle. Lets say you find two identical 2019 Honda Accords for sale. Because they are identical, they would have the same resale value (cost the same price to purchase). Now, lets add in the fact that one of these Honda Accords has been involved in an accident. Would you still pay the same price for each of these vehicles? No. You would likely check the CarFax of both vehicles and discover that one of them has been in an accident and therefore you would not be willing to pay the same price for the car that has accident history. In other words, the resale value of the vehicle with accident history is less than the vehicle with no accident history. That gap in value is known as inherent diminished value.
You can file a claim for diminished value as soon as the repairs to your vehicle have been completed. A successful diminished value claim will result in you being paid the lost value of your vehicle in one lump sum. This is typically thousands of dollars.
In order to file a meaningful diminished value claim in Rhode Island, the following criteria must be met:
Your vehicle cannot be leased (financing/car loans are okay);
Your vehicle typically must be less than seven years old (unless it is a vehicle of high value);
Your vehicle must have less than 100,000 miles;
Your vehicle does not have previous major accident history; and
Another driver must be at fault for the accident.
Handling diminished value claims can be very confusing and difficult, especially because of the lack of regulation on diminished value in Rhode Island. It is advised to hire an attorney to handle your diminished value claim, which should have no out-of-pocket expense to you. Typically, lawyers that handle these claims are paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyer will be paid a percentage of your settlement.