A diminished value claim or a diminution claim is a rarely used tort in personal injury law. Utah law allows for such claims, but they are hard to prove in cases involving automobile value.
Imagine that you have a new minivan, and someone on their phone hits your driver’s side door. You take the van in to get repaired. The body shop does good work. The van runs well and looks great. It seems as if you have been made whole, which is the goal of all PI claims.
However, it may not be over. Less than three years later, when you try to sell the van, you cannot receive the same price for your van that would for a van that had not been involved in an accident. The fact that the van had been involved in an accident diminished the value of the van.
A diminution claim allows you to sue the at-fault driver for the difference in price. If you could have sold your un-wrecked van for $10,000.00, but were only able to sell your wrecked version for $8,000.00, you may sue the at-fault party for the $2,000.00 difference.
Be wary. Diminution is a complicated claim. It can also impact the rest of your PI settlement. You may not be able to sue for diminution if your property damage and bodily injury claims have settled.
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