Summary – Massachusetts Diminished Value Claims
Statute of Limitations: 3 years
Third Party Diminished Value Claim: Yes
First Party Diminished Value Claim: No, most insurance policies will exclude diminished value
Massachusetts Property Damage Minimum Limits: $5,000
Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: No coverage
Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Diminished Value: No coverage
Massachusetts Small Claims Court Limit: $7,000 attorney representation is permitted. Massachusetts law doesn’t allow a plaintiff or defaulting defendant to appeal.
Massachusetts Diminished Value Law
Massachusetts is a state that allows drivers to file a diminished value claim if the accident wasn’t their fault. The statute of limitations for diminished value claims in Massachusetts is three years from the date of loss. Diminished value claims are filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Generally, a victim of property damage is entitled to be placed in the position he or she would have been in if the defendant’s wrong had never occurred. Tort Law § 13.11, at 429 (3d ed. 2005). A fundamental principle on which the rule of damages is based is compensation. Compensation is that amount of money that reasonably will make the injured party whole. Compensatory damages may not exceed this amount. Anything beyond that amount is a windfall. Kattar v. Demoulas, 433 Mass. 1 , 15 (2000).
Jarrett McGilloway et al. v. Safety Insurance Company and the Commerce Insurance Company COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
The Supreme Judicial Court differentiated part 4 from part 7 (a first party claim for collision coverage) of the standard Massachusetts auto policy, and held that inherent diminished value is recoverable under a third party claim for damages under part 4 of the standard policy. The Supreme Judicial Court noted that not every automobile that is involved in a collision and is subsequently repaired has suffered diminished value. “Rather, individualized proof is required to demonstrate that a given automobile has sustained some form of diminution in value due to a collision or vehicular accident, even after repairs are made.” A Plaintiff would still need to prove (1) that his or her vehicle has suffered inherent diminished value damages and (2) the amount of diminished value damages at issue.
How to File a Diminished Value Claim in Massachusetts
Step 1. Gather proof of your car’s diminished value.
Crucial in filing any insurance claim is having the correct paperwork and supporting documentation prepared professionally.
Insurance companies are looking for a high-quality, independent diminished value appraisal performed by an industry expert with the highest qualifications and experience.
Step 2. Submit a diminished value appraisal and demand letter for review.
Typically, diminished value claims are brought against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Step 3. Settle your claim.
Insurance companies will often want to negotiate so it is in your best interest to enlist the services of a professional diminished value appraiser for help with your claim. Negotiate until they get firm with their offer.
If you have any questions or would like a free claim review, please call us at (850) 201-1950 or complete a free estimate form to get further assistance with your Massachusetts diminished value claim.