Maryland Is a Diminished Value State

Since Maryland is a diminished value state, you may be entitled to a diminished value recovery. In other words, the law may give you the right to be compensated for the loss of value of the vehicle caused by diminution in value in addition to the costs associated with the repairs to your vehicle. Most importantly, you do not have to sell your vehicle in order to recover.

What Causes Diminished Value? Why Is a Car Worth Less Even After Being Repaired?

It is important to understand that the resale value of your vehicle is greatly affected even if you get it repaired after a serious collision. Regardless of the kind of repair parts used to fix your vehicle, they can never replace the original, factory parts. The use of seam sealers and non-factory welds leave telltale signs of the repairs. Moreover, the application of paint in a body shop during repairs can never duplicate the factory finish even if the body shop did a great job. This type of non-factory paint work is detectable using inexpensive equipment and is routinely used by car dealerships when determining trade-in offers. This is exactly why a car buyer will never pay as high a price for a repaired vehicle as he/she will for a car with no accident history. To cover that loss, claiming diminished value makes sense. Diminished value is basically the loss in market value of the vehicle due to an auto car accident.

When Are You Eligible to File a Diminished Value Claim in Maryland?

You can make a diminished value claim in Maryland and get compensated if:

  • You are involved in an auto accident
  • You are the owner of the vehicle involved in the car accident
  • You are making a claim against the other, at-fault, driver
  • Your vehicle is NOT declared a total loss

Please note, the statute of limitation on this diminished value claim in Maryland is three (3) years and we do pursue uninsured motorist coverage for diminished value. However, you cannot make diminished value claims in Maryland if you are the at-fault party in the auto accident or if your vehicle is declared a total loss.

We Have Included a Few Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How is the compensation for the loss of value determined? How do I know how much less my vehicle is worth, now that it has been in an accident and repaired?

A. The most persuasive way to make these claims is to have an expert determination made. You can always try to make your case to the insurance carrier using Kelley Blue Book values or other comparable asking prices for cars with accident histories, but you may not be able to pinpoint the actual value diminishment unless you have an expert look at the estimates.

Assuming you have an attorney, once the repairs of your vehicle are complete and you are satisfied with the repairs, the attorney will hire an expert to assist you in determining the loss of value to the vehicle or “diminished value”. The expert can then determine what the value of the vehicle was before the accident and what the value of the vehicle is after the accident and the difference is calculated to be the diminished value. The expert will prepare a detailed report and your attorney will use that report and fight the insurance company to get them to compensate you for that loss. If you do not have an attorney, consider hiring your own expert.

You may also be able to hire an expert on your own. As an attorney, my critical consideration here is making sure we hire someone who not only knows what they are talking about, but also someone who is qualified to testify in a court of law as an expert in case the insurance company refuses to pay and we are forced to file a lawsuit. Frequently, when we file a lawsuit for an injured client where property damage claims are unresolved or have been resolved unsatisfactorily resulting in a vehicle with loss of value, I will include a count in the complaint for diminished value and will subpoena an expert to trial to testify on their report. I have also seen some lawyers subpoena body shop or engine mechanics in as experts as well. I am not comfortable relying on these types of experts because some judges will permit their testimony on the issue and others will not. A qualified diminished value expert on the other hand, is less likely to be stricken as an expert on the issue.

Q. What can I do to assist the attorney and provide documentation to prove the diminished value claim?

A. If your car is in very good condition, and you have a way to prove that with mechanic records, receipts for parts, oil changes, any maintenance records, and pictures then you need to provide these to your lawyer. Also, if you have a mechanic that worked on your car prior to the auto accident, then ask that person to write a letter regarding the condition of the vehicle prior to the car collision. You could also go to a dealership that will tell you how much your car is worth after the auto accident and have them put it in writing. You would have to tell them that the car was involved in the accident.

Q. What if my personal injury attorney will not handle my diminished value claim?

A. If you are already represented by a personal injury lawyer and are concerned about your diminished value claim, we recommend generally that you call your existing attorney and ask them to handle this portion of your claim for you in addition to your injury claim. We regularly handle diminished value claims for all our personal injury clients in addition to their injury claims. If your personal injury attorney is not willing to handle both your diminished value claim and your personal injury claim together, you may want to consider switching to another lawyer who will.

How You Can Receive Full Compensation for Your Vehicle After an Auto Accident

Maryland law allows victims to be compensated in either of two ways:

The Fair Market Value of the Vehicle (For a Total Loss)

If your vehicle is a total loss, which means the cost of repair approaches or exceeds 75 percent of the vehicle’s pre-loss fair market value, then the insurance company for the at-fault party will compensate you for the value of your vehicle as it existed before the auto collision. This valuation is based upon many factors, including the condition it was in before the collision, the mileage, how it was optioned, etc.

The Cost of Repairing the Vehicle and the Loss of Value Due to the Accident (Diminished Value)

This type of compensation is made when the cost of repairing your automobile does NOT exceed 75 percent of your vehicle’s pre-loss fair market value. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for the necessary repairs to restore your vehicle back to the condition it was before the collision. Furthermore, you might be eligible to purse the diminished value of your vehicle in addition to the costs of the repair.

Why Hire a Baltimore Attorney for Diminished Value Reimbursement?

Insurance companies are often uncooperative and unfair with diminished value claims. Hiring a lawyer for your diminished value claim is your best way to get compensated. Wondering why? Well, the problem is that there are many insurance companies in Maryland that ignore this claim, will not give a fair reimbursement or whose employees are not sure how to handle them.

This typically occurs because they know that most attorneys will not touch diminished value cases unless they are connected to a serious injury claim. Even then, many attorneys ignore the diminished value claim due to ignorance. In other words, they simply do not know how to effectively pursue them.

Put our team of attorneys to work for you. We will aggressively pursue the responsible insurance company for full reimbursement, and will handle your claim from start to finish.


Contact us for a free diminished value estimation and claim evaluation. At the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt we estimate diminished value and rigorously pursue insurance companies to get our clients compensation that is equal to the pre-accident value of their damaged cars. If you or someone you know was involved in a car crash and wants to make a diminished value claim, please call us at 443-844-1528. We offer free consultations day or night.