Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Standards for Diminished Value of Car Following Accident

In the case of Huchenski v. Alexander, 2019 WL 631050 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Nov. 20, 2019 Nealon, J.), the Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in negligence action by a Plaintiff seeking to recover damages for property damage to a vehicle from an automobile accident.

The defense argued that the damages for the "diminished value” of the vehicle were “speculative and could not form a basis for recovery.”

The record reflected that the vehicle sustained $5,599.75 in property damage repairs that were paid by Defendant’s insurer.

The Plaintiff secured a post-repair appraisal indicating that although the average retail value of the vehicle was $21,125.00, and that the “current actual cash value” following the completion of the repairs was only $14,750.00.

Judge Nealon noted that, in cases involved claims of diminished value to vehicles or chattel, Pennsylvania has adopted the Restatement (Second) of Torts §928 which allows for the recovery of damages representing “the difference between the value of the chattel before the harm and the value after the harm with due allowance for any difference between the original value and the value after repairs.”

The Court noted that, for almost 100 years, Pennsylvania common law has recognized the diminished value of a vehicle following repairs as an appropriate measure of damages.

Therefore, based upon the evidence contained in the record, the Court ruled that the “diminished value” claim was not premised upon “impermissible speculation.”

As such, the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied.

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.

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