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Rules & Process for Washington

ln the state of Washington, if you are in a wreck and the accident was not your fault you are entitled to file a claim for Diminished Value.

The following cases are pertinent to the State of Washington and Diminished Value:


Heaphy v. State Farm Mutual Automobile lnsurance Company, 72 P.3d 22O, 1t7 Wash. App. 438 (Wash.App.Div.2 07/0L/2003)

In this case, the Court of Appeal was required to accept “diminished value” as a basis for its decision because defendant State Farm admitted it owed diminished value for the purpose of avoiding class action certification and to compel arbitration. The case stands for methods to determine diminished value or full indemnity.

According to the court report, the case showed that Heaphy was indeed able to sue for financial compensation due to diminished value. The report states:

Here, State Farm explicitly and repeatedly concedes on appeal that it will pay Heaphy for the diminished value of her vehicle if she can prove it.   Thus, if Heaphy can establish the “difference in the value between the vehicle’s pre-loss value and what its value is after it was damaged, repaired, and returned,” State Farm promises, “such loss or diminution in value ․ would be covered under the UIM provisions of her policy.”   App. br. at 14.

Read the full court report here.


United States District Court for Western District of Washington v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co., 113 Wash. 2d869,784P.zd 507 (Wa. OL/041L990)

Although not an automobile case, the Washington Supreme Court stated that “damages for injury to property are measured in terms of the amount necessary to compensate for the injury to the property interest. (D. Dobbs 5.1, at 311) Therefore, damages for injury to property are limited under Washington law to the lesser of diminution in value of the property or the cost to restore or replace the property.”


Thompson v. King Feed & Nutrition Service, lnc., 105 P.3d 378, 153 Wash.2d 447 (Wash. OL/2O/2OO5)

In this case, the Washington Supreme Court allowed recovery of diminished value of a structure. In so finding, the court said:

The owner is entitled to recover the entire cost of restoring a damaged building to its former condition unless such cost exceeds its diminution in value as the result of the injury, in which event the recovery must be limited to the amount of such diminution. Under this rule the court should receive evidence both as to the cost of restoring the building and as to the amount of its diminished value, and then adopt as the measure of damages the lesser of the two amounts.

Read the full court report here.


Kurtis R. v. Sto lndustries, lnc., 132 P.3d 115, 156 Wash.2d 677 (Wash. 04/06/2006)

Here, the Washington Supreme Court recognized that recovery of costs is inherently connected to permanence of the damage incurred. Specifically, when damage to real property is lasting, the plaintiff is entitled to recover the costs of repair, restoration, and the property’s diminished value.

Read the full court report here.