Diminished value for damaged real estate: A recent ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court that garnered little attention deals with insurance compensation for damaged real estate. The court ruled that a property owner is entitled to a “…
Here’s a big development in the area of diminished value law. A unanimous Georgia Supreme court held that property insurers have to pay diminished value damages to their policyholders when real estate is damaged. Georgia has been a leader to some degree in the area of diminished value claims. In Georgia, unlike most other states, an auto policyholder can make a claim against his own insurer for lost value of a vehicle after it has been in an accident. Most other states only allow a claim for lost value against the party who caused the accident.
Here’s a new diminished value case that just came in and it’s troubling because there may be no good solution. The owner is a woman who has a 2012 Acura. She took it to a car wash, and got out so the attendant could drive it into the car wash. After the attendant got the front tire into the track that pushes the car through the car wash, he got out and the car lurched forward into the car in front, damaging her front bumper. He probably forgot to put in neutral.
Vic’s auto diminished value claim has been concluded – mostly. If you’ve been following these posts you know that we’ve been working on a small auto accident property damage claim that we won in court, and the insurance company lost and then appealed. They missed some deadlines, and made other mistakes, so we filed papers in court to strike the appeal. The insurance company tried 4 times to get the appeal reinstated, and each time violated local court rules so the judge never made a ruling.
There is no movement on the appeal yet, the insurance company hasn’t offered to pay the diminished value claim yet and I’m preparing to execute the judgment and take other enforcement actions. So, I’ll move on to another diminution of value claim that I had in the past. It involved a Mercury Milan V-6 SUV with very low mileage at the time of the accident. The Milan was stopped at a four way stop, then entered the intersection when a vehicle coming from her right ran a stop sign and hit her broadside.
I was going to move on to another diminished value claim, but there is an interesting development in Dan’s diminution of value case that shows how difficult a diminished value auto claim can be. Remember that Dan’s attorney tried to appeal the case from the small claims level to the trial court level but missed some deadlines, and I filed a praecipe (a notice) to strike the appeal. Well, Dan’s insurance company filed some papers to reinstate the appeal.
The second mistake most do-it-yourself claimants make is to give the diminished value report to the insurance company that they want to pay the claim. Obviously, the claimant has to back up his claim with something, but once the report is submitted to the insurance company, it sets the ceiling for the negotiations that will occur. If the do-it-yourselfer takes the first diminished value report he gets and gives it to the insurance company there’s no chance of demanding more than that.
Vic has a number of questions to answer for his claim. But the first step, which is where most people start, is to research the claim online. It’s certainly helpful, but much of what one reads online is wrong, or at least misleading. So Vic read online about the claims and set out to make his claim by himself. Unfortunately he made the same two most common mistakes most do-it-yourself claimants make.
Think that diminished value claims are easy? I’m dealing with one now that will change your mind. As of now, my client, let’s call him Vic, as in innocent victim, was driving home through Pennsylvania in winter. He pulled off on the shoulder of an on ramp to an interstate highway. He was nervous about the road conditions and he wanted to wait until the weather cleared up.
Here’s a situation involving a first party claim and a diminished value claim.
I bought a 2010 Subaru Forrester in Oct 2010. I paid $20,000.00 in cash and traded in my old car that was worth about $5,000. 10 months later, I got into a bad accident involving 6 cars under an underpass. I was at fault for the collision in front of me, but other cars hit me from behind and I am not at fault for that.