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.
So Dan’s attorney appealed, and we didn’t get paid our diminished value claim yet. The appeal went from the District Justice to the trial court. In other states the District Justice would be referred to a small claims court, District Magistrate or a people’s court. They are courts that deal with claims involving relatively small amounts of money.
In this case, Vic was struck by a vehicle owned by Carmella and driven by Dan. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that it was not Vic’s fault in any way. So who does Vic make a diminution of value claim against? Dan was driving, but he was driving Carmella’s car. Let’s look at the possibilities. If Dan had the permission of Carmella then her insurance might cover Dan while he was driving her car.
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.
Here’s a link to an interesting case involving diminished value for cars. It’s a Washington State case, and also a class action suit. The court upheld the consumers right to diminished value under a Washington insurance policy.
If you have a property damage claim, here’s an important book to read. “Delay, Deny, Defend” by Jay M. Feinman. An article about this book appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The author is Jeff Gelles, a reporter for the paper.