Diminished value claim just in the nick of time
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. The car was taken to the repair shop and the damages were originally $11,000.00. But, after the repairs were made, the car still didn’t run right so it was brought back to the shop two more times. The additional repairs were around $8,000.00 more, but the owners still weren’t happy with the way the car ran, so they wanted to trade it in. As usual, when they went to the dealer to do that, they realized that the accident diminished the value of their car so much they couldn’t afford to do the trade unless they got some money for the diminished value claim. The contacted the insurance company for the other driver and at first, the auto diminished value claim was entirely denied. After several months the insurance company told them to get an estimate of the Pennsylvania diminished value and they would consider it. The owners got and estimate for the automobile property damage, submitted it to the insurance company and were told it was insufficient, and that they had to get another diminished value property loss estimate from a different dealer. The owners did as they were instructed and submitted it and again were told the estimate was insufficient, and that they’d have to trade the car in, and advise the insurance company how much they got in the trade. The owners still hadn’t hired me yet, but time was running out. The case had dragged on for nearly two years at this point, and they didn’t want to trade in the car and then find out that the insurance company would refuse to pay anything for an auto diminished value loss, so they came to my office. It’s lucky for them, because they only had two months left before the statute of limitations ran. It’s not unusual for an insurance company to delay the case for more than two years, assure the claimant that they’ll consider the claim, and then deny the claim after the statute of limitation has run out. I advised my clients of this defense strategy, and told them we’d file suit in time if we needed to. I submitted the claim for them, but again we had no luck. The insurance company adjuster refused to make an offer based on the estimates my client already obtained, and insisted he had to sell or trade the car to arrive at a value they’d accept for the car accident property damage. We filed suit, and the insurance claim was sent to a law firm, and we settled out of court for $12,000.00 without a day in court.