This week’s case holds a lesson
This week’s case holds a lesson for everyone. It involves my client, an owner of a 2012 Land Rover with 2000 miles on it. He was traveling on a suburban road within the speed limit when another car going in the opposite direction tried to make a left hand turn in front of him. Unfortunately, the other car was a late model Corvette and it was totaled. The Corvette took full responsibility. My client did what many of my clients do. He had it towed, fixed and then went to have an estimate done, to see how much he could get if he traded it in for a new one. The estimate came back with a loss of value of $15,000.00. His car was on Carfax. Then my client contacted the insurance company directly to demand a settlement, and he sent them the estimate he got of $15,000.00. The insurance company responds by sending him their “appraisal” that says the diminished value claims are too speculative to pay out, and the appraiser goes on to recommend that no payment is made to my client. The insurance company gives this to my client, and despite the recommendation of their appraiser, they offer him just over $1,000. Of course, the insurance company appraiser never inspected the Range Rover and never even asked to see it. He just gave an opinion that auto diminished value claims should not be paid. Naturally, the client called me soon after that. This is not unusual. The at-fault insurance company wants to limit their payouts, so they have a list of appraisers who will provide them with a favorable report to justify minimal payouts. Many people don’t want to fight about it, so they’ll take whatever is offered. This is true in personal injury cases too, where insurance companies will call a victim soon after the accident, and offer some minimal payout and have the victim sign a release giving up any future claims. So, beware. Just because an insurance company says you’re not entitled to be paid, don’t take it as necessarily true. I’ll follow up on this case as it progresses, as it’s early in the process.