California Diminished Value Claims :
What You Need To Know
Throughout the country, individuals are realizing that they have a right to recover the inherent lost market value (diminished value) that occurs after a vehicle has been wrecked and repaired.
UPDATED JAN. 2016
There are only two states where case law does not support recovery of diminished value in a negligence cause of action. California is not one of those states. New case law in California is clear that it IS possible to recover for the diminished value of your vehicle if you are able to prove your loss.
California Diminished Value Claims – The Law
Specifically, the case comes out of the Superior Court of California, Riverside.
The case number is INC-083992.
Stephanie and Brian Smith sued for their California diminished value and the person that hit them had insurance through Mercury insurance. Mercury was ordered to pay the diminished value claim on the Smith vehicle (which was proven by expert testimony / report). Attorney Montie Day of Day Law Offices in Nevada argued this case and confirmed with me that the diminished value awarded was solely due to the inherent loss, and not because of any repair problem. The repairs in the Smith case were confirmed to be acceptable, and the California diminished value claim was confirmed to be due to the market perception.
UPDATE: As of January 2016, Montie Day has added another success to his long list – he fought the Supreme Court for consumers and he WON! How does that affect you?
READ OUR JAN 2016 BLOG POST HERE TO FIND OUT DETAILS ON THE CHANGES TAKING PLACE IN CALIFORNIA!
So, if you have a car accident in California and your vehicle is repaired, how do you know how much your California diminished value claims are worth and how do you recover it? To find out how much your lost market value is, you could attempt to get some car dealers to give you before and after quotes (before accident history, and after repaired). If you can sweet talk a dealer into providing you with this data, it might assist you with getting an estimation of how much value your vehicle has lost. Of course, most dealers will not tell you how much profit they make, so their opinions are limited due to the undisclosed profit factor. The only other way is to hire a qualified, professional appraiser who can produce a credible appraisal on the amount of lost value (like me!).
California Diminished Value Claims – Make A Demand!
After you have your evidence showing the lost value for your DV claim, then you simply need to make a formal demand and follow up on it.
How do you start a demand? We can help with that too!
Get a copy of our sample demand letter here!
Be prepared to school the insurance company about how diminished value is proven. I have never dealt with an insurance company that has a diminished value expert on staff, and if they claim to, then you should ask to have their expert discuss the matter with your expert on a conference call.
Many times, insurance companies will simply refuse to negotiate on California diminished value claims, and in those cases, you need to either hire an attorney and sue, or sue on your own in small claims court. Insurance companies know that it is difficult to find an attorney who will help you sue exclusively for property damages, so finding an expert who can assist you with figuring out the small claims process is normally the only economical way to effectively pursue a diminished value claim (if the insurance company refuses to acknowledge the case law).
In California, the small claims courts are very effective and they do not allow attorneys, so it makes the process do-able for anybody that has the persistence to fight for justice. Your vehicle is not worth the same amount once it has an accident history, so if somebody else caused the accident, make them (or their insurance) pay for ALL of your loss, not just part of it.
Why should you lose money because they caused an accident?
Find out more about Small Claims Court in California here!
Need More Help?
Information is always free at Petty Details, LLC. I hope this helps you in your fight for justice!
If you have questions or concerns regarding diminished value or total losses, give us a ring anytime at 214-227-2154 or you can just sign up for a free claim consultation and get the answers you need!
Fill out the form below today if you are the victim of an auto accident and want to find out if you have a diminished value claim that is worth pursuing – we will tell you absolutely free!