Do you own a high end vehicle like a Lamborghini, Mercedes, Cadillac, Infiniti, Bentley, Rolls Royse, Porsche, Maserati, BMW, Audi, Saab, Lexus or any other vehicle that is considered a luxury or exotic vehicle?
If so, you should certainly be thinking about diminished value if you were involved in a collision! You might not know the technical term for it but you know you’re gonna be put through the ringer when you go to trade that baby in and those are the FACTS!
No matter if you backed into a tree or if some negligent driver crashed into you, it is highly likely that your vehicle has lost value because of the simple fact that it was in an accident. Even if you took the vehicle to the best repair facility around, it doesn’t change the fact that your car was once wrecked.
Diminished value is a concept that has been around for nearly 90 years.
There is law relating to it in Georgia dating back to 1926!
If you’ve been in an accident in your luxury vehicle, what the heck can you do about it?
This is a hard subject to explain to a lot of people.
Let me start by saying that you need to understand what is in this article before you blow your top at some insurance adjuster. There are ways around a reservation of rights defense, but you have to be stealthy and, above all, you have to remain calm.
If you have found this article, you are either an insurance adjuster doing some research or you are involved in a claim and being advised that your claim is not being paid at this time and that they are putting the claim on a “reservation of rights”.
I’m going to speak on Texas and specifically on auto insurance as Texas is my home State and auto insurance is where I have the most experience, although the reservation of rights or its equivalent exists in almost every State in the U.S. and can come about on claims that are not automobile claims.
What do you think? Do you have to sell your car in order to prove that it has lost value?
To the surprise of me and my client’s attorney, we recently had a Judge that said YES. Insurance adjusters are trained to say YES to the title question, too. But what do you think?
The graphic with this article sorta sums up why the law does not agree with the Judge or the insurance adjusters, but I’ll go a little further to drive the point home.
No, Really…Do You Have To Sell Your Car To Prove Diminished Value?
Am I richer when the prices of my stocks go up?
Am I poorer when my stock values are down?
If average home prices around the home I own rise, am I richer?
If I trade my Lamborghini even for a Toyota Corolla, am I richer, or poorer?
If the doctor says I need a $10000.00 surgery to save my foot, am I richer if I don’t get the surgery?
If I lose my foot, and then use a prosthetic, is the cost of maintaining and replacing the prosthetic, along with the future medical costs I will incur part of the value of my claim, or does it only count when I actually go and pay for the care?
If everybody in your neighborhood paid $500 for a grill from the hardware store, and you found an identical one on Craigslist for $325.00 and still in the box, what is the market value of the grill?
If I have a Rolex valued at $22,000.00 by a well known Rolex appraiser, and I sell it for $18000.00, did I change the value of the Rolex?
If a sell price dictates market value, then there is no such thing as a “good deal”.
Let me start by saying that some people never need an attorney, and others will always need an attorney.
Additionally, this article is based on my 15 years of claims adjusting experience. I have developed a simple little formula that will help you decide if you need an attorney or not. Keep in mind, this quiz is tailored for auto accidents only, and I make no warranties or guarantees that your result is a foolproof answer.
Ultimately, the only person that can decide if you need an attorney is you.
With that being said, simply answer the following 15 questions and then add up your answers. All of these questions are yes or no questions. Whatever answer you have the most of is your answer to the title of this article.
If you are doing research on how to get paid for your vehicle’s diminished value, then you know that the advice on the street is to get a diminished value appraisal from a qualified expert. Are you feeling lost or overwhelmed in the process? You aren’t alone!
If you have a repairable collision claim in Texas, then you may be entitled to recover for your vehicle’s diminished value. In Texas, if you file a third-party auto claim, then if your claim meets certain standards, you would likely recover diminished value if the case went before a jury.
Diminished value in Texas compares to other states in this capacity through the negligence law rules.
In Texas, if one is over 50% at fault for a loss, then they cannot recover damages from a less negligent party.
The kicker is that if they are only 10% at fault, then that 10% can be deducted from their damage amount. Some States have a law that applies negligence in a pure manner.
For example: if you are 10% at fault, then you owe 10% of the other person’s damages. If you are 61% at fault, you can still recover 39% of your damages.
The point, and to answer the question in the title of this article, is that YES you can get paid for diminished value in Texas.
What if I want to total my vehicle but the insurance company refuses to total?
Frankly, I’m surprised that I don’t get asked the title question more often, but I know why I don’t. Simply put, it is the dogmatic way insurance adjusters explain the total loss or repair process to accident victims.
From the onset of dealing with most adjusters, the tone is set by the adjuster that what they say is how it is. Most simply TELL people how it is. The art of negotiation is lost and with it, common sense.
This isn’t their fault; their supervisor told them how it was when they started and as they trained. But don’t blame the supervisor because his manager told him how it was when he started. But don’t blame the manager. . . you see where I am going with this?
It is a mindset drilled into adjusters that THEY are the ones that decide if a vehicle is totaled or not. They are sadly mistaken.
So, listen, it is YOUR vehicle.
YOU decide what to do with it, not them. Remind them of this if you disagree with them. Ask them whose name is on the title. After you have cleared up the issue of ownership and ultimate control over the destiny of your vehicle, then you have to implement a plan to bring the destiny to reality.
Insurance companies count on vehicle owners not knowing about the law, specifically the made whole doctrine. They use the lack of knowledge by the layman to prey on accident victims for profit. Right now, many of the accident victims that are reading this article are being further victimized by their own insurance company, and many times the adjusters that are doing the victimizing have been indoctrinated to believe they are doing the right thing and that they are within the law.
Let me be very clear here:
Insurance companies routinely steal money from their own customers through improper and illegal subrogation activities.