A Basic Overview
|Is there a statutory basis controlling diminished value claims ?||
|Is there favorable Reported case law for Diminished Value Claims ?||
|Can my Collision Coverage cover the Diminished Value of my vehicle ?||
|Can my Uninsured Motorist cover my Diminished Value ?||
|What is the small claims court authority limit ?||
|What is the Statute of Limitations to recover my diminished value ?||
|Are “iCan” appraisals accepted into evidence ?||
An Objective Overview of
Diminished Value Laws
in Alabama as reviewed by
J. D. Howard
ALABAMA IS A PENDING DIMINISHED VALUE RECOVERY STATE …
After an Accident, your car suffers a reduction in value. That reduction is typically referred to as Diminished Value. Over the past Ten  Years, there has been an Explosion of Diminished Value appraisal services being promoted on internet search engines. Sadly, too many of those sites are run by unqualified hustlers out for a quick buck. There are only a hand-full of qualified service providers that know what they’re doing and can be relied upon to tell the truth. This web site is among that hand full.
One of the less-than-ethical web sites misleads their visitors by alleging there is “Reported” Case Law precedent supporting an accident victim’s Right to recover Post-Repair Residual Diminished Value. The case they cite is King Motor Company v. Wilson (612 So.2d 1153) circa 1992. Truth is, that case dealt with dealer fraud and made no reference to a consumer’s right to recover Post-Repair Residual Diminished Value. While there is a pattern of Trial Court decisions, in Alabama, that do support an accident victim’s right to recover their Post-Repair Residual Diminished Value, few insurance companies have been foolish enough to have “appealed” those trial court decisions. If a Trial Court decision were to be “upheld” by an Appellate Court, the Trial Court decision would then be “Reported” Case Law precedent, that would work to the future dis-advantage of the liability insurance industry.
A Diminished Value Appraisal is only worth the cost, when it is a persuasive document leading to the recovery of Diminished Value damages ... A Diminished Value Appraisal "Estimate" ... Honestly Expressed ... combined with knowledge of the Diminished Value LAWS in a consumer's given state, are necessary elements of consideration to evaluate pursuing a Diminished Value recovery.
Truth . . . MATTERS !
Notwithstanding what other web sites may have you believe, there are only 3 (yes, only 3) general categories of Diminished Value that impact consumers …
- Immediate / Inherent Diminished Value is the Loss of Value of a damaged vehicle immediately upon infliction of the damage.
- Post-Repair Residual Inherent Diminished Value is, as the title implies, that portion of the Inherent Diminished Value that was Not restored through the repair process.
- Repair-Related Diminished Value is that portion of a vehicle’s Loss of Value that is directly related to a less-than-optimal repair work product. Repair-Related Diminished Value is Not owed by the at-fault party. After all, it is not their fault that repairs to your vehicle were defective. UNLESS …
- The insurer of the at-fault party directed the repairs to a specific repair facility (or influenced your selection of repair facility). At that point, it becomes more of a Repair Warranty claim than a Diminished Value claim.
- A Repair Warranty claim would require physical inspection of the repaired vehicle.
FYI . . . DRP Agreements . . .
DRP (Direct Referral Program) Agreements do exist (in writing). Under the terms of a DRP agreement, a body shop surrenders virtual control of their facility, to an insurance company, in exchange for that insurance company’s promise to promote that body shop to their insureds and claimants. All decisions as to method of repair and parts to be used are dictated by the insurance company. We’ve actually read DRP agreements that stated “the vehicle owner shall remain ‘Blind’ as to any difference of opinion that may arise between [insurance company] and [this] shop”.