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 ?||
"A Little Tale" of
Diminished Value Laws
in Arizona as reviewed by
J. D. Howard
ARIZONA IS A DIMINISHED VALUE RECOVERY STATE . . .
In 1986, I owned Realistic Appraisal & Adjustment Services. In the preceding 6 years our business had grown to be the 2nd largest independent claims adjusting service in Arizona (2nd only to Crawford & Company). I had benefited greatly from two extraordinary mentors (Frank Wesley, managing partner of Great West Claim Services .. and .. E.P. “Bill” Everhard, claim manager of TransAmerica Insurance Group). We had a staff of 14 employees and counted some of America’s best insurance company staff claims adjusters as personal friends.
While my mentors were heroes in my life, two other people had a significant impact on forming the man I had become (Zig Ziglar, author of “See You at the Top” .. and .. Senator Barry M. Goldwater). The reason I share this with you is about to be made clear.
There was a proposition on the ballot that year that would have amended the Arizona Constitution so as to allow “No-Fault” insurance in Arizona. Since insurance was my vocation, I took an interest in reading the actual proposition. I did not like what I read.
I literally spoke directly with both Zig Ziglar and Senator Goldwater. Zig Ziglar reminded me that “If a man does not stand for something .. he’ll fall for anything”. Sen. Goldwater impressed upon me how important was the actual language of the proposition. It was inconsistent with their advertising. That’s when I decided I had to become involved in challenging that insurance industry backed proposition.
If You Do Not Stand for Something . . . You Could Fall for Anything !
Shortly after that proposition had gone down to defeat (by less than 1%) we started getting phone calls from those who had been giving us assignments. Turns out, they had been given instructions to no longer provide work to our firm. We closed our doors and recommended our friends speak with Marvin “Marv” Lorig at Crawford & Company. Marv was a former employee with whom we had always maintained a close friendship.
In 1987, I moved my office back home and began handling the property damage portions of attorney’s client’s claims. We made sure client’s vehicles were properly repaired at top-notch body shops .. and .. collected Diminished Value settlements for the auto owners.
The Significant Takeaways from the above are . . .
- The insurance industry wields great power over politicians . . .
- Consumers DO have Rights, be willing to enforce them . . .
- Diminished Value is recoverable if you are not the at-fault party . . .
- Character Matters . . .
- Diminished Value Appraisers should know how to help you negotiate !
There are 2 significant case law precedents that favor Diminished Value consumer rights in Arizona. They are Farmers Insurance v. RBL Investment (1983) .. and .. Oliver v. Henry (2011). Farmers Insurance lost their case and State Farm lost in the Oliver v. Henry case.
A good Diminished Value Appraiser will show you how to leverage these case laws to recover your Diminished Value.
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 ... and 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.
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”.