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Our diminished value case is headed to trial

JanT

New Member
May 14, 2018
3
37
Pacifica
I have seen that there are a lot of posts regarding diminished value claims, so I thought I would start my own and provide information that others can use for their own claims. Our 2013 Model S 85 was parked inside our garage. A food delivery person slammed into our garage at a high rate of speed in 2014, smashing the Tesla on both ends. $28k in damages to the car. They have Allstate Insurance. We filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in late 2015. We do not have a lawyer.

We have already been through Mediation. We did not resolve the matter there because Allstate refuses to acknowledge diminished value claims. They agreed that we had a loss of use claim, but our numbers are vastly different. Make sure to get a Loss of Use Report when you get your Diminished Value Report. I will provide a lot more details after the trial.

The Diminished Value Report came out to about $19,000. Loss of Use is about the same. Loss of Use is when you were provided with a cheap rental car instead of with a like kind vehicle, as required by law. This may not seem to be an issue for some people, but if you have designated EV lanes in your area that you can no longer use during rush hour, it makes a huge difference in your life. Plus, gasoline charges have now come back into your life. We filed in Limited Civil Court, for claims between $10,000 and $25,000, thinking that it would be an easier Court for us to handle on our own without an attorney. Unfortunately, we are being held to the same rules that govern Superior Court. Except for limiting the amount of discovery they can seek, there is no difference in the courts.

We go to trial in August 2018. We have plenty of case law showing these cases are successful and there are even Jury Instructions that clearly state that we are entitled to diminished value and loss of use. The law couldn’t be clearer. The Jury Instructions were recently revised because the way they were worded were contradictory to California law so they agreed to revise them so that there is no misunderstanding of the law here. We also found Federal cases that clearly state that we are entitled to diminished value. The insurance companies are digging in their heels merely because people don’t pursue what they’re entitled to. If you are in a different state, that shouldn’t matter because Federal law trumps State laws if there is a difference. Most likely, you will not have laws to keep you from getting diminished value. I can provide all the caselaw I found that supports our position if anyone needs it.

I am not an attorney, and I am not giving legal advice. I do recommend asking an attorney in your state how to proceed against the at fault driver. We are not suing Allstate, we are suing those responsible for the accident. Allstate is providing the attorneys to defend them. But it appears that the insureds may have a claim themselves against Allstate for bad faith for not settling this case along time ago. But that is for them to figure out after trail. Mercury insurance fought a diminished value case against their insureds here in California, and lost. Because of this, I am going to contact the Insurance Commissioner to let them know what Allstate is doing, even though they know what the law is here. After trial, I can post step-by-step instructions if you want to file your own claim. If you can find a diminished value attorney nearby where you live, that may be a lot easier as they will handle everything for you. You will probably have to give up a third of what you get, but it may be worth it. We did not find an attorney specializing in this kind of law locally, but we did find some down south in the LA area if anyone needs a referral. If anyone knows of a lawyer in the Bay Area that knows about diminished value, please let me know. We would rather hand the case off to an attorney, but if we don’t find one in the next month, at least we have help from attorneys out of the area to help get us through trial.
 
Diminished value claim settlement varies state by state. I have been appraising vehicles in Arizona and California for over twenty years. A case in Arizona changed the law; previously the vehicle had to be sold to quantify the loss, now an appraisal report can be prepared for that purpose. Insurance companies will often state they don't recognize the diminished value and have to be "reminded" that they have settled those claims previously. The sad state of California's auto insurance laws allowing a minimum liability coverage of $5k very often limits the ability of the damaged vehicle owner to seek an equitable settlement. Keep in mind the diminished value claim is settled by the insurance of the at fault (3rd) party. So, the fact that you have paid your insurance diligently and maintained coverage for your vehicle has no impact on the diminished value claim. My experience is that insurance companies in California routinely do not follow the regulations imposed on them indicating an unwillingness of the insurance commissioner to hold their feet to the fire. Insurance companies routinely use "prior damage" as a reason to reduce their payouts on totaled vehicles, yet fail to acknowledge diminished value when the injured party initiates a claim. Please keep us posted on the developments in this case.
 
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chuckgt3

New Member
Aug 1, 2018
1
0
94539
I have a just received a similar denial from Allstate so am interested in your case. can you provide the information or links to it that you referred to:

We have plenty of case law showing these cases are successful and there are even Jury Instructions that clearly state that we are entitled to diminished value and loss of use. The law couldn’t be clearer. The Jury Instructions were recently revised because the way they were worded were contradictory to California law so they agreed to revise them so that there is no misunderstanding of the law here. We also found Federal cases that clearly state that we are entitled to diminished value.
 

Ste P

New Member
Feb 7, 2020
1
2
USA
If anyone would like a copy of the jury instructions you can get them through the auto mediator...As well as other important information in Diminished Value Tesla claims for CA, AZ, NV, FLA. Auto Mediator deals with trials in these cases and has seen many different strategies.
 
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