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YADVT: Yet Another Diminished Value Thread

Vittitow

Member
Aug 4, 2016
30
7
Louisville, KY
Let me preface this with I've done a decent bit of reading threads on here and on the tesla forums in regards to diminished value claims. I haven't quite seen any posts that cover my specific situation so I'm seeking advice, if I missed it please kindly link me to those threads.

Two months ago I was hit pretty much head on by a distracted driver on their phone. We both had USAA insurance and both filed claims. Fortunately I was able to recover dash cam footage of the accident and was determined not liable which is important since this accident occurred in Kentucky which is a no fault state. My car suffered ~$13.5k in damage and took nearly two months to repair. After some research I landed with using St. Lucie Appraisal Company for my independent appraisal for my diminished value claim. Before disclosing this to USAA I simply just filed a DIV claim to which they sent it off to a third party, Alacrity Solutions, to avoid a conflict of interest. They came back with a $2.1k diminished valuation whereas my independent appraisal was for ~$10k. I summitted this appraisal and after weeks of getting the run around the gist is that USAA refuses to negotiate on DIV claims and also refuses to disclose the numbers they use to calculate it. I followed the guidance of the rep at St. Lucie to the letter and I'm at the point where I need to sue the at fault driver to recoup my losses. Problem is, I've spoken to a couple of attorneys who all have shrugged it off as being too expensive for me to recover anything and small claims maximum in Kentucky is only $2500. Any advice/experience?

TLDR; Hit by distracted driver in Kentucky causing $13.5k in damage, USAA not budging on $2.1k DIV whereas independent appraisal is $10k. Small claims maximum is $2.5k in my state and lawyers fees would end up eating away any hope of recovering more.
 

FoxSTL2HOU

Member
Nov 12, 2018
517
304
HOU
With such a low small claims cap, you are facing a tough path. Some other not-as-easy suggestions that come to my mind...

a) Let USAA know you will scream from the mountaintops about them from now until the end of time and never give them another penny, but end up accepting the $2100.

b) Check with your local bar association to see if there are new/young attorney's in tort/property damage/DV areas of practice that may take on the case at a lower rate.

c) Dig through your court's public records to find other cases, if any, of DV claims and reach out to the attorneys' offices from those cases to see if they'll take your suit.

d) Investigate if there is any loss-of-use component you can add to your claim (if your state's code and/or case law precedent allow). If you were given a $30/day Nissan Sentra rental for those two months instead of a $180/day Model S, maybe that delta for the base claim is enough to entice an attorney to accept.

Good luck.
 
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Reactions: aerodyne

STLUCIE

Member
Mar 17, 2020
16
7
Fort Pierce, FL
It's unfortunate that many insurers occasionally, and with no rhyme or reason, decide to force some people to litigate. At the very least, your evidence of the existence and approximate amount of diminished value is far superior that anything that the insurance company can counter with. Also, sometimes filing suit is the only thing that can get their attention. They know they would lose in court.
 

FoxSTL2HOU

Member
Nov 12, 2018
517
304
HOU
Speaking from experience...

It's unfortunate that many insurers occasionally, and with no rhyme or reason, decide to force some people to litigate.

They have a reason - money. They know the plaintiff must have $$$ to pursue a suit and often the gains possible between the appraised DV and offered DV is not enough to justify a suit.

At the very least, your evidence of the existence and approximate amount of diminished value is far superior that anything that the insurance company can counter with.

Until the insurance company produces their own DV appraisal from an "expert witness", and now the burden is on you, the plaintiff, to explain to a judge/jury why the insurance's expert opinion is less valid (if it is) than your own.

Also, sometimes filing suit is the only thing that can get their attention. They know they would lose in court.

There are so many variables to a lawsuit, no side automatically assumes they would lose. Is the presence of auto insurance for the defendant admissible? Is the accident report/police report/peace officer's report admissible? Has either expert witness been discredited through deposition? Will either expert witness make themselves available as a witness for court? Will the case be decided by judge or jury? What are the opinions/preferences of the judge or jury members? How sympathetic does the plaintiff or defendant appear?

TL;DR - Having a valid DV appraisal is A step, but is not THE ONLY step.
 

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