Washington Diminished Value Claim
In the state of Washington, if you are in a wreck and the accident was not your fault you are entitled to file a claim for Diminished Value.
Diminished Value in Washington
The following cases are pertinent to the State of Washington and Diminished Value:
In Heaphy v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 72 P.3d 220, 117 Wash. App. 438 (Wash.App.Div.2 07/01/2003) the Court of Appeal was required to accept “diminished value” as a basis its decision because defendant State Farm admitted it owed diminished value for the purpose of avoiding class action certification and to compel arbitration. The case stands for methods to determine diminished value or full indemnity.
Although not an automobile case the Washington Supreme Court in Certification From United States District Court for Western District of Washington v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co., 113 Wash. 2d 869, 784 P.2d 507 (Wa. 01/04/1990), in the dissent on subjects not involving diminution, added dicta the general rule that “damages for injury to property are measured in terms of the amount necessary to compensate for the injury to the property interest. D. Dobbs 5.1, at 311. Therefore, damages for injury to property are limited under Washington law to the lesser of diminution in value of the property or the cost to restore or replace the property.”
In Thompson v. King Feed & Nutrition Service, Inc., 105 P.3d 378, 153 Wash.2d 447 (Wash. 01/20/2005) the Washington Supreme Court allowed recovery of diminished value of a structure. In so finding the court said:
“The owner is entitled to recover the entire cost of restoring a damaged building to its former condition unless such cost exceeds its diminution in value as the result of the injury, in which event the recovery must be limited to the amount of such diminution. Under this rule the court should receive evidence both as to the cost of restoring the building and as to the amount of its diminished value, and then adopt as the measure of damages the lesser of the two amounts.”
In Kurtis R. v. Sto Industries, Inc., 132 P.3d 115, 156 Wash.2d 677 (Wash. 04/06/2006) the Washington Supreme Court recognized that where the damage to real property is permanent, a plaintiff is entitled to recover, not only for the costs of restoration and repair, but also for the property’s diminished value.
Washington Supreme Court Holds Diminished Value Covered by Auto Insurance Policy
Paul Rosner, northwestcoveragelaw.com
Yesterday, a 5-4 majority of the Washington Supreme Court held that certain auto insurance policies issued by Farmers Insurance Company of Washington required the company to pay for post-accident diminished value of repaired vehicles. The case arose out of a November 1998 automobile accident in which David Moeller’s Honda Civic CRX was damaged. Farmers paid the cost to repair the vehicle. Moeller acknowledged that the repairs were complete and acceptable. However, in May 1999, Moeller brought a class action breach of contract lawsuit against Farmers for failing to pay for the vehicle’s diminished value.
Our Supreme Court acknowledged that a majority of other jurisdictions have previously denied coverage for diminished value because an automobile policy’s reference to “repair or replace” unambiguously encompasses only a concept of tangible, physical value. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court disagreed with this view, noting that “the majority view’s framework ignores important presumptions in favor of the insurance consumer that are inherent in the rules of construction regarding insurance contracts.”
The court explained that the policy must be construed as the average person would read it. Through this lens, the majority held, a reasonable consumer looking at the relevant policy language would expect to be placed in the same position he/she was in prior to the accident.
The court also held the class was properly certified despite the difficulty of determining damages.
About Diminished Value Claims
Diminished Value refers to the reduced value of a vehicle simply because it has a significant damage history. Even after the vehicle has been repaired to it’s optimal value, the market value of the vehicle may still be reduced. There are three types of diminished value that your case may fall under:
1. Inherent Diminished Value: This type of diminished value refers to the loss of value of a vehicle simply because it has been in accident. Even after the vehicle has been fully repaired, it may still be considered less valuable than a car that has no accident history. This type of diminished value is the most common and most highly accepted.
2. Repair-Related Diminished Value: A vehicle that experienced an accident and was not repaired properly may experience repair-related diminished value. Whether the car still has cosmetic damages or structural damages, it may experience loss in value due to incomplete repairs.
3. Immediate Diminished Value: Right after a vehicle has experienced an accident, it may lose value even before the owner has the chance to make repairs. Immediate diminished value can be calculated as the difference in resale value of a vehicle before the damage occurred and the resale value before repairs have been made after damage has occurred.
When you need to know the true value of your vehicle, an auto appraisal by a professional at AutoLoss can help to make sure that you receive the best value for your unique vehicle. An auto appraisal takes into account the full history of the vehicle and provides you with an expert opinion on the vehicle’s value that you can then present to the bank, credit union, potential buyers, and insurance companies. There are many reasons as to why an individual may need an auto appraisal, which is why company’s such as AutoLoss provide a variety of Auto Appraisals.
A Stated Value Appraisal can help to establish the true market value of a vehicle that may be required from a bank, credit union, or insurance company. A Loss of Use Appraisal helps to value a business’ vehicle that has been involved in an accident but was necessary for business operations. This type of auto loss appraisal can help recover the value of the vehicle’s service to business. A Lease Termination Appraisal is best for individuals looking to get out of a lease early, and are determined by the vehicle, the market, and miles on the vehicle. Luxury Automobile Appraisals are another type of Auto Appraisal that help protect an individual’s investment. This type of appraisal ensures that the full value of the luxury vehicle is realized and proven. Auto Appraisals are also valuable for individuals looking to donate their car for tax write off purposes.
Total Loss Appraisals
When your vehicle is considered a “total loss”, the insurance company may make you an offer that is less than your desired amount. “Total Loss” of a vehicle refers to when the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds the cost of the vehicle’s worth. After damages occur, an insurance company may make you an offer for the cash value of the totaled vehicle minus your deductible on your comprehensive or collision coverage. A Total Loss Appraisal will ensure that this offer from the insurance company is accurate and provides you with the best value for your damaged vehicle.
In order to recover the losses you must have a diminished value appraisal completed by a Professional Automobile Appraisal Company, such as Autoloss. Also, if the other party does not have insurance and you carry uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage you may be able to claim diminished value under your policy. Autoloss can help the Washington Consumer in many ways. Call 877-655-1661 so Autoloss can help you recover your losses today. The statue of limitations for filing a diminished value claim in Washington is 3 years from the date of loss.