Property Damage

Did your vehicle get crashed in the snow and ice storm? You Need to Know About Diminished Value..

The snow has been with us for a week now.  Roads are still littered with abandoned crashed vehicles.  Many of these vehicles appear to have minimal damage, but are stuck in deep snow and are difficult to get to.   Once the snow and ice melts these vehicles are going to flood local body shops.   Insurance companies are also going to be swamped with claims.   Many people will make only property damage claims.  If so, they may be leaving money on the table if they do not make a Diminished Value claim.    Below are some things you should know about Diminished value claims.

 

What is a Diminished Value Claim?  Diminished Value claims arise after a vehicle has been damaged by the negligence of another (usually a bad driver.)  The claim arises from the fact that a vehicle that has been in a crash is now worth less than a vehicle that has not been in a crash.   The diminished value is the difference between what the vehicle was worth before the crash and what the vehicle is worth now.

How Much Can I Get On A Diminished Value Claim?  The amount varies.   To determine the amount of the claim an expert will look at how much the car is worth immediately after the crash compared to how much it was worth immediately before the crash.   For example, a 2 day Bentley that was in a crash may be worth $120,000.00 before the crash and now it is only worth $80,000.00 after it has been repaired.  The diminished value claim would be $40,000.00.  However, things change if you change the type and the age of the vehicle.  Now picture a 1999 Ford F-150 that is barely running before the crash.   The truck maybe worth $1500.00 on a good day.  The truck is in a crash and professionally repaired, now it probably is worth roughly the same because it did not have much value to diminish in the first place.  

What Variables Affect The Amount I can Get From A Diminished Value Claim?  Each claim is unique, but usually vehicle make, model, year are important.  Also, the damage to the vehicle is important.  Whether or not OEM (Factory) parts were used is a variable that can be taken into account.  

How Is The Diminished Value Determined?  Experts are usually people that have worked in the automotive repair industry for years render an opinion regarding the diminished value.   They are usually paid a fee for their work and can provide you a report regarding their findings and the amount of the diminished value. Some Portland Oregon Body shops will offer to render a Diminished Value Opinion for a fee.

Who Do I Make A Diminished Value Claim To?    If you handle the claim yourself you should make the claim to the Insurer of the bad driver that damaged your car.  

The Insurance Company Says They Don't Recognize Diminished Value Claims?  I have heard from clients that attempted to make a diminished value claim that the bad driver's insurance company claims they don't recognize Diminished Value Claims.  That may be the case, but Oregon Law recognizes these as valid legal claims.  What this means is if the insurance company claims they are not going to pay out because they have a policy of not honoring diminished value claims you can file a lawsuit seeking damages for the diminished value.  You may also have a claim against the insurer that the Insurance Commissioner would be interested in investigating.  If you are making a claim against your own policy (uninsured motorist (think hit and run) or under-insured motorist) for diminished value then look at your insurance policy to determine if the policy covers diminished value.

My Diminished Value Claim Is Not Worth Much, Should I Pursue It?  It depends.  Some claims for diminished value may only be a couple of thousand dollars.  Usually these small claims are not filed because people believe the case is too small for an attorney to take.  However, Oregon has laws that enable attorney's to get paid on small cases under $10,000.00.   I have written a blog article on ORS 20.080 and if you have a small Diminished Value Case you should read the article and call me at 503.224.1658 if needed.

Do you Need to Fill Out a Form To Notify DMV if You Have a Car Crash In Oregon?-Link to DMV Form Attached

My wife and I were driving home yesterday on Mclaughlin Blvd near Holgate when we saw this:

 All Three Cars In Crash Should Fill Out DMV Form

All Three Cars In Crash Should Fill Out DMV Form

This was a three car rear end collision.  The vehicle in the back received the brunt of the damage.  Everyone looked as if they did not have any immediate serious injuries, and there was not any emergency personnel on scene.  This is exactly the type of crash that one driver may not report to the Oregon DMV, because they didn't think it was serious enough.  Most likely the driver in the car in the front, would not think to report the collision because their car had minimal visible damage.  However, this may be a mistake because the rear car was likely towed from the scene and had more than $1500.00 of property damage.  The information below should be useful to people like those involved in the crash above.

DRIVERS INVOLVED IN CRASH MUST FILL OUT THE OREGON TRAFFIC ACCIDENT AND INSURANCE REPORT IF:
1: Damage to your vehicle is over $1500.00
2: Any person is injured (even minor injuries)
3: Any person is killed
4: Damage to any person’s property is $1500.00
5: Any vehicle has damage over $1500.00 and any vehicle is towed from the scene because of crash.
— Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles

The DMV Accident and Insurance form is very self explanatory.  A link to DMV form 735-32 is here:

Do I Have To Fill Out the Insurance Information?  Yes, it is important to do so.  If you do not fill in the Insurance Information on the DMV form the DMV may consider you uninsured.

Where Do You Mail the DMV Form? After completing the DMV Accident Form you MUST Mail or FAX the form to Accident Reporting Unit, DMV, 1905 Lana Ave NE, Salem OR 97314.

Can I Fax The Accident form to the Oregon DMV?  Yes, as of today's date the fax number is 503-945-5267.

Can I Deliver the Form to a DMV Office?  Yes.

Do I Use the same DMV Accident Form (735-32) if I was driving a Commercial Vehicle?  Yes, but you also must fill out and file DMV Form 735-9229 (Motor Carrier Crash Report) within 20 days of the commercial vehicle crash.

If you, or someone you know, has been in an Oregon Car crash call me at 503.224.1658.  Ross Law is happy to address any questions you may have regarding the Oregon Accident and Insurance form.   Please remember the links and the law regarding forms are constantly changing.  PLEASE CALL A LAWYER and DO NOT RELY SOLELY ON THIS POST.  This post, this blog, and this web-site may be considered Attorney Advertising. 

Wrecked and Repaired Car Is Now Worth Less-10 Things to Know About Diminished Value in Oregon

As an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney I am often confronted with various issues that are caused by a car crash.   Dealing with insurance companies, trying to get medical bills paid, and trying to get lost wages paid are all pretty common.  However, there is also another claim that pops-up every so often.  This is the "diminished value claim."  

These claims are more and more common these days and should be pursued if the economics make sense.  There are numerous little nuances that should guide a person in considering filing a diminished value claim, but below are just a few things that should assist you:

What is a Diminished Value Claim?  Diminished Value claims arise after a vehicle has been damaged by the negligence of another (usually a bad driver.)  The claim arises from the fact that a vehicle that has been in a crash is now worth less than a vehicle that has not been in a crash.   The diminished value is the difference between what the vehicle was worth before the crash and what the vehicle is worth now.

How Much Can I Get On A Diminished Value Claim?  The amount varies.   To determine the amount of the claim an expert will look at how much the car is worth immediately after the crash compared to how much it was worth immediately before the crash.   For example, a 2 day Bentley that was in a crash may be worth $120,000.00 before the crash and now it is only worth $80,000.00 after it has been repaired.  The diminished value claim would be $40,000.00.  However, things change if you change the type and the age of the vehicle.  Now picture a 1999 Ford F-150 that is barely running before the crash.   The truck maybe worth $1500.00 on a good day.  The truck is in a crash and professionally repaired, now it probably is worth roughly the same because it did not have much value to diminish in the first place.  

What Variables Affect The Amount I can Get From A Diminished Value Claim?  Each claim is unique, but usually vehicle make, model, year are important.  Also, the damage to the vehicle is important.  Whether or not OEM (Factory) parts were used is a variable that can be taken into account.  

How Is The Diminished Value Determined?  Experts that are usually people that have worked in the automotive repair industry for years render an opinion regarding the diminished value.   They are usually paid a fee for their work and can provide you a report regarding their findings and the amount of the diminished value. Some Portland Oregon Body shops will offer to render a Diminished Value Opinion for a fee.

Who Do I Make A Diminished Value Claim To?    If you handle the claim yourself you should make the claim to the Insurer of bad driver that damaged your car.  

The Insurance Company Says They Don't Recognize Diminished Value Claims?  I have heard from clients that attempted to make a diminished value claim that the bad driver's insurance company claims they don't recognize Diminished Value Claims.  That may be the case, but Oregon Law recognizes these as valid legal claims.  What this means is if the insurance company claims they are not going to pay out because they have a policy of not honoring diminished value claims you can file a lawsuit seeking damages for the diminished value and may have a claim against the insurer that the Insurance Commissioner would be interested in investigating.

My Diminished Value Claim Is Not Worth Much, Should I Pursue It?  It depends.  Some claims for diminished value may only be a couple of thousand dollars.  Usually these small claims are not filed because people believe the case is too small for an attorney to take.  However, Oregon has laws that enable attorney's to get paid on small cases under $10,000.00.   I have written a blog article on ORS 20.080 and if you have a small Diminished Value Case you should read the article and call me at 503.224.1658 if needed.

 

Do Attorneys Represent People in Diminished Value Cases?  Yes, but it is not  always necessary.  Some claims may be viable small claims court actions.  However, the insurance company will likely attempt to remove the case from small claims.  I represent people with smaller diminished value claims.  See my  blog article  on small cases in Oregon for more information. 

How Do Attorneys Get Paid In Diminished Value Cases?    Most attorneys get paid on a contingency fee.  However it depends on the amount of the claim.   If there is a large amount of diminished value then it may make sense to pay an attorney hourly.  If their is a small diminished value claim that is risky the lawyer may want you to pay an hourly fee.   I take almost all diminished value cases on a contingency fee.  What that means is I do not get my attorney fees paid unless we win the case. 

Do Diminished Value Cases Apply To Bicycles? It may, but it depends.  A newer unique expensive bikes can be damaged in a small crash with a motor vehicle.  These often happen in minor crashes (For example if you were "doored" at a low speed.)     If the frame or other parts are  slightly bent, but the bike still functions there may be a viable diminished value claim.  However if the bike is a run of the mill off the shelf bike (think $1500.00 or less)  then most likely you are not going to have a viable diminished value claim.

Why Didn't You Answer My Question About Diminished Value Cases In Oregon?   As I said earlier, there are numerous issues that can arise in these cases.  Please Call me if you have a question.  Call Portland Personal Injury Law Firm Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.

If you or someone you know has been in a car crash and is injured or their car was damaged feel free to call me, Jeremiah Ross, at 503.224.1658 for your free personal injury or diminished value consultation.  Please remember the law is constantly changing and this blog post should not be used as a basis for filing a diminished value claim.  Please look at the law or discuss your case with an attorney.