Tuesday, 28 October 2008 09:41

Insurers May Pay Millions Owed to Oregon Consumers

Diminished Value Case Law

The October 23rd, 2008 Oregon Supreme Court decision supporting Oregon policyholders in collecting diminished value could solve other auto damage/repair related concerns as well. Oregon has joined the growing list of states which agree that policyholders are entitled to the loss (diminished) value of their vehicles when repairs do not fully restore the pre-loss value of their vehicle!  Post Repair Inspections professionals across the country applaud the decision and applaud the consumer’s perseverance in seeing this matter through to conclusion.

The case supported an automotive policyholder who believed his insurance company not only owed for repair of the damages but also owed him for the loss in value his vehicle suffered as a result of the accident. The State’s Supreme Court agreed enabling thousands of Oregon residents to seek recovery for their loss related Diminished Value, possibly for as far back as 1993!

Most consumers believe that once a vehicle is wrecked, regardless of how well it’s repaired, their vehicle will likely never perform or be worth what it was before the damage. The old adage “It’ll Never Be the Same Again” comes to mind. “Perception Becomes Reality!” A damaged and repaired vehicle is indeed worth less than that of an identical vehicle which has no history of damage. The resulting loss in value is known as Diminished Value (DV) and can amount to thousands of dollars in lost value and is generally incurred regardless of how well a vehicle is repaired.

The only thing worse than losing value in one of your most costly investments because of an accident is to learn the ensuing repairs were not done properly. Not only do consumers suffer billions of dollars annually in inherent diminished value, they suffer billions more in additional loss in value due to poor repairs. Even worse, they and their families are all too often placed in unsafe vehicles to be sent down our nation’s roadways. It’s like automotive Russian roulette!

David Smith of Auto Damage Experts (ADE) in Beaverton, Oregon states that in a report to legislatures, it was determined that approximately 90% of all collision repairs made to consumer’s vehicles failed to meet a minimum standard of safety and quality repair. Of these, 49% involved some form of fraud. Those are startling numbers, especially considering number of private and commercial/fleet vehicles nationwide!

From his experience, few vehicles he’s inspected have been repaired to pre-loss condition to the best of human ability and many have remaining significant flaws and defects.

“At Auto Damage Experts, a proper Diminished Value assessment includes a comprehensive inspection of the repaired vehicle”: Smith says. “This not only offers piece of mind to the consumer, but instills accountability for both repairers and insurers alike.” “Beware of those who offer a diminished value report without a physical inspection of the vehicle, not only can they not determine the quality and thoroughness of a repair, such so-called expert opinions may not stand up under the scrutiny of a paying insurer.”

“When it comes to the safety and economic welfare of one’s family, a post repair inspection is not expensive….It’s Priceless!” says Smith.

For more information on this valued and important service contact:
David Smith, VP, NW Operations (503) 642-4259
Auto Damage Experts: Removing Doubts…Not Dents!!”