Can I file a Diminished Value Claim In Ohio?
The short answer is YES.
In Ohio, the law is on your side, however the challenge is, as the claimant you have the burden of proof. The concept of diminished value is fairly simple, but proving how much you’ve lost can be subjective. That is why obtaining a Diminished Value Appraisal Report is helpful when presenting a claim to the other parties insurance company.
Ohio Diminished Value Law
Two appellate courts that have decided in favor of claimants bringing diminished value claims in Ohio are:
Braum v. Kinderdine, 2nd Dist. No. 26298, 2015-Ohio-696
Rakich v. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 172 Ohio App.3d 523, 2007-Ohio-3739, 875 N.E.2d 993 (10th Dist.)
5 Steps To Filing A Diminished Value ClaimIn Ohio
Get Your Vehicle Repaired First
You can’t file a diminished value claim until all the repairs have been completed. Make sure you’ve gotten your car back and you are satisfied will all of the repairs. Drive for a few days and pay attention to anything that doesn’t seem right. Make sure it looks, feels, sounds, and performs just as it did before the accident. If not, then take it back to the shop for an inspection. Be persistent and demand that everything is properly repaired.
Does your vehicle qualify for a diminished value claim?
Not every vehicle that’s been in an accident and then repaired will qualify for a viable diminished value claim, and every situation is different.
Here are some basic guidelines to determine if your vehicle may qualify:
Third Party Claim
The accident was not your fault. Most states allow you to recover diminished value if the accident was not your fault.
Generally, vehicles worth over $12,000 will qualify for a diminished value claim
No Prior Damage History
If your vehicle has been involved in a previous accident it may not qualify for a diminished value claim. Diminished value typically attaches itself to the first accident, but this isn't without exception. Single, or multiple prior incidents or accidents do decrease the likelihood of recoverable damage, however there are vehicles that still qualify for diminished value indemnification. If you’re not sure just contact us!
Age of Vehicle
Generally newer vehicles will suffer the greatest loss in value from an accident history. A vehicle older than 6 years may not qualify for diminished value, however this too is not always the situation. For example, a classic car, older luxury or specialty vehicle can still suffer a significant loss in value as result of an accident history.
The lower the mileage, the greater the potential diminished value is. Typically, vehicles fewer than 100k miles can potentially qualify for a diminished value claim.
Extent of Damage
The greater the damage, the greater the potential diminished value is. If your vehicle suffered minimal damage (less than $1,000) it may not have suffered significant diminished value worth pursuing.
Not every situation is the same and there are always exceptions. If you’re unsure if your vehicle qualifies please contact an expert to discuss your particular details!
You can also get a free claim review of your potential diminished value here:
CLICK HERE TO GET FREE CLAIM REVIEW!
Hire a professional appraiser to document the residual post-repair diminished value of your vehicle
Your appraisal report is only as good as the appraiser who writes it. Choosing the wrong appraiser can cause you financial harm. Hiring the right diminished value appraiser will ensure the best chance that you get a fair reimbursement for your loss.
Hiring an appraiser that is located in your region is important to do whenever possible. There are many national appraisal companies who are located outside of your area that may not have the ability to provide services beyond the appraisal report, if needed. Nobody wants to go to court, but if necessary, a local or regional appraiser can be available for that process. If you’re filing an Ohio Diminished Value Claim, then make sure your appraiser is located in Ohio as well.
Courts and governments require appraisals to be USPAP compliant. USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) is authorized by Congress as the source of appraisal standards and appraiser qualifications. It is important to hire an appraiser that is active and compliant with USPAP and familiar with the requirements set forth by that organization for professionalism.
Experience is key when paying for any professional service. When hiring an appraiser you’ll want to make sure that they specialize in diminished value claims. An appraiser actively doing Diminished Value claims will know the common tactics used by insurance companies, which will be an advantage in negotiating during your claims process. Every state has their own specific case laws regarding inherent diminished value. Ensure your appraiser is familiar with those state laws.
Always check for Google Reviews, if the company doesn’t have a Google Star rating or less than desirable reviews, this is a red flag. Personal service is the key to any good business transaction, no exceptions. Call your diminished value appraiser and ask to speak to them personally to discuss your specific situation since all differ.
Get Your Appraisal Report
Every diminished value appraisal report should include the following:
Professional & comprehensive report that complies with USPAP
Audit & analysis of repair bill
Detailed description and break down of the specific damages suffered
Pre-loss fair market value
Post accident, pre-repair value
Post Repair Market Value
Conclusion of inherent diminished value
Explanation for diminished value analysis & market forces
Comparative pre-loss vehicle values
Signed certification statement by your appraiser
Listing of certifications and credentials of your appraiser
Supporting data, vehicle history report, & repair documents from the body shop or damage estimate
*Ohio diminished value claims MUST include the post accident, pre-repair value. This is the market value of your vehicle right after the accident, but before repairs have been performed. Simply put, this is the value of your damaged vehicle as it sits before repairs. Since many diminished value appraisers work for companies that provide ‘Nationwide’ appraisal services, they are not familiar with Ohio’s specific case laws, and subsequently they almost never provide this value. Without this value included in your appraisal, your claim will likely be denied or have little merit in court.
Submit Your Appraisal Report & Formal Demand Letter
At this point there is more than likely an adjuster or agent who’s assisted with your body shop repairs thus far. This is whom you’ll file your claim with.
You will need to submit your formal demand to the at-fault parties insurance company by presenting your findings with notification that you expect them to pay for the financial damages you’ve suffered as a result of their insured damaging your vehicle. You can do this by providing your appraisal report along with a demand letter. Most appraisal companies can provide you with a free sample demand letter by request, or you can create one by yourself. I would suggest that your demand letter include some of the following information:
Date of the accident
Your vehicle and VIN
Amount of diminished value you expect them to pay (If the insurance has told you to obtain an independent appraisal, then ask for reimbursement of the appraisal cost as well)
A deadline date (7 days is appropriate)
A brief explanation outlining why your vehicle has lost value from the accident
A brief explanation that you’ve hired an independent expert appraiser to determine the loss in value that supports your claim.
Your signature, phone number, & email
Transmit the claim
You will need to transmit your appraisal report and formal demand letter. You can do this by sending both documents (Diminished Value Appraisal Report & Demand Letter) to the adjuster by email, certified mail, or fax with request for confirmation of receipt. Wait no more than two days after submitting your demand before making follow up calls or emails.
It’s best to make contact by phone to ensure the adjuster has received your demand, if you get a voicemail, leave a message and then follow up with an email.
Remember, insurance companies are great at using stall tactics to wear you down and dissuade you from pursuing your diminished value claim. If you’re not getting an immediate response, be persistent.
Once you’ve made contact, ask them to provide a written response regarding your claim.
Get Paid or Negotiate
In general, it’s no secret that insurance companies aren’t big fans of paying diminished value claims.
Every insurance company handles diminished value claims differently; it all depends on the company, the adjuster, and the office they work in. I’ve had many customers get paid their full demand without any issues, some customers have to negotiate and be persistent, and some have had to take it to the courts for a decision.
If you’ve gotten a written response, it will either be an offer of settlement, a request for more information, or a denial.
This is where professional assistance is crucial. When you hire Appraisal Wise, continued support is included in your appraisal fee. This is my business, and I make a commitment to defend my appraisal reports to the fullest extent. This is what separates the great appraisal companies from the crowd.
You CAN successfully settle a diminished value claim in Ohio, but you will likely need the help of a professional and qualified diminished value expert appraiser.
CLICK HERE TO GET A FREE CONSULTATION WITH APPRAISAL WISE!
The content of this blog post is not intended as legal advice. This content was intended as general information. We are not attorneys, and we do not attempt to give legal advice. If you have any legal questions, please consult a qualified attorney to help you.