888-DIMVALU OR 888-996-1970

Challenging Adjuster Demands for Unnecessary Information in Diminished Value Claims

When a vehicle is damaged due to the negligence of a third party, the concept of diminished value comes into play. Diminished value refers to the reduction in a vehicle’s market value post-repair, as compared to its value prior to the accident. In Louisiana, the legal framework for claiming diminished value is well-defined under §2800.17. However, disputes often arise between claimants and insurance adjusters regarding the evidence required to substantiate these claims. This article delves into the intricacies of diminished value claims, addressing common challenges and clarifying the legal requirements in Louisiana.

The Legal Framework: Louisiana Revised Statutes §2800.17

Louisiana law stipulates that the owner of a damaged vehicle is entitled to recover damages for the diminution in value if they can prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the vehicle’s market value post-repair is less than its value prior to the damage. The relevant statute, §2800.17, is clear in its provisions:

  • Proof of Diminished Value: The claimant must demonstrate that the vehicle’s market value, if repaired to its pre-loss condition, is less than its value before the accident.
  • Damages Cap: The total damages recovered cannot exceed the vehicle’s fair market value before the accident.
  • Preponderance of Evidence: The claimant must provide sufficient evidence to support their claim, adhering to the standard of preponderance of the evidence.

Challenges with Evidence: Sales Data and Comparable Vehicles

One of the primary issues faced by claimants is the adjuster’s demand for specific sales data to establish diminished value. However, Louisiana law does not mandate the provision of such data. Here’s why this demand is problematic:

  1. Inaccessibility of Detailed Sales Data: It is virtually impossible to obtain precise data on comparable vehicles with similar accident histories. Detailed information on exact selling prices and accident impacts is not readily available to the public.

  2. Limitations of Carfax Reports: Carfax reports often indicate a vehicle’s value after an accident but fail to provide its pre-accident value. This makes it challenging to ascertain the starting point for calculating diminished value. Additionally, the methods and sources used by Carfax to determine these values (such as JD Power or Kelley Blue Book) are not transparent.

  3. Arbitrary Demands by Adjusters: Some adjusters may make arbitrary refusals by insisting on prior sales listings or specific data that claimants cannot reasonably provide. Such demands are not supported by Louisiana law, which only requires the claimant to meet the preponderance of evidence standard.

Establishing Preponderance of Evidence

In Louisiana, the burden of proof in a diminished value claim lies with the claimant, who must substantiate their case based on the preponderance of the evidence. This standard is not subject to the opinions of adjusters but is determined by the weight of the evidence presented. Here are effective ways to establish this:

  • Assessments from Sales Managers: Engaging multiple sales managers from local dealerships to provide how much they would diminish the value of the repaired vehicle can provide substantial evidence.

  • Expert Appraisals: Professional appraisals from certified vehicle appraisers can serve as credible evidence, detailing the difference in market value pre- and post-accident.

Conclusion

Navigating diminished value claims in Louisiana requires a thorough understanding of the legal requirements and the evidentiary standards. Claimants should focus on gathering credible evidence, such as expert appraisals and testimonies, rather than getting entangled in the impractical demands for specific sales data. By adhering to the preponderance of evidence standard, claimants can effectively assert their rights under Louisiana law and counter any arbitrary demands from insurance adjusters.

For attorneys and claimants facing resistance from adjusters, it is crucial to highlight the statutory provisions and insist on a fair evaluation based on available and reasonable evidence. By doing so, claimants can secure the compensation they are entitled to for the diminished value of their vehicles.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney for specific legal guidance related to your situation.

Providing Diminished Value Appraisal Services in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama