TESLA DIMINISHED VALUE CLAIMS
Electric vehicles represent a fascinating advance in automotive technology. Though the concept has been around for a while, it has only really caught on in the last 20 years or so. Tesla represents perhaps the largest manufacturer of these electric cars, and they have become a common sight on roadways in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Unfortunately, they are battling the same traffic as the rest of us, and like other drivers, they have a high risk of being involved in car accidents that were not the driver's fault.
If you own a Tesla, and have been involved in an automobile accident that was not your fault, you may have a claim for damages, even if there was no personal injury claim. This claim is known as diminished value.
What is Diminished Value
Diminished value is a calculation of the difference between a vehicle's value before a motor vehicle accident, and it's value after a motor vehicle accident, after all repairs have been completed.
By the mere fact of being in an accident, a vehicle loses some of its natural value. Of course, accidents are reported on Carfax and other monitoring platforms. A person who owns a vehicle suffers this loss in the value of the car that they have paid for, because regardless of the post-accident value of the vehicle, your monthly car payments do not change. The amount that the financing company needs to be repaid does not change!
You as a vehicle owner have to be very careful in speaking with insurance companies, because they will sometimes agree to repair your vehicle and have you sign a release - these releases can sometimes waive your diminished value claim!
Tesla diminished Value Computation
Because of the inherent expense of buying a brand new Tesla, these vehicles are considerably expensive. This results in a higher than average diminished value computation. The loss in value of even 10%, simply because of the underlying numbers, is usually higher than a regular gas powered vehicle of equivalent age and mileage.
How to Determine Whether There Is a Diminished Value Claim
In order to determine whether or not your Tesla has a diminished value claim, the vehicle needs an independent certified appraisal after all repairs are completed. This appraisal is done by a professional vehicle appraiser, who has experience in Computing the loss value. This loss value is based on a lot of calculations, that factor in regional values and costs. For example, what a Tesla's value would be in Philadelphia, it's not the same as its value here in Northern Virginia, or Prince George's County.
Pitfalls of Diminished Value Claims.
One of the biggest problems that we see is that vehicle owners will come to us with an online, computer generated diminished value report. These reports are usually generated by AI software, or by a human in some other jurisdiction looking at the documents and doing a diminished value appraisal based on pictures alone. The car insurance companies do not place much value on these reports.
Additionally, the insurance companies know that it is going to cost the vehicle owner too much money to fly in an appraiser from Los Angeles or some other locale who did their online evaluation. The insurance companies will bring their own, local appraiser to defend the case, and we have found that a judge is more likely to give credence to the testimony of someone that he can actually see in the courtroom.
In order to avoid this, we recommend that everyone who has a diminished value claim, have an in-person local appraisal performed. There are a number of local auto appraisers in the DMV, and these appraisers, because they are local, will cost less to bring to court to testify to a report, if litigation is necessary.
How a Diminished Value Case Works
Our office has a streamlined process for reviewing, evaluating, and litigating diminished value claims.
Call Blaszkow Legal. We will review the matter, and if you do not already have a Diminished Value appraisal done, we will direct you in how to obtain one.
Review the Report. The diminished value appraisal will result in a comprehensive report, and we will determine if the case is something that we would handle. There are diminished value claims that we turn down, not because the claim is not meritorious, but because the client would end up spending more money on an attorney, than the client would recover themselves.
Negotiate. We reach out to the insurance company and open a dialogue via a demand letter, which sets forth our position. Either they negotiate in good faith, or we have to reconsider our options
Litigate. If the at-fault insurance company does not wish to negotiate, or does not reach an amount that is acceptable to our client and recommended by us, then we proceed to file a lawsuit.
Reminder: We still have to prove the facts!
If we have to file a lawsuit, and litigate to obtain your recovery, we remind all clients that we still have to prove the facts of the accident. Unfortunately, we see some clients who come to us with a description of the vehicle that caused their accidents, and maybe even in exchange of insurance information. However the insurance information does not confirm or verify who the at-fault driver is. Your claim is against the driver of the vehicle who is negligence caused your accident. It is not against the vehicle owner. We have to prove who was driving that vehicle.
If you own a Tesla, and have been involved in an accident that was not your fault, call Blaszkow Legal today for a free consultation see whether you have a diminished value claim - 703-879-5910