Diminished value (DV) is a hotly contested issue in the insurance industry. After your car is damaged in an accident, it may not hold the same resale value it did prior to the accident, even after repairs are performed. The difference in value is called diminished value, and insurance companies typically do not pay this expense unless you fight for it. In Oregon, a handful of statutes and court decisions may dictate the success of your diminished value claim.
Jose Gonzales v. Farmers Insurance Company of Oregon
In a decision filed Oct. 23, 2008, the Oregon Supreme Court stated that insurers in the state must return a vehicle to its pre-loss condition or, if unable to do so, must pay the difference in the vehicle's fair market value before and after the collision. The decision stated this would apply to all insurance policies that do not explicitly exclude diminished value as a covered loss. This applies to first-party claimants, or those people making DV claims against their own insurance policies.
ORS § 20.080
Oregon Statute § 20.080 applies to all small claims tort cases, but has an impact on diminished value claims. The statute declares that in some cases you are entitled to receive not only your DV settlement but also reasonable attorney's fees for the prosecution of the case. The amount of the claim must fall under a certain threshold. The threshold varies depending on several circumstances, including the date your case was filed.
Third-Party Diminished Value
According to the Insurance Consumer Advocate Network, it is generally accepted in all states, including Oregon, that you are entitled to receive a DV settlement if you are a third-party claimant. In other words, if you are not responsible for the collision that caused your vehicle to lose value, you can typically make a DV claim against the responsible party's insurance policy. You must still prove the lost value to the insurer's satisfaction.