According to the Press Release below by the Supreme Court, First Party Diminished Value Claims are valid in Oregon. What does that mean to you? You may be able to claim Diminished Value, even if you were at fault. It can come down to the verbiage of your policy. Here’s the Press Release:
Jose Gonzales v. Farmers Insurance Company of Oregon, et al., (TC 9910-11479)
(CA A128598) (SC S054486)
On review from the Court of Appeals in an appeal from the Multnomah
County Circuit Court, Frank L. Bearden, Judge. 210 Or App 54, 150 P3d 20 (2006). The
decision of the Court of Appeals is affirmed. The judgment of the circuit court is
reversed, and the case is remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings. Opinion
of the Court by Justice Robert D. Durham.
Today, the Oregon Supreme Court interpreted a collision insurance policy
and concluded that that particular policy’s use of the term “repair” obligated the insurer to
restore a damaged insured vehicle to its condition prior to the collision, or to compensate
the insured for any reduction of the vehicle’s value resulting from the collision.
Defendants Farmers Insurance Company of Oregon, Farmers Insurance
Exchange, Farmers Group, Inc., and Mid-Century Insurance Company issued an
automobile insurance policy to plaintiff Jose Gonzales. Plaintiff’s vehicle suffered
damage in an accident, and defendants paid for repairs, but the repairs did not restore the
vehicle to its pre-accident condition. Plaintiff filed suit against defendants to recover
compensation for the diminished value of his vehicle. Defendants acknowledged that the
policy obligated them to “repair or replace” the vehicle, but argued that the term “repair”
did not incorporate a duty to pay for a loss in value. The trial court agreed, and granted
summary judgment to defendants. The Court of Appeals reversed and held that, under
the terms of the policy, defendants were obligated to compensate plaintiff for his
vehicle’s diminution in value due to the accident.
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