WON Diminished Value Case in Van Nuys CA

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Yes! we won in Small Claims Court Civil Division Department P in Van Nuys, CA for the “Diminished Value”, in the amount of $10,000 plus court cost on March 12, 2019.

How did we do it?

Back in January I got a call from my client to write a “Diminished Value” report for his 2012 BMW 328i that had been rear ended when at a stop light by another driver.

I asked for the Estimate of Repair document to see the cost of repairs and it turned out to be over $17,000 in damages. I started to write the “Diminished Value” report that can be used in a court of law.

When I finished the “Diminished Value” report I sent it along with instructions on how to proceed.

First, my client had to send a Demand Letter to the Insurance Company of the driver that hit his car.  As expected, my client got a letter back from the Insurance Company that the claim was denied and the CA law does not have any such thing as “Diminished Value”.

Second, my client followed my instructions I sent him and filed a Small Claims law suit against the owner of the car that hit him and then got a court date to stand before a Judge.

On the day of trial I was with my client (Plaintiff) and we went inside the court room.  The owner of the car (Defendant) that hit my client’s car was in court with his Insurance Adjuster and we were asked to go outside and try to arbitrate.

The defendant’s insurance refused to arbitrate so we remained inside the court room to stand before the Judge.

The Plaintiff was called and he and I stood before the Judge. He told the Judge his Expert was with him and would like for me to speak about the “Diminished Value” and the Judge allowed me to speak.

First, the Plaintiff spoke about the accident and how it happened; he also stated the other driver admitted fault.

Now the Defendant’s Insurance Adjuster spoke and said, “Your Honor, he accepted the car’s repairs and he was satisfied and if he has any complaints he should return to the shop that did the repairs.” Then he also stated we had to prove loss of value and later when I spoke I did.

The Defendant reminded the Judge he was not in the court about the repairs but about the loss of money when reselling or trading the car in. The Judge asked me to explain the report and the formula I use to show “Diminished Value”. After I finished explaining the report and my findings and how I come to the loss of value which was far more than he can ask for which was over $17,000.

The Judge had another question for me, how to show structural damage.  I explained with a very simple and easy to understand of how this was, with that the Judge said, “One side here today will not like my judgement but it is final.”

After five days my client called me with excitement; we won the “Diminished Value” case for the full amount of $10,165.  This is the maximum allowable damage he can ask for plus court cost in a small claims court of law in CA.

I have been writing “Diminished Value” reports for law firms in NV and CA going on 8 years now, but mostly in superior court for attorneys.  This was my first small claims case on my own and we won that all my client was allowed to ask for.

If you have been in a car accident not your fault you are entitled to get “Diminished Value” and you can get it; it takes a little time but worth every minute you spend on.

You can contact me by way of e-mail and I will be willing to help you as well. Don’t let the Insurance Adjuster make you back down with their lies, telling you it is not allowed or you don’t have a claim because your car is fixed, that is a cover in hope you will back down and they win. Help is here and here to stay.

Feel free to contact me anytime because you can WIN in small claims court for “Diminished Value”. This case can be verified.  Tell a friend and get paid what is owed to you.

Thank you,

Jackie Winters

Lemon Protection

 

 

Lemon Law case WON for Honda Brake Concerns

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I had a Lemon Law case for brake concerns a few years back for a Honda Odyssey not stopping as soon as they should and locking up at other times.  I got a call from the customer who had been referred to me by their Lemon Law Attorney here in Los Angeles.

I set a time to inspect the vehicle for the customer and drove out to Redlands, California on a Saturday morning. The weather was clear and the roads were dry. I photoed the Honda Odyssey Van and did a walk around checking for damages as I always do and the van was very well maintained. I checked all fluid levels and inspected under the van for leaks at each wheel and then the ABS Anti-lock Brake System the Hydraulic Control unit and the Brake Master Cylinder. I photo the Van under side and brake parts, the VIM number and odometer before and after the road test, this is normal operation when inspecting a vehicle.

I did observe moisture at the Hydraulic Control Unit which made me to be extra cautious and photographed that moisture at the Hydraulic Control Unit and would be extra cautious during my road test. This brakes system is what the main concerns were when the customer complained about to the dealership for not stopping as it should and locking up the wheels at times.

I road tested the vehicle several miles as I do all vehicles and found the brakes at times in the rear would lock up as well as observed brake fading when holding the brakes down to stop, this is not normal operation. I finished the inspection and advised the customer to return to the dealership and show them the moisture at the Hydraulic Control Unit so she would be able to show the dealership Technician.

I returned to my office an did my research on ALLDATA for Technical Service Bulletins to see if Honda had published any Bulletin for the Technician could apply that to the problems on the vehicle.  There were no recalls but there was one Technician Service Bulletin on the brakes for brake leaking at the Hydraulic Control Unit and I was stunned to see what the repair was on this Odyssey Van. The Technician Service Bulletin actually had the Technician apply sealer to the leak at the Hydraulic Control Unit, my thought was this cannot be right because sealer will not hold on a Hydraulic control Leak.

I did my report and used that Technical Service Bulletin to show Honda knew about a brake problem with this New Honda Odyssey but the repair was not what I expected because sealer will not hold pressure or stop a leak in the brake system.

Several months later I was subpoenaed to be on the witness stand to show the Jury my finding as well as Video and Photo’s I had made during my inspection and explained how this brake system works and why sealer was not a good repair for it, it was unsafe and should not have been repaired under this Technician Service Bulletin. After my testimony the Technician for Honda disputed what I said and said the sealer was a good repair for this part. The Jury disagreed with his stamen and took the evidence I had and we won the case all the way across. The customer got a full buyback from Honda and the attorney’s fees and expert witness fees were paid.

The fact is brakes are a safety issue when not working properly which will include brake squealing noise when stopping, grabbing, groaning noise, pulling to one side, fading, vibrating when stopping, not slowing down or pulsating when stopping.

You can win in a lemon law case as long as you have it together, this customer had good records showing she had complained several times for her complaints and the fact is the factory will not make repairs unless it is a proven defect and repair attempts were made several times.  When a repair is made under the Factory Defect Warranty it is because it was verified and repair attempts were made. The Lemon Law applies to New and Used or Certified Pre-Owned vehicles.

Thank you and please pass it on if you like,

Jackie Winters

Lemon Protection@yahoo.com

800-700-0109

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“WARNING ADD OIL” or “WARNING GO TO SHOP”

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Have you read what Consumer Report are saying about Oil Consumption?

Consumer Report is saying to add oil between oil changes is not normal.

I have been telling the driver of BMW, Porsche and Audi that very same thing for years, so let me give you some more direction that may help you understand better about oil consumption as well as other question you will want to ask your dealer when buying or getting repairs made.

There are a lot of good thing added to the new vehicle on sale today, the Navigation system with backup and side cameras; the Blue Tooth phone system, the adjustable mirrors, the i-pod features and the heated seats and Turbo Chargers for extra power just to name a few of the additions.

I want to give you some question you should ask in hope to help protect yourself when making a purchase. I will start with the extended warranty and what things to ask for followed by some things you may experience that may be called normal.

First off when the salesperson wants to sell you an extended warranty the cost is negotiable, if they say no, tell them you will go elsewhere to but your vehicle. When you buy that extended warranty be sure it covers SEALS and GASKETS, if that is not in a warranty, it is useless papers. A leaking engine or transmission will cause a warranty to be voided if it is not fixed. If you don’t have that seals and gasket warranty coverage and your engine or transmission goes out you are out of luck on repairs, the warranty will not apply.

Be sure the warranty covers A/C and Electrical Wiring as well and be sure to read all in the contract before you sign it. One rule of thumb is be sure to read anything you ask for and they say is covered, if they say A/C, Electrical, Seals and Gaskets are covered, be sure read it.

ADDING OIL EVERY 750 TO 1000 MILES IS NOT NORMAL FOR ANY VEHICLE.

Another question you need to be concerned about and ask is “Will I have to stop and add additional engine oil between oil changes”. Some of the new High-End vehicle are having to have addition oil added ever 750 to 1,000 miles.

Some oil cost as much as $15 a quart, over the driven miles of a high-end Turbo Charged vehicle of 100,000 miles you may spend as much as $5,000 extra for additional engine oil because of oil burning. If oil is needed you must add it so you don’t burn the engine up, that’s 333 extra quarts of additional oil or 47 oil changes you never got, just because your engine is burning oil. There is one exception of the High End vehicle engine burning oil.

The GM Corvette is a high performance engine and from my experience I have had no Corvette owners ever tell me they have had to add additional oil between oil changes. Other new car dealership are selling high-end vehicle not as powerful as the Corvette and their owners are having to add oil between 750 and 1,000 miles of driving, why, because they are burning oil.

Some of the dealership personal is telling the customers it is normal for the engine to burn oil because of the High Performance Engine runs at higher temperatures. That is the biggest box of crock you will hear, no it is not normal for an engine to burn oil.  One of my customers told me she went into the dealership on average of every 750 miles; she said her “Warning Add Oil” would come on. When she went in they added a quart of oil every time, she was told it is normal and no RO was needed because it was a good will gesture.

A repair order receipt of the free quart of oil they add every time the customer comes in with a “Warning Add Oil” light on should be written up and given.

I have built and worked on thousands of engine over the years and I assure you it is not normal for any vehicles engine to burn oil, high performance or not.

One thing to remind you of and that is on the New and CPO Automobiles and Trucks the lemon law applies to all of them with a warranty. It is up to you the buyer to keep all records when going to get repairs of any kind even if they call it a good will gesture. Vehicle purchased that has passed accident damage is also covered under the Fraud laws and they will apply, if you buy and get the papers later that shows the vehicle was in an accident when you were told it has not, don’t worry you may be covered as well.

If that new or CPO vehicles is having problems with engine oil burning or electronics concerns, the lemon law can be used all at no cost to you the consumer. If an attorney takes your case you will not pay because he will be the one to settle your case, the attorney fees will be included so you don’t have to pay.

I have listed the names of a few attorneys that a lot of my customers have used for their cases over the years and have been settled to their satisfaction.

To remind you, I am not an attorney but work with attorney law firms as their Technical expert and have been used in trial 45 time and deposition over 500 times and have never been impeached. I am not qualified to give legal advice and do not give legal advice.

Good Luck and if you have any question please ask, tell a friend.

How To Inspect A Used Car

      If you follow this step by step simple instruction you will have a better chance of getting a good used vehicle. Beware, some people will purchase vehicle from auto auction and repair it and some of the vehicles have not been reported as having accident damage. When you see the vehicle you want, look it over and take notes. The notes you took will remind you of the entire thing you will need to seek information about before you pay the cash. Also beware of buying from E-Bay, I once sold a car on E-Bay and the buyer sent me a certified Bank of America check but the amount was $2,000 more than I wanted. I called the buyer and he said I am sorry I sent you over payment and if you don’t mind just cash the check and send the difference back to me. I felt suspicious and went to B of A and they told me the check was forged and not real. I called the person back and he really got mad, I told him I will turn the check over to the FBI. I just saved myself $2,000, so be very careful, if you do accept a check from anyone you must insist they wait at least 30 days for the check to clear and be cleared. One story I heard was a person waited two weeks and then sent back the over payment and then one week later was told the postal money order he cashed was forged, so be very careful.

1) Do a CarFax and/or a CarCheck to look for unseen accident damage.

2) Inspect the vehicle or have it inspected by a certified mechanic with a written report.

3) Look at the vehicle for oil, water and any fluid leaks and write the area down.

4) Check all lights for operation as well as all electrical working parts, including the seats and cigarette lighter.

5) Check for broken parts and worn rubber parts.

6) Feel of the hoses for soft spots and look for cracks or damage.

7) Look at the body parts where they meet for proper alignment, the parts lines must be equal on all places like the left and right fender should align with the hood front to back and be at the same height.

8) Look at the tires for uneven wear, edge wear, feathering and knots is a suspension and alignment issue, be sure to look at the front and rear because sometimes a person will put the rear on the front to make it look better and to hide a problem..

9) Look at the radiator for rust, the coolant should be green on older cars and red on newer cars, rust is a sign of poor maintenance and will likely show up as a leak later after you drive for awhile.

10) Check the engine oil it should be clean and dark black is a sign of lack of poor maintenance, also look under the oil fill cap before and after you road tested the vehicle, look for a milk color a sign of an internal coolant leak (very costly repair).

11) Check the transmission fluid for smell, it smells burned then it likely has a transmission slippage problem, the fluid should be bright red, look for leaks as well.

12) Check the power steering it should be at the full line.

13) Check the brake fluid and see if it is low, low fluid may indicate worn brake pads or a leak, if it is low look at the inside wheel at the brake caliper for brake pad wear, if the pads are good look at the rear of the brake booster for paint peeling, a sign of a leaking brake master cylinder, another place to look is at the inside floor area for wetness of brake fluids another sign of a leaking brake master cylinder.

14) Step on the brake pedal and see if it sinks to the floor, if it does under a firm pressure then a brake master cylinder is likely the cause (a safety issue).

15) If all check out so far then move on to start the engine and then watch and listen.

16) You be best to have another person with you when you start the engine, have him stand behind the car/truck and when you start it look for smoke, blue is oil burning even if only for a second, black smoke is too much gas another smog related concern and white if goes away in a few minutes is water and is OK but a long and steady white smoke is internal leakage of coolant.

17) Listen to the engine for a knocking sound, if it goes away and then stops knocking there is worn bearings and a possible repair will be needed sooner than later, a steady knock can be lifters, tappets and or rod or main bearing knocks a certified pro can tell you what it is.

18) If at all possible have a shop run a scan for trouble codes that may have been erased and write down all the code numbers (the internet will tell you what they mean).

19) Watch for engine light, an engine light is a warning something is wrong, an ABS is a warning the brakes have a problem and the SRS warning is a sign the air bags have a problem be watchful when you drive and when you start the engine. All warning lights will come on when you start the engine for up to 6 seconds and then go off if all is well.

18) Pay attention on how smooth the engine runs both in P and D/R gears, a rough running engine that jerks or stalls is not good and an engine warning light will likely be on.

19) Be aware of how the transmission engages when you put it into gear on automatics, the transmission should engage with a soft feel and when it shifts it should be soft as well (not jerk hard), when you drive the transmission should not vibrate when moving from a stop or up-shifting or downshifting (a concern to worry about), if the transmission shifts smooth and no vibration or jerking is felt then it is likely OK.

20) For a stick shift transmission, the transmission should go into gears without a grind (a grind is a gear concern and expensive repair). When pulling away from a stop it should be smooth and not jerk or chatter, both are a sign of a worn or defective clutch (a costly repair), there should not be any noise when driving as well.

21) Stopping is important, listen for squeaking, grinding and vibration when stopping are all signs of brake problems (have a pro check it for you to be safe).

22) CAUTION: THIS IS A TEST FOR PROFESSIONAL ONLY, because a person may get run over or you may have an accident if you try this test. Steering is also a concern if your Technician finds a problems, he should check for wobble and or vibration at high speed 40mph plus, he should check for alignment pull or drift to one side, he would check the alignment for drift or pull, he will need to go to speeds of 25mph on a flat road and be sure there is plenty of room, he should hold his hands a few inches away from the wheel and let go, he should count to 1thousand1, 1thousand2, 1thousand3, 1thousand4, 1thousand5 and 1thousand6 if the vehicle drifts to one side or the other before that time limit then an alignment issue is likely there and he will know that, he should also inspect the tires before the road test for proper pressure (see door panel for proper pressure) as well as for uneven spots like tire separation.

23) Listen for clunking noise when turning and braking, a sign of suspension and or brake concerns and will cause alignment issues.

If you are going to purchase a new vehicle then I would suggest you get the book “Lemon Protection Identifying A Lemon” on Amazon.com, it is a very helpful book and small in size but filled with information. I will also publish the book “Lemon Protection How to Inspect a Used Vehicle” and “Lemon Protection Communicating With Your Mechanic” in the next few weeks and it will also be on Amazon.com. Thank you for your time and God bless you, please refer or tell a friend if you like this write up.