It is important to fully understand your rights after you sustain property damage in a car accident in Nebraska. This includes the right to receive full compensation for your damaged or totaled automobile from an insurance company – including the diminished value of your car due to the crash. The State of Nebraska allows for diminished value claims, meaning you have the right to recover compensation for lost property value.
What Is a Diminished Value Claim?
Being involved in a car accident will not only result in costly repairs but diminish the monetary value of a motor vehicle, as well – even after the car is repaired. The fact that the vehicle was involved in an accident is enough to negatively impact its resale value. If you were not at fault for the car accident that damaged your vehicle, you should not have to pay for the reduced value of your car.
In Nebraska, specific laws are in place to allow crash victims to recoup this type of loss. It is called a diminished value claim. After a vehicle collision, you have the right to request financial compensation for the diminished or depreciated value of your vehicle. If your claim succeeds, a car insurance company will owe you the difference between what your vehicle was worth before the accident and what it is worth now.
The insurance company that is responsible for paying a diminished value claim depends on which driver caused the crash. Nebraska operates on a fault-based insurance system, meaning the driver that is most at fault for causing the crash has to pay for the damage. If the other driver caused your wreck through distracted driving, reckless driving, drunk driving or another type of tort, his or her insurance company may be financially responsible for your property damage and the diminished value of your vehicle.
Types of Diminished Value
There are three different types of diminished value. The first is inherent, also known as stigma damage or residual diminished value. It means that your vehicle is inherently worth less because it was involved in an accident. Even if it has been repaired, a buyer may not want to choose your car over another vehicle that has never been in an accident. This is the most common type of diminished value.
Immediate diminished value refers to the difference in the value of the vehicle immediately after the accident compared to what it was worth before the wreck. It is the value of the car before any repairs have been made. Repair-related diminished value is a loss in the value of a vehicle due to low-quality repairs, such as replacement parts that are not from the original equipment manufacturer.
How to Handle a Diminished Value Claim
To seek financial compensation for diminished vehicle value after a car accident in Nebraska, you must file a claim specifically for this type of loss with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. First, you will need to get the value of your vehicle appraised by a professional. This will give you an expert opinion on how much its value has been impacted by the accident. Then, you or your car accident attorney can submit a claim or send a demand letter to an insurance company requesting compensation for this amount.
For example, if your vehicle was worth $10,000 before the accident but is now worth an estimated $7,500 due to inherent diminished value, you have the right to request the difference ($2,500) from the at-fault driver’s insurance company to make up for this loss. Once you file a claim, the insurance company will perform its own calculation to determine your payout. If you do not agree with the insurance company’s calculation, you can hire a lawyer to help you negotiate a higher settlement or take your car accident case to trial.