Diminished Value in Nebraska?

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My husband was rear ended while stopped at a light in Papillion, Nebraska in August 2012. We had over $4,800.00 in damages to the rear end area of his vehicle after the insuance and body shop completed work. We chose to use our insurance with a subrogated claim since the other driver's insurance company did not offer a lifetime warranty for the work. We have had the car valued by the local dealer, who also used's instant sale portion for values, to obtain the pre accident and post accident values. The difference in trade-in values was $3,370.00. The 3rd party insurance informed us that there is no such thing as diminished value, however, the guaranteed trade-in value was only affected by the $4,800.00 in bodywork done to the vehicle. Who is right? Our insurance says there is a diminished value while the other insurance says there is not. I understand under state law there is no first party diminished value but I thought 3rd party applied under Tort law.

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You can google to see if you can find information about "diminished value" being recoverable in NE. Obviously, it's erroneous to suggest that such a thing doesn't exist, but that's a different question from whether or not it is recoverable. The reason is that it's completely speculative. You weren't on your way to a dealer to trade-in the car when the accident happened, were you? If not, then the $3,370 difference isn't really a good measure of your potential damage, right?

A couple of examples: Let's say someone pays you $3,370 for "diminished value" but you never trade-in or sell your car because six months from now, it is destroyed by a meteorite. In such a case, you never actually suffered the damage in question, so you were paid for damage you never suffered. Or, let's say that you keep your car for another 20 years and that, at that time, the diminution of the car's fair market value because of the accident in question is only $25. In such a case, for only $25 worth of damage, you not only received $3,370, but you also had the ability to invest that money and earn potentially millions of dollars in return.

Those sorts of things are why resistance exists to the notion of paying "diminished value." You're not going to hold onto the money and give some of it back if you don't actually suffer the damage, are you? Why not have the money deposited into an account that is held in trust, to be paid to you only when and if you can show sufficient evidence of the damage? Because of the second possibility mentioned above, why shouldn't you get $25 discounted to present value based on the expected inflation rate between now and 2032?

Anyhow, it may well be that you can recover the $3,370, but you'll have to do some research and/or hire a NE lawyer to research it for you or file a small claims suit.

P.S. It should be the body shop, not the insurer that warranties the work.

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