Sometimes, car accidents may be extreme. This happens more often than most people would anticipate. Apart from the intense pain and suffering that results due to these injuries, the financial pressures are also a cause of great concern. What attorneys say is a totaled car?
Of the two, financial damages are always much easier to understand and dissect. This is because you can simply sum up the monetary losses. However, there is one complication in this area as well, and that arises when the victim's car gets totaled as a result of the accident.
Before moving onto this whole totaled mess and how it will play into your property damage claim, you need to understand that seeking financial compensation for your economic and non-economic losses from the insurance company of the at-fault party is a convoluted process with many pitfalls and traps along the way.
To secure fair monetary compensation, you must get in touch with professional car accident lawyers who'll fill in all the gaps in your case and see to it that justice is done.
What Attorneys Say Is A Totaled Car? What Does “Totaled” Even Mean?
If the crash was pretty bad, your car may have suffered severe damages and become a “total loss,” often shortened as simply “totaled.” This means that the cost of repairs for your vehicle may exceed a certain percentage of the actual cost of your car making it a poor financial decision to hang onto it.
Of course, “totaled” does not necessarily mean complete wreck, your car may, in theory, be fixable, it simply wouldn't make much sense to go ahead with it. The decision to call a total loss is upon the insurance company, but you can also weigh in here.
The usual practice regarding totaled cars is that the insurance company will pay you the cost of the vehicle as it was before the accident. This part is a bit tricky, but we will explore ways to ensure that you are not treated unfairly in this regard.
Totaled cars are not that rare in auto accident cases. After all, collision damage at high speed (even if only one of the colliding cars was at a high speed) can be devastating. While the passengers inside may survive, albeit with severe physical trauma, the car will most likely not make it.
This is especially true for major accidents such as car-truck accidents, head-on collisions, and high-speed crashes.
Thus, you will have to settle for a sum that compensates you for the value of the car, rather than going through with the repairs.
However, to ensure that your legal rights are not violated and that you get a fair sum for your losses, it is advisable to get in touch with experienced car accident attorneys as soon as possible.
How Is the “Actual Cash Value” Calculated For Totaled Cars?
The actual cash value, or ACV, is an estimate of the price of the vehicle in the condition that it was before the accident happened. Depending on how old your vehicle was and how well it was running, this sum will vary. You can expect some foul play from the insurance company here, but with the help of a reputable car accident lawyer, you may get them to pay a more reasonable sum.
Usually, this amount is lesser than the actual repair costs for the vehicle, although this only applies in cases where the vehicle is in very bad shape.
The claim process is mostly speculative at this stage, although some investigation elements may also factor in. You can tip scales in your favor by providing records of maintenance work and other pieces of evidence, i.e. pictures of the vehicle as it was before the crash, year of purchase, whether there were any problems with it before the accident, and so on.
Don't go ahead with such delicate matters on your own, instead, have your auto accident lawyer represent you and demand adequate compensation on your part.
What To Do When Your Car Is Totaled?
You may not have to be told by the insurance company to know that your car has been totaled. If it is a complete wreck then there should not be any doubt about it. You'll have to go through a couple of steps to make sure that things go smoothly for you:
1. Take Out Your Personal Belongings
You may have some important documents and other personal effects in the car. Based on the details of your case, you may not get the chance to see your car again. It is thus best that you take this stuff out as soon as you can do so. If your car had a dash-cam and a rear-cam, you will want to get your hands on them immediately as they might contain information valuable to your case.
2. Report The Accident To The Police
All states within the USA require accident victims to immediately report such a happening to the police, even in the case of a minor car accident. The police reports will not only add credibility to your claims but also provide a documented proof that the accident did happen. Of course, it is also a requirement for auto insurance companies. Thus, the earlier on you let police into the loop, the faster you'll be able to move things on with the insurance company.
Since car accident settlements can take some time to pull through, you have little room for delaying things.
3. Take Your Car To A Repair Shop For Examination
As mentioned earlier, if your car is a total wreck then there is no doubt regarding the “totaled” thing, however, if you're not sure about it, there's a lot you can do. The insurance company may have a preference for certain auto repair shops (it is a 'trust' thing), seek out this information, and then have your vehicle towed to one of these spots.
This way, if the mechanic says that the car is totaled, the insurer will be bound to agree.
The shop may not charge a storage fee (since it is hooked with the insurance company), and with the element of trust added into the equation, the whole claims process will proceed at a much faster pace.
4. Research On Your End To See If The Insurer Is Offering A Fair Deal
Aggressive insurance adjusters rarely offer sums that make up for the losses of their clients. This applies to both your economic and non-economic damages, and the totaled car issue is no different. It is very much possible that the first offer from the claim's adjuster turns out to be fair and favorable for you, in which case you should accept it.
But never assume that this is the case.
Ideally, you should get auto accident attorneys involved, as soon as possible, in this mess to ensure that everything is fair and square. But for the sake of argument, let's say that this is not the case with you. In that case, you'll have to do some homework of your own and see if the compensation being offered for your losses is adequate.
You'll have to compare it with what is normally expected in cases like yours.
What Can You Expect For A Totaled Car?
There can be no generalizations when it comes to the compensation for a totaled car under automobile insurance policies. This is because the sum will vary depending on several factors. The make and model of your car, the age, the condition, and the market value of similar vehicles – these are the factors that the insurance adjuster will look for when offering you a sum.
Since the auto insurance providers are doing a business based on profitability, you can expect some foul play here. Your best bet is to look up the fair market prices of similar vehicles – this will give you a rough estimate of what to expect.
Usually, the settlement (insurance money) for totaled cars is through monetary compensation rather than car replacement. And this actual cash value will reflect the monetary value of your vehicle as it was before the accident happened.
It would benefit you immensely to get some experienced attorneys on board on this whole matter so that you can secure fair compensation for your losses, as per the insurance policy.
Exploring Your Options
You are not legally bound to accept the sum offered by the claim's adjuster. If you feel as if the compensation sum is inadequate and fails to address your economic and non-economic needs, then you can refuse to accept it. The insurer may be willing to bend your way, even if a little, if your case has a solid foundation and there is a good reason to believe that you would be compensated more in a court of law.
You can challenge the sum being offered by comparing it with the fair market cost of similar vehicles or by contesting that you had made some major additions or modifications to your car, making its price higher up than otherwise. This much is simple common sense, and you don't need an attorney to tell you when you're being underpaid for your car, of course, having one by your side will make a huge impact.
If, after tireless settlement negotiations and going back and forth multiple times, you still don't find yourself nearing a resolution regarding the insurance coverage and settlement sum any more than you did at the beginning, it would be wiser to step out of it. Just remember to watch your words and avoid saying anything that can be used against you.
Have your accident injury attorney draft a civil lawsuit and take matters to a court of law for your totaled car and other expenses associated with the accident.
What To Do After A Car Accident In General?
Apart from the steps mentioned dealing with totaled car compensation, you also have two things a certain way after any car accident to secure your position in the accident claim. These steps include:
1. Gathering Firsthand Evidence
If you can, then you should photograph the whole accident scene and the damages sustained. You should also exchange information with the other driver and request any bystanders to share their contact information as they will become valuable witnesses.
The more evidence you have on your side, the better your position will be.
2. Keeping Track of Your Losses
Your medical treatment, loss of income, property damage, and extra expenditures are all financial drains that resulted due to the accident. Make sure that you don't lose the bills, records, and receipts, because you'll need them all to convince the insurance company about your losses.
As for your non-economic losses, you'll have to keep tabs on those too – your medical records, diagnosis reports, doctor's notes, and even your journal will prove instrumental here.
3. Avoiding the Insurance Company Until You Are Ready
The insurance company might try to reach out to you early on – this is a trap. They want to get you to settle for a mediocre sum and clear up the mess on their table without paying what is rightfully due. Don't give any statements before you've had a talk with an accident victim lawyer and prepared your case completely.
This way, you will avoid foul play.
The Glenn Law Firm Is Here To Help You
Seeking financial compensation for your losses due to a car accident is not as simple as you would've first imagined. However, our legal team of professional personal injury attorneys knows this business well enough to represent you effectively throughout the personal injury process before the insurance company and win you fair compensation for your losses.
Our endeavors are always directed at getting our clients to a strategic position in their auto accident claims, thus ensuring that they get what they rightfully deserve. Dealing with a totaled car is hard, to say the least, however, it is doable, and you'll be in a much better position if you proceed according to proper legal counsel.
Don't worry about upfront fees or charges for consultation, because we don't ask for either.
Call Glenn Law, and we'll get straight to sorting things out!