After a motor vehicle collision, the first concern is whether anyone was hurt in the crash. A personal injury lawyer can assist victims who suffered injury. Once you have dealt with concerns about personal damage, the next question is what to do about property damage to vehicles involved in the crash. Insurance should cover your vehicle, but you need to understand when your car will be declared a total loss and determined to be unable to be fixed.
When is a Vehicle Considered a Total Loss
Claims Journal recently addressed the issue of when a motor vehicle is considered to be a total loss (or "totaled"). The general rule is a vehicle will be "totaled" if the cost to repair the problems with the car is higher than the actual cash value it would cost to replace the vehicle.
Unfortunately, there may be situations where it is not practical to repair vehicles even if they are valued at more than the cost to fix the issues.
For example, if the vehicle is worth $4,000 but it requires $3,000 in repair expenditures, the insurer may decide it is not worth replacing the car. Insurers may consider lower-valued vehicles to be a total loss at times when the repair expenses would be within 75 percent of the costs of getting a new vehicle.
In some cases, consumers may believe that their car has suffered only minor damage. However, a bent frame or hidden damage can cause far more problems than are visible to the naked eye. As a result, you may find your car totaled even if you don't think there are very serious problems with it.
When a car is totaled, the insurance company generally takes ownership of the car. In some cases, the insurer will obtain a "salvage title." The insurer will pay for the pre-loss value of the car.
It can sometimes be difficult for you to actually find a comparable replacement vehicle for the amount of money you are paid by the insurer. If the vehicle was a brand-new car or a newer vehicle, you may also find the compensation you get from the insurance company is less than what you paid for the car, as new vehicles depreciate in value so quickly.
Some insurance companies offer special policies where those who have new cars will be able to get the amount of money it would cost to actually purchase a new vehicle, rather than simply getting paid for the replacement value of the car.
If the insured client wants to keep the insured vehicle even though it is declared a total loss, the insurance company deducts the value that it could get by selling the vehicle as a salvaged vehicle from the payment that is made.
You do not necessarily have to immediately accept the offer the insurance company makes you when your vehicle is totaled. It is possible to negotiate with the insurer if you have solid evidence to back up your claims that your car should be worth more than you are being offered.
Such efforts should only be undertaken with the aid of an experienced Detroit crash lawyer.
A Detroit accident lawyer can help victims in the city and surrounding suburbs including Warren and Sterling Heights. Contact Fraser & Souweidane P.C. at (866) 465-9095 or visit https://www.fsattorneys.com to schedule a free consultation.