Car accidents happen every day in Norcross, Georgia. Unfortunately, some accidents are serious, and the property damage leads to your vehicle being declared a “total loss” by the insurance company. This can create several complications for vehicle owners.
Kaine Law wants to help. We do not just practice personal injury law; we help anyone who conflicts with an insurance company after a car accident. A Norcross car accident lawyer can review the facts in your case and let you know your legal options. We can fight for you if you disagree that your car is a total loss or have an issue with the valuation.
What is a Total Loss?
According to our Norcross personal injury lawyers, any accident that results in severe vehicle damage will lead to repair costs for the vehicles involved. In most cases, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will be responsible for paying the costs of these repairs. A vehicle is classified as a “total loss” when the insurance company deems the cost of repairing the accident-related damages exceeds its fair market value.
What Happens After a Car is Declared a Total Loss?
After the insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss, they will make you an offer they believe reflects its “fair market value.” That is the replacement value of the car adjusted for age, mileage, and condition at the time of the accident. This is where the conflict can begin. You may disagree that the vehicle is a total loss or believe the insurance company’s “fair market value” offer is less than your car’s value.
If you accept the valuation, they will become the legal owners of the vehicle and have it taken to a scrap yard, where all the usable parts will be sold before it’s destroyed. The proceeds from parting your car out helps the insurance company recoup some of the costs they paid you for the total loss.
For a free legal consultation with a total loss lawyer serving Norcross, call 404-214-2001
What if I Do Not Believe My Vehicle is a Total Loss?
Many people involved in accidents disagree with the insurance company’s total loss declaration. Although the insurance company may imply that accepting their decision to declare your car a total loss is final, it is not.
As the vehicle owner, you still have the right to reject the estimation of your vehicle as a total loss. There are several reasons you might reject this decision, including:
- The vehicle is considered a “classic” or has other intrinsic value to you beyond just its financial worth (e.g., you proposed to your wife in that car, and it has been in the family for multiple generations)
- You believe the car can be repaired, and you have the resources to pay the cost
You May be Able to Get a Salvage Title for Your Car
Depending on the damage to your car, you may be able to keep it and make the repairs. If the vehicle can be restored to a state where it is safe to drive on public roads, you can get what is known as a “salvage” title. This allows you to retain ownership but denotes that it was declared a total loss.
The purpose of the “salvage” notation is to advise potential buyers that the vehicle was severely damaged. Regardless of the quality of the repairs, it is likely that the salvage title designation will harm its retail or trade-in value.
Norcross Total Loss Lawyer Near Me 404-214-2001
Salvage Title Payouts in Total Loss Cases
If you decide to keep your vehicle through a salvage title, the insurance company will make you a reduced offer from their total loss payment. However, you will be responsible for making repairs, even if the cost exceeds the amount of the insurance company’s payment.
If the payment is from your insurance company, it will be minus any deductible included in your policy. However, if the payment is from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, there will be no deductible taken out.
You may also owe more money on the car than its current fair market value. That is known as being “upside down” on your vehicle loan. No matter the circumstances, the insurance company will not “overvalue” the car or offer more than they believe it is worth.
How Does Car Rental Coverage in Total Loss Cases Work?
Replacement rental car coverage is included in many insurance policies. However, if your insurance policy has it (and they are paying for the damages to your car), they will typically cut off your rental car coverage within 24-48 hours after making their total loss settlement offer (or whenever you reach your maximum days of coverage under the policy, whichever comes first).
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays for your rental car, there may not be a maximum coverage allowance. However, they will still cut off the coverage within the same 24–48-hour timeframe after making a settlement offer. Therefore, regardless of which insurance company pays for your rental car, it is unlikely they will pay for rental car coverage while you shop for a replacement vehicle.
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How a Lawyer Can Help with Your Total Loss Claim
We have decades of experience dealing with car owners and insurance companies after accidents. This includes hundreds of cases involving vehicles that were declared total losses. It is not uncommon for vehicle owners to disagree with the valuation made by their claims adjuster. Their first commitment is to their bottom line, not your well-being.
A Norcross car accident lawyer can help you when there is conflict between you and the insurance company. Our first commitment is to fight for our clients and get them fair settlements. We can represent you and deal with the insurance company while you recover from the accident, this includes the following:
- Researching your car’s value through Kelley Blue Book and other sources
- Examining the coverage limits of your comprehensive and collision policy or the at-fault driver’s liability policy
- Fighting back against low-ball offers and other bad-faith practices by the insurance company designed to get you to accept less than you deserve
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Let a Norcross Total Loss Attorney Get Started on Your Case Today
Kaine Law is committed to fighting for accident victims. We want to help you get what you deserve, whether it is fair value for your vehicle after a total loss or economic damages after a car accident.
If you are fighting the insurance company or want to know your options, our Norcross total loss lawyers want to help. Contact our office for a free consultation today and find out what we can do for you.