If you have been involved in an Atlanta crash, you may have suffered losses. Such losses include personal injury as well as vehicle damage. Insurance companies have different ways of assessing the extent of damage to your vehicle when you file a car crash claim for damages. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you with filing a claim without losing any time.
Based on the insurance company’s assessment, your vehicle may be deemed suitable for repairs, or the insurer may declare it as totaled or total loss. It is important to understand what a totaled vehicle is, how an insurer determines that a vehicle is totaled, and what you can do if your vehicle is declared as such.
What is a Totaled Vehicle?
In simple words, a totaled or total loss vehicle is a vehicle that is damaged in an Atlanta crash to an extent that the repair costs exceed the actual cash value (ACV) of the car. ACV is a standard metric used to calculate the pre-crash market value of a vehicle. It depends on a number of factors such as the make, model, condition, mileage, and add-ons.
To cite an example, suppose the ACV of your car is $10,000. After it suffers the Atlanta crash, the repair costs are estimated to be $11,000. This simply means that you will need to spend more money on the repairs than the actual value of the car. As a result, the insurer is likely to declare the car as totaled.
However, even in cases where the repair costs are slightly below ACV, a vehicle may be declared totaled. This depends on the unique policies of each insurance company. For instance, your insurer may have a policy of considering a vehicle totaled when repair costs exceed 80% of the ACV. Using the example above, this would mean that your vehicle may be declared totaled if the ACV is $10,000 and repairs exceed $8,000 in value.
What Happens If My Vehicle is Totaled?
If your vehicle is declared totaled by the insurance company, you are entitled to monetary compensation. This amount is typically equivalent to the ACV of your vehicle. Insurance companies may use appraisers or private databases such as the Kelley Blue Book to determine the ACV. If you dispute the company’s appraisal, you can ask to have an independent appraiser come up with an estimate.
Once you agree with the insurer about the ACV, you get the monetary amount. You can use this amount to replace your totaled vehicle. The insurance company is required to pay you for rental vehicles from the date of the crash until the date you receive the total loss offer. After you receive the offer, your car rentals are no longer covered by the insurance policy.
A totaled vehicle is the insurance company’s property. Once you receive the ACV payment, you sign away your right to the vehicle. You are given an opportunity to remove any belongings and registration number plates from the vehicle. The insurer then usually sends the vehicle to a salvage yard. This is done to remove undamaged parts from the vehicle and sell them off separately.
However, there are instances when it may still be possible to make a totaled vehicle safe for road use. In such a case, you can negotiate with the insurance company to let you keep your vehicle for payment. In return for this payment, you can obtain a salvage title.
This title essentially allows you to get back your totaled vehicle. You can then have the vehicle repaired and operate it. However, a vehicle with a salvage title has a significantly reduced market value.
Disputing a Total Loss Decision
Sometimes, an insurance company may declare a vehicle a total loss after an Atlanta crash even when its repair costs do not exceed the threshold for total loss declaration. In such a case, you can dispute the company’s decision with the help of a qualified car crash lawyer.
Why Hire an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have been injured or suffered property damage in an Atlanta car accident, we can help you. Here at the Greene Legal Group, our lawyers work with you to ensure that you are able to file a claim for damages in the briefest time. We also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, whether it is to seek the maximum amount of settlement, or to dispute a total loss decision on your behalf. Contact us today to discuss your Atlanta crash claim with our lawyers.