When you file a claim for damages after a car accident, one of the most basic expectations you have is to get your car fixed. For some people, hearing that you’re going to receive the full market value of your vehicle sounds at first great…until you find out that it’s because the vehicle has been “totaled,” and the insurance company’s taking the car in exchange.
So what happens when your car is declared a total loss? Learn what a total loss result means, whether or not you can fight it, and how a New Jersey car accident attorney can help.
Total Loss Result
A total loss result in a car accident claim is also sometimes referred to as your car being “totaled.” When the insurance company finds this result, it means that they pay you the fair market value of the car on the date of the accident.
This is usually determined by the Kelley Blue Book value. If you happen to be underwater on your car — which many are — this may not even be enough to pay off your loan. Even worse, you cannot use this money to repair the vehicle, since the insurance carrier takes the vehicle. In essence, they buy it from you at the current market value.
If You Disagree
You may well disagree with the valuation of damages by the insurance company. If this is the case, you need to evaluate your options. These can include several possibilities. The first is to try to negotiate with the insurance company regarding the figures. The second option is to file a suit to challenge the findings.
Either way, you will need to produce evidence that the car is worth more than the insurance company is offering. If you have recent photographs showing that the car was in good condition, or recent mechanic’s records, this can go a long way towards that evidence. A second is a qualified appraisal of the car.
Call a Paterson Car Accident Attorney
Insurance companies are known for providing low estimates on vehicle repairs. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to fight these offers on your own. In addition, even if you succeed in proving the value of your car was higher than the estimate, the policy may not allow the company to pay out the full amount you need. In this case you’ll need to seek damages from another source, such as the actual person responsible.
In the end, your best resource in such a case is a qualified New Jersey auto accident attorney. Attorneys are familiar with the tactics insurers use to avoid paying the full value you are owed, and have experience fighting back and protecting your rights.
You deserve compensation for the damages to your vehicle, and a qualified car accident attorney can make sure that you get it. If you need help proving that your car is worth more than its appraisal value, we can help. Contact Peter Davis Law for a free case evaluation and help getting the compensation you deserve.