When you’re in an accident and the insurer comes back with a decision that your car is a total loss, you might be wracked with stress and concern. What do you do now? Is there any way you can get your vehicle fixed? What if you know your car is worth more than they are offering, and what if you owe more than they’re going to give you? Learn about total loss decisions, what your options are when this happens, and how a car accident lawyer can help.
Understanding Total Loss
Total loss is an insurance concept that is sometimes known colloquially as having your car “totaled.” What this means is that upon examination, the insurance company covering your damages has determined that the total value of the car is less than it would cost to get it repaired.
When this happens, they usually offer you the market value of your car, determined by consulting the Kelley Blue Book, and take the wreck. For some people this is satisfactory. For others, it can present a host of serious problems.
When You Owe More
One problem you might face from a total loss decision is if you only get $10,000 for the vehicle but you still owe $15,000. In such a case the coverage won’t even pay off your existing vehicle, let alone buy you a new one. If you have what is known as “gap” coverage on your own policy, it may pay the difference between the totaled value and what you are offered, but not everyone carries this form of insurance.
When Your Car Is Worth More
In some cases, you may be certain that your car is worth more, and the judgment of the insurer is wrong. In such a case, you will need to be able to prove that your vehicle has a higher value than they are offering, which can be tricky. This may be less of a problem than being underwater, however, as at least you might be able to get a new car with the settlement.
Negotiating with the Insurer
One possible solution to this problem is to try and negotiate with the insurer to either get them to allow you to keep your damaged vehicle and accept their monetary offer, or to get them to pay you more. It can be difficult to prove these things, however, without competent help in your corner.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer
Any time you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should seek the services of a car accident lawyer. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try to pay out less than they should for an accident, and they’ll resort to all manner of tactics to do so. They could try to trick you into signing away your rights. They could attempt to bully you into accepting lower settlements.
An experienced and qualified car accident lawyer knows exactly how to fight these tactics, defend your rights and make sure you get the full compensation you deserve. If you need help from a car accident attorney in dealing with insurance companies, we’re ready. Contact Disparti Law Group for a case evaluation and more information today.