You’ve likely witnessed processions of crushed vehicles being hauled together on trucks. You could undoubtedly identify those cars as being totaled, but it’s not always clear when a car isn’t worth repairing. After a particularly bad wreck, your heart may sink upon realizing the damage is so substantial it may not be fixable or worth repairing. While an insurance provider will likely provide their own opinion, it’s good to know for yourself if your car is totaled.
You and your insurance provider may dispute the amount that they should pay for vehicle damages. Your best course of action may be to consult an experienced attorney before accepting any offer from the insurance company. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis have the experience to help you secure a fair settlement and the skills to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
How the State of Florida Defines a Totaled Car
After an accident, a vehicle may be declared a total loss under Florida law if the cost of repairing the damage exceeds 80% of the vehicle’s fair market value, or actual cash value (ACV). A damaged vehicle’s ACV is equal to its fair market value before the accident, which is equal to its replacement cost minus depreciation.
Common Signs Your Car May Be Totaled
When your insurance provider determines that it would be more expensive to fix your car after an accident than to replace it, they will decline to fix the vehicle and will instead pay you the value of the vehicle in full. You can then use this money to purchase a replacement automobile.
Following an accident, an insurance adjuster will likely consider your car totaled if any of the following apply to it:
- Your car won’t start or is leaking fluids. Fluid leaks frequently require expensive repair, which many insurance companies are unwilling to cover.
- Your car is an older model with significant frame damage. The costs to rebuild the car’s frame and repaint it wouldn’t be worthwhile if your car is more than five years old and the frame has sustained significant damage.
- Your car is more than fifteen years old. Even if mechanics can repair it, a 20-year-old car likely isn’t worth much money unless it’s an antique or classic car.
- Your car has a high number of miles. The value of your car decreases as the mileage increases.
In all these scenarios, the insurance adjuster is measuring the car’s value against the cost of repairs, and numerous factors can impact the value of a car. However, that doesn’t mean the insurance company’s offer is fair. Protect yourself and ensure you receive a fair offer by partnering with an experienced car accident lawyer.
Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You Negotiate a Fair Offer
Dealing with auto insurance after an accident and a totaled vehicle is often very stressful. Your insurance provider may declare your car a total loss if the damage sustained in an accident isn’t worth the cost to properly repair it. However, various factors may make your car worth more than the insurance company’s actual cash value settlement offer. It is crucial to consult a knowledgeable car accident lawyer before accepting an unfair offer from an insurance provider.
At Wooten, Kimbrough, Damaso & Dennis, our team includes skilled trial lawyers experienced in securing fair settlements for their clients. For over 50 years, we have protected Floridians against negligence and unjust insurance companies. By retaining our services, you can be confident that you will receive superior legal assistance. Call (407) 843-7060 or message us using our contact form to schedule a consultation with one of our qualified attorneys.