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My Car is a Total Loss, What Now?

My Car is a Total Loss, What Now?

Posted By The Dunnion Law Firm || 1-Nov-2016

Following a major car accident, you have a lot of things on your mind, but your primary concern other than your physical health is probably the health of your car. When you file a claim after your accident, it’s possible that your insurance company will declare your car a total loss, meaning they deem the cost of repairing your car too expensive. If your car has been declared a total loss, it can be hard to know how to proceed, causing you more stress than you deserve.

Learn what to do after your car is declared a total loss and find out why you may need help from a San Jose car accident lawyer.

Who is Responsible for Damages?

The biggest question people have after a car accident is who is responsible for covering the damage. Like most legal issues, the answer depends on where you live. For example, some states offer no-fault car insurance, which means your insurer will most likely cover most damages regardless of who was at fault.

In traditional fault states, on the other hand, your insurer will most likely only pay for repairs if your accident was the fault of another driver. When you’re in a car accident, you should find out what type of state that you live in, as this will determine how your damages will be covered.

What is the Max an Insurer Will Pay?

Second only to who will pay for your damages is how much your insurance company will pay. Damage payouts depend entirely on the type of coverage you or the other driver possess. Take, for example, a car accident that results in $15,000 dollars in damages. If the negligent driver’s policy has a maximum limit of $10,000, then you’ll be left to cover the other $5,000, whether through your own insurance or out of pocket.

Unfortunately, sometimes the other driver may not have any insurance at all, which is when you may need the advice of a San Jose car accident lawyer.

Declaring a Total Loss

What many people don’t realize is that there is a limit an insurance company will pay for a car that is declared a total loss. In total loss cases, your insurer will only pay you fair market value for the car, which can be a problem if this amount doesn’t cover your car loan. Let’s say you have $18,000 remaining on your car loan and the fair market value on your car is $15,000. This means you will still be responsible for $3,000 of your car loan without any insurance funding.

Obviously, this can leave you without a vehicle and no way to replace it, causing a very stressful situation. Additionally, your insurer is legally entitled to take your totaled car and attempt to sell it to recoup some of their losses.

What if I Disagree?

If you don’t agree that your car is a total loss, then you have a few options at your disposal. First, you can attempt to negotiate with your insurance company to try to get extra funding. However, once a decision has been made, it is almost impossible to change your insurer’s mind. Secondly, you can retain legal help. A San Jose car accident lawyer may be able to gather enough evidence to convince your insurer to either change the total loss designation or increase the payout amount to ease your losses.

Hire a San Jose Car Accident Lawyer

When your car is declared a total loss after a car accident, you can find yourself in a dire situation. You deserve the compensation you need to replace your car and move on with your life, which means you need to partner with a San Jose car accident lawyer from The Dunnion Law Firm. We have the experience necessary to negotiate with the insurance companies so that you get your proper settlement. Contact us today so that we can start working on your case.