A vehicle is considered to be a total loss when the amount to cover repairs would be greater than the current value of the vehicle. These are often serious accidents that may or may not involve injuries. They can also create complex legal questions that require the expertise of a car accident total loss attorney to avoid being taken advantage of and lose a sizable sum of money.
To learn what to do after a car accident total loss when you’re not at fault, read on to educate yourself about the potential issues and where to turn for help.
Collect All the Important Information
After any car accident regardless of its severity of type, it is always important to collect the relevant information, such as the contact numbers for all involved parties and photos of the accident scene. In a car accident total loss situation, it is especially crucial to gather witness information, file a police report, and get help from a local lawyer.
Find Out Who Will Pay for Damages
If the insurance company advises you that your car is a total loss, find out whether your insurer or at the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be paying you.
Do Some Calculations Based on Your Car Loan
One potential issue to consider is whether you have a car loan and how much money you still owe on that loan. This is because an insurer will typically only pay the fair market value of your car at the time the accident occurred, and it is possible that you owe more on your car loan than that value. Cars depreciate as they age, and some models depreciate faster than others.
The best-case scenario is that the total loss payment is more than what you still owe on the loan. But if your loan amount is higher than your check amount, it is still your legal obligation to pay your monthly payments to the lender until the total amount is paid off.
Inquire About Gap Protection
If there is a difference between the amount you owe for the car loan and the amount the insurance company will pay for your totaled vehicle, gap insurance may be able to help. Gap insurance goes beyond a standard auto insurance policy and is more of a debt cancellation agreement that makes up this difference. This kind of insurance is only worth it if you could potentially owe more than your car is worth. Check this by researching the expected depreciation rate of your car via Kelley Blue Book and then visiting www.bankrate.com to access an online auto loan calculator and determine the rate of building equity in the car.
Consult a Local Car Accident Attorney
If is a common misconception that you don’t need to do anything to be compensated if your car is totaled and you weren’t at fault. However, insurance companies do everything in their power to avoid paying out as much as possible. To get the full and fair amount you deserve, you need the Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum on your side.
Get Help Negotiating or Filing a Lawsuit
With the help of a skilled Brooklyn attorney, you may be able to negotiate a settlement based on a higher estimate of your vehicle’s value. For this, you’ll need good evidence about the condition that your car was in before the accident, any value-added enhancements that you made to it, and anything else that can prove it was worth more than other comparable vehicles. It may be beneficial to have a qualified appraiser determine the car’s value so that you have expert testimony to prove your case. You also have the option of filing a lawsuit if you disagree with the insurance company’s value of vehicle damages.
If you have been involved in an accident that has totaled your car, our legal team can help. Please contact us at 718-237-5586 or send us a message to tell us about your case.