Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is stressful enough without having to unexpectedly find new transportation when your vehicle is declared a total loss. If you were in an accident that damaged your car beyond repair, you may be overwhelmed, wondering how to proceed next.
While your safety should always be the top priority after a crash, it’s natural to also have practical questions about insurance payouts, your vehicle title status, and acquiring replacement transportation in this difficult situation.
While we hope to offer some clarity around your rights and options after such an unfortunate event, you may find it beneficial to seek help from a San Antonio car accident lawyer if your car was totaled after a crash. Let’s take a look at what might come next.
What Qualifies as a Totaled Car?
It’s first important to understand why an insurance company “totaled” your car. Here are some of the factors considered. For an insurer to declare your vehicle a total loss, repairs would typically exceed the car’s resale value or fair market value before the crash occurred.
Significant factors considered include:
If repair costs estimate over a certain percentage threshold of the vehicle’s pre-accident cash value, it becomes totaled. Frame or structural repairs often cannot be cost-effectively performed.
Pre-existing issues lower the total value, so new accidents that cause extensive repairs still may total a vehicle with prior wrecks.
Older cars with high mileage total more easily as residual values decline versus new cars where desirability keeps values up.
Some states require salvage titles on repaired total-loss vehicles, lowering resale values and influencing total loss determinations.
For older niche models, total losses are more likely if OEM components needed are no longer made or abundant in scrapyards.
Significant impacts lowering a vehicle’s overall functionality or marketability usually result in a total loss declaration by insurance.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
Implications of a Total Loss
Once totaled, insurers typically take ownership of the wrecked vehicle. This affects:
- Title transfer: The title must be signed over to the insurer, although some states require a branded “salvage” title, lowering the resale value.
- Salvage auction: Insurers sell totaled vehicles at salvage auctions, so you lose ownership rights. Parts may still be valuable to buyers.
- Diminished value claims: If it’s a new car, you can claim the accident lowered resale costs beyond insurance payouts.
- Lease terminations: Leased vehicles totaled usually end the lease with payouts adjusting terms.
- Taxes on replacement: Taxes may be due on the difference between the totaled value received and the new vehicle purchase price.
- Subsequent accidents: Any injuries from driving a known salvage vehicle may weaken future liability claims.
- Rental car coverage: Policies detail how long insurance provides alternate transportation costs.
Understanding these aftermath intricacies helps maximize insurance potential and properly close out vehicle matters after an accident. A car accident lawyer in San Antonio will understand how to leverage this knowledge to benefit your claim.
How Can a San Antonio Attorney Help Me If My Car Was Totaled in An Injury Accident?
There are several ways a personal injury lawyer can help maximize an insurance claim after an accident totals a car and causes injury:
- Establish clear liability and fault for both vehicle damage and injuries through investigation of police reports and witness statements. This strengthens the claim.
- Provide a comprehensive summary of all medical treatment to date, along with future anticipated costs for injuries to fully capture that portion of the claim.
- Obtain expert medical evidence like MRI/CT reports, doctor questionnaires, and life care plans that quantify injury impacts and long-term effects.
- Calculate lost income/wages from missed work and potential diminished future earning capacity due to ongoing treatment needs or disability.
- Estimate pain and suffering damages by outlining physical and psychological impacts on quality of life activities.
- Negotiate an overall claim settlement amount with the insurer based on fair valuations of proven past and future damages.
- Threaten legal action if the insurer does not offer reasonable compensatory damages relative to similar prior case settlements in order to get the maximum potential settlement.
- Pursue a lawsuit if needed to obtain complete financial remedy via court.
This maximizes potential recovery beyond just the car loss but also all personal injury costs.
Contact Us to Learn More About What to Do If Your Car Was Totaled in a San Antonio Accident
We have helped many San Antonio residents with car accident claims over the years, and we hope this information eases some of the uncertainty so you can focus on recovery – both physically and logistically.
Don’t hesitate to contact Zinda Law Group for a free case evaluation and more information about how we can help you.