Can I Sue Someone For Totaling My Car?
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Can I Sue Someone For Totaling My Car?

Can I Sue Someone For Totaling My Car?

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Can I Sue Someone For Totaling My Car?

Having to fight for what you deserve when someone else totals your vehicle can feel unfair and overwhelming. You might wonder, “Can I sue someone for totaling my car?”
If another’s negligence or reckless driving caused your car damage, injuries, and other losses, you could sue them and recover damages, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and others.

However, you do not have to go through a complicated lawsuit alone. Our experienced car accident attorneys could help you receive fair compensation allowing you to replace your vehicle and pay your accident-related bills so that you can move on with your life. Contact us today for a free case evaluation to discover your options when your car is totaled.  

When Is a Car Considered Totaled?

If you were recently involved in a car accident and your insurance company told you that your car is totaled, you might wonder what that means and how much compensation you could receive for the damaged vehicle.

A totaled car is a vehicle that is considered a complete loss by an insurance company, meaning that your car cannot be repaired or that the cost of the repairs is higher than its value. In general, insurers consider a car totaled when the damage exceeds 75 percent of the market value, although the percentage can be lower depending on your state.

Who Pays for Your Totaled Car?

If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, you should receive an insurance settlement to help replace your damaged car. If you leased or financed your vehicle, you are most likely comprehensively covered by insurance. However, many individuals with older and paid-off cars choose not to pay for collision and comprehensive coverage, meaning they may have to pay out of their own pockets to replace their vehicles.

You Could Sue Someone for Totaling Your Car

You should not have to pay for someone else’s carelessness or mistake. If another caused the crash that totaled your vehicle, you could file a claim with their insurer or file a lawsuit and sue them personally for damages.

A car accident attorney at Morgan & Morgan can advise you on the next best steps to receive compensation if your car is considered totaled by the insurance company.

Your Next Best Steps if Someone Totaled Your Car

If you are involved in a car crash that totaled your car, take the following steps:

File an Insurance Claim Immediately

Contact your insurer and the insurance company of the at-fault driver promptly, as a total loss insurance claim can take a long time to process. Get the car towed to a repair shop approved by the insurance company that handles your claim. Using an approved shop is optional but can speed up your claim since the repair shop can communicate directly with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster determines whether your vehicle is a total loss based on the repair estimate.

Determine Your Car’s Market Value

Never agree to an insurance settlement before you know what your totaled car is worth, as the insurer could try to underpay you. Insurance companies use various factors to determine your car’s ACV (actual cash value, the worth of your vehicle minus its depreciation), such as:

  • Age and mileage
  • Overall condition
  • Resale value
  • The price of similar vehicles

Do not rely on the insurer’s calculations and determine your car’s value before agreeing to a settlement. You can determine your vehicle’s ACV by using the Kelley Blue Book and asking dealerships in your area.

Check Your Car Loan Agreement

Your insurance company typically pays out the actual cash value of the vehicle minus the deductible on your comprehensive coverage. If you are financing your car, determine how much you still owe. Your insurer will pay off your car loan first before you receive the remainder of the settlement. If the insurance settlement is less than your outstanding loan, you will have to pay for the difference.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

Unfortunately, even if you are not at fault for the car crash in which your car was totaled, you could be stuck with considerable costs. The insurance company may only agree to pay you a fraction of your vehicle’s worth. Moreover, even if you receive a settlement, you could still be out of pocket when purchasing a replacement car.

If the accident happened due to another’s fault, you should not have to pay for your losses. Our motivated and experienced car accident lawyers could help you file a lawsuit and receive the compensation you deserve.

When Another Driver Is Responsible for Totaling Your Car

Most crashes occur due to driver error or negligence, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Another driver might be responsible for your totaled car and other damages if they were driving dangerously or carelessly, such as:

  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
  • Speeding
  • Driving distracted
  • Driving fatigued
  • Operating a defective vehicle
  • Committing traffic violations
  • Ignoring traffic signals and signs

If you suffered car damage and injuries due to the recklessness of another driver, you should not have to be stuck with the expenses. You could sue someone for totaling your car, and Morgan & Morgan could be here to help you fight for justice and compensation.

Damages You Could Claim in a Lawsuit

The car driver and occupants may suffer devastating injuries when a vehicle is severely damaged. If you were significantly injured in the crash that totaled your vehicle, you could be entitled to damages above and beyond the car’s value. You could recover the following awards and others:

  • The replacement or repair of other property destroyed or damaged in the accident
  • Costs of rental car
  • Healthcare expenses and costs for future medical treatment
  • Lost earnings and future loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Reduced life enjoyment

While settlement amounts can vary from one case to another, those with severe injuries can usually recover higher settlement amounts than those who have primarily sustained car damage.

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FAQ

Morgan & Morgan

  • Should You Hire a Lawyer to Handle Your Totaled Car Claim?

    When someone totals your car, getting what you deserve from your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurer can be complicated. Insurance companies generally do not have your best interest in mind, and policies are often written in challenging language, making it confusing to understand what you are owed.

    Our car accident attorneys can help you understand your policy and hold insurance companies accountable. We can assess your claim, file the necessary paperwork, and work in your best interests to secure a settlement that covers your totaled car’s cost. If you can sue someone for totaling your car, we could handle your lawsuit from start to finish, fighting hard for the maximum compensation.

    A dedicated Morgan & Morgan car accident lawyer can help you avoid leaving money on the table when someone totals your car in an accident.

  • Do I Have to Continue Paying Off a Loan on a Totaled Car?

    Unfortunately, if your totaled vehicle was leased or financed, you may still have to pay some of the outstanding loan if the insurance payout fails to cover all the costs. Suppose your car loan is $20,000, but due to depreciation, your vehicle is now only worth $15,000. In this case, you could be stuck with $5,000 to pay on your car loan, as the insurer will only pay for the actual cash value of your car.

  • Does it Make Sense to Repair and Keep My Totaled Car?

    It rarely makes sense to repair and keep your totaled car. Firstly, you will spend a lot of money on repairing the vehicle, provided it can be fixed. You will then have to get it inspected and reinsured. Moreover, the insurer will deduct your car’s salvage value from your settlement amount, leaving you with a smaller settlement check.

  • What Should I Do if the Insurance Valuation of My Car Is Unfair?

    Insurance valuations can be on the lower side as the insurance company is in business to make a profit. However, if you disagree with the insurance company’s valuation of your vehicle, you could fight back by:  

    • Negotiating with the insurance company
    • Getting your own appraiser to prepare a valuation
    • Consulting an attorney about filing a lawsuit
    • Contacting your state’s department of insurance for help

    However, if you want to fight your insurance company, you will require evidence showing that your car is worth more than your insurer’s valuation. Evidence can include documentation of service records, receipts for upgrades, and your own appraiser’s report.

  • How Does Gap Insurance Work?

    Gap insurance can be helpful for those financing their vehicles, as it covers the difference between your car’s worth and your loan amount. An insurer typically only pays for the cash value of your car, which could leave you to pay for the difference between your car’s value and your loan amount. Gap insurance will bridge the “gap.”

    If you still have a large amount outstanding on your loan, gap insurance can be particularly beneficial. However, this type of coverage is most likely unnecessary if you have almost paid off your car or own your vehicle.

  • Will My Insurer Pay for a New Vehicle?

    Your insurer generally will not pay for you to go out and buy a new car but only pay the market value of your totaled car, which may not be enough to pay for a new vehicle.

    If you are having trouble recovering what you deserve from your insurer or the at-fault party’s insurance company, consult with a car accident lawyer who can advise you on your rights and help you receive a fair settlement. 

  • When Can I Sue Someone for Totaling My Car?

    The timeline for your car accident lawsuit will vary depending on your state’s statute of limitations. While most states give claimants two years or more to file a suit, some only give injured victims one short year to get justice. It is critical to note that missing the deadline typically prevents you from seeking compensation.

    If your car is totaled in a crash, contact an attorney as soon as possible to determine your legal options and the best timing for a lawsuit. 

  • How Much Do Car Accident Attorneys Charge?

    Most attorneys handle car crashes on a contingency basis, which means that clients only pay attorney’s fees when they win and recover damages. However, beware that some injury lawyers charge an hourly wage or retainer upfront. Therefore, ask your attorney about their fee structure before agreeing to hire them.

    Moreover, some lawyers working on a contingency basis may collect payments for legal expenses upfront. These expenses can involve expert witness fees, court filing costs, and others, which can work out costly in complex accident claims.

    Morgan & Morgan’s fee is free unless and until we win and you recover compensation. We don’t charge our clients any expenses upfront because we believe you should not face additional financial burdens when faced with accident expenses.

  • We Can Fight for What You Deserve

    Getting hurt and losing your car in a crash can seriously affect your life. Our car accident lawyers see the physical, mental, and financial effects on crash victims every day. We have helped thousands of car accident victims get the settlements they needed to rebuild their lives. We want to help you, too, receive what you deserve. 

    Morgan & Morgan can be by your side during your entire claim and fight for the compensation you need to pay for a replacement car, medical bills, and other costs from the accident. Our dedicated lawyers are ready to start working for you. Contact us today to find out if we can help in a free and confidential consultation.

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