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
- 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.