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Car Totaled but Still Drivable

When your car gets totaled after a car accident but is still drivable, it is understandable that you may not know what to do next. Should you still drive it? If so, is it legal to drive a totaled car? The driving aside, you will also want to know whether you may be eligible for compensation after the accident. And if you are, does driving the totaled car make you negligent?

At Morgan and Morgan, we understand the pain, desperation, and confusion that comes after a car accident. The worst part is that most insurance companies take advantage of the sad state of affairs to break the law and deny policyholders the compensation they need after such a traumatizing incident. That is exactly why we are here to help.

We have answered some commonly asked questions about totaled cars after an accident. If you have further questions or a reason to sue an insurance company or any other party that might have caused the accident, either directly or indirectly, feel free to fill out our case evaluation form. We will review the case for free, and if it is valid, we will guide you through the next steps.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What Happens When a Car Is Totaled but Still Drivable?

    When a car is totaled but still driveable, and you have an insurance policy protecting it from such damages, your insurance company may be required to reimburse you. Here is how it works.

    When you get involved in a car accident and file an insurance claim, the insurance company will send a claim adjuster to evaluate the injuries and damages sustained. Specifically, the insurance adjuster will analyze the car to determine the extent of the damages and how they compare to the car's original value. Several factors will determine the car's original value. Examples include the year, make, and model.

    The car is totaled when the costs or repair exceeds the vehicle's actual value. As a result, if you are covered against such losses, the insurance company will reimburse you.

  • Can I Keep a Totaled Car After an Insurance Company's Payment?

    Not really. When the insurer compensates you for the totaled car, they will likely keep it and try to sell it for parts. Therefore, it is improbable that you will be able to keep the car once it has been totaled. 

  • Is It Legal to Drive My Car if Totaled but Still Drivable?

    A totaled car does not mean it is damaged beyond repair. In fact, the vehicle might be totaled but still be driveable even right after the accident.

    As discussed, a car may be totaled when the cost of repairs exceeds its actual value. That said, unless you get the car repaired after the accident, it is unlawful to drive it if it has been totaled. This applies even if the vehicle is still driveable or the damages do not seem serious, at least to the naked eye.

    Another thing you need to know is that when insurance companies total a car, it is usually because it has some mechanical problem that might be too expensive to fix and not worth the car's value. So even if the vehicle seems fine to you, it may have a wiring problem or even a structural issue that makes it unroadworthy. This explains why it is important that you get the car repaired before getting back on the road.

  • What Happens When I Repair a Totaled Car?

    When you repair a totaled car, you cannot drive it just yet. Instead, you will need to tow it to a local state motor vehicle inspection facility. The state will conduct several tests to determine whether the car is roadworthy. If the vehicle passes these tests and you decide to get it back on the road, you will be issued a salvage title.

  • What Is a Salvage Title?

    A salvage title is an official certificate that shows that a particular vehicle was involved in a car accident and was considered a total loss by the insurance company (totaled). This certificate is issued to warn current and future owners of the vehicle about the possible risks of buying that particular vehicle.

    Although having a salvage title does not necessarily mean that the vehicle is not in good condition, it helps keep the owner aware of the vehicle's history. For example, in some cases, potential buyers will want to know whether the vehicle had been involved in a car accident prior to being advertised for sale. For this reason, a salvage title makes it difficult for the seller to misrepresent the vehicle's information to potential buyers.

  • Can I Sue the Other Driver if My Car Is Totaled but Still Drivable?

    Yes, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to sue the other driver whether or not your car is totaled and still driveable. This is especially true if the accident occurred due to the other driver's negligence. For example, you may be able to file a claim with them if they violated traffic laws, leading to the accident.

  • What Damages Can I Recover From the Insurance Company if My Car Is Totaled?

    When you get injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages if the accident occurred due to someone else's negligence. However, the kind of damages you may be able to recover will depend on the unique circumstances of your case and also the location of the accident.

    For example, suppose the accident occurred in Florida. In that case, you may be able to recover medical expenses and lost wages through your Personal Injury Protection insurance. This is because Florida is a no-fault state regarding car accidents. This means that when you get injured in a car accident, your insurance provider compensates you for your medical expenses and lost wages.

    As a general rule, Florida drivers are required to have at least $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection insurance. Therefore, just as long as the covered damages are below the minimum PIP coverage, your insurance provider should be able to cover that.

    In the case of property damage, such as a wrecked vehicle, you may be able to file a claim with the other party's insurance provider. The same applies if you live in an at-fault state like Washington.

    In an at-fault state, you file a claim with the party at fault for your injuries and damages. In that case, you can recover economic and non-economic damages. If the case goes to court and the judge or jury rules that the other party was extremely negligent, they may award you punitive damages.

    However, it is important to note that punitive damages are not guaranteed. Only the judge or jury can decide whether to award you these damages.

  • What Are Some Legal Grounds for Suing an Insurance Company if My Car Is Totaled?

    Earlier, we mentioned that when your vehicle is totaled, the insurance company will compensate you for the loss and keep the vehicle, hoping to resell it for parts or with a salvage title. However, the truth is that some insurance companies violate the terms of the agreement with their policyholders.

    Here is how it works.

    When an insurance company compensates you for your totaled car, you expect them to settle the car's actual value and nothing less. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Insurance adjusters do not always get these values correct. As a result, they will likely write you a check that does not reflect your car's true value before the accident.

    In that case, you can file an insurance dispute claim with the insurance company.

    Secondly, the vehicle's actual value isn't the only thing you should be concerned about. The insurance company should also compensate you for other expenses involved in buying a new car. Some examples of these expenses include title and registration fees, vehicle transfer fees, taxes, etc.

    Some insurance companies include these expenses in their policies. But despite that, they still fail to compensate their policyholders when they file a claim after the accident. If so, you may have a valid reason to sue the auto insurance provider.

    Lastly, you can also sue the insurance provider if they deny your claim out of bad faith. This happens when you have a valid claim, but the insurance company will not cooperate, frustrating the entire claims process. Bad faith insurance is illegal throughout the United States. If you believe that the insurance company is acting out of bad faith, you may be able to take legal action against them. 

  • Do I Need an Attorney to File a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit?

    You do not necessarily need an attorney to file a car accident claim or lawsuit. However, having an attorney significantly improves your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

  • How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?

    A car accident lawyer understands how traffic laws work in your state. For instance, we mentioned earlier that states like Florida use the no-fault system while Washington and many other states use the at-fault system after a car accident. This piece of information could make a huge difference in your claim. And that is not the only thing you need to know; that is why you need a lawyer who understands the unique circumstances of your case and how local and state laws apply in such situations.

    Car accident attorneys also know how to deal with insurance companies. They are familiar with the tactics these providers use to deny liability or offer lowball settlements. As a result, you can always count on an experienced lawyer to fight back and help you secure the compensation you need and deserve.

    Thirdly, your attorney will be your legal representative from the beginning to the end of the car accident claims process. The lawyer can:

    • Evaluate your case to determine whether it is valid
    • Gather crucial evidence to support your claim
    • Identify the parties liable for your injuries and damages
    • Assess your injuries and damages
    • Calculate a reasonable settlement
    • File a claim with the relevant party
    • Represent you throughout the settlement negotiation process
    • File a lawsuit on your behalf if the other party refuses to settle
    • Prepare you for complex legal processes such as deposition
  • How Long After the Accident Do I Have to File a Claim or Lawsuit?

    It is always advisable to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. This is because the deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit varies from state to state. And once this deadline has expired, you will lose your right to take legal action against the other party, even if your case is valid.

    Most states have a two to four-year deadline for filing such claims. But you should not assume anything or get too comfortable. Instead, get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options and all applicable deadlines.

  • How Much Compensation Will I Recover if I Win the Claim or Lawsuit?

    There is no standard compensation for a car accident claim or lawsuit. It all depends on the unique circumstances of your case. An experienced attorney can give you a rough idea of the kind of settlement to expect if you win the case. However, they will first need to evaluate your case to determine whether it is valid.

  • What Is the Cost of Hiring a Car Accident Attorney?

    The cost varies from one attorney to another. At Morgan and Morgan, we offer a free, no-obligation case evaluation. And if your case is valid and you would like us to represent you, you will only pay us if we win.

  • Is Your Car Totaled After an Accident? We Can Help

    Morgan and Morgan can fight for you if your car has been totaled after an accident, even if your car is totaled but still drivable. Besides obtaining compensation for the vehicle's actual value, we can also help you get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning potential, pain and suffering, and so much more.

    Ready to claim what is rightfully yours? Fill out our free case evaluation form to get started.

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