Car Totaled Not At Fault
Car Totaled Not At Fault
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Car Totaled Not At Fault
Experiencing an accident in which your car is totaled can be frustrating and stressful. You may not know how to recover a fair settlement for your vehicle and other damages, such as medical expenses and wage loss. However, if you are not at fault for a totaled car, you could be entitled to an insurance settlement or sue the responsible party for damages.
Morgan & Morgan has helped car accident victims for over three decades recover the compensation they need and deserve. Our tenacious car accident lawyers fight hard for the injured every day and want to help you get a fair settlement for your totaled vehicle and other losses. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation case review.
Who Is Responsible for Your Car Damage and Other Losses?
You could be entitled to compensation from the responsible party when you are not at fault for a car accident. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your crash, responsible parties can include:
Other drivers might be responsible for your totaled car and other damages if they caused your accident. Careless and dangerous driving causes most accidents in the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Common reckless driving behaviors include:
- Excessive speeding
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving distracted or fatigued
- Breaking traffic laws
Depending on your state’s laws, you could be entitled to a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance after a car crash. You could also file a lawsuit to recover damages.
If your car was totaled and you were hurt due to the recklessness of another driver, our auto accident attorneys could assist you with recovering the settlement you need.
A Government Entity
If your accident happened due to bad road design or disrepair, you could have a claim against a local government entity. Common examples of poor road conditions that could lead to totaled cars include:
- Large potholes and cracks in the road
- Missing signage or road markings
- Missing guardrails
- Debris and objects in the road
- Poor road design
You may also be able to hold your local government to account if you were involved in a crash with a government vehicle.
Proving that poor road design or road defects caused your crash and recovering compensation from the government can be tricky. Moreover, government parties have some liability protection, potentially complicating a legal claim. However, if your car was totaled and you were injured due to the negligence of a government entity, our attorneys could help you seek compensation.
A Car Manufacturer
Not all accidents occur due to the negligence of other drivers or poor road conditions. According to the NHTSA, about two percent of car crashes result from car defects, such as:
- Malfunctioning breaks
- Faulty wheels
- Problems with steering
- Defective airbags and seat belts
You would not be at fault if your car is totaled due to a manufacturing error or a defective car part. Therefore, you could qualify for compensation from the responsible manufacturer.
What Does Totaled Mean?
When your car is damaged in an accident, the insurance company will look at your car’s worth and how much it would cost to repair it. If the repair cost is around the same or higher than the value of your vehicle, insurers typically consider the car “totaled.” In most states, a car is considered a total loss when the damage is more than 65-75 percent of the vehicle’s market value.
What You Should Do When Car Totaled Not at Fault
If your car is totaled due to someone else’s fault, you should make a claim as soon as possible to recover your accident-related losses. Here are your best next steps:
Get Your Car Towed to a Repair Shop
One of your first steps after a crash should be to get the car damage assessed by a professional repair shop. While you may use a repair shop of your choice, using one approved by the insurance company can simplify your claims process significantly. The repair shop will directly communicate with the insurance adjuster and forward a repair estimate. The adjuster will then decide whether your car is a total loss.
File a Claim
You could be entitled to an insurance settlement if your car is totaled. Contact your insurance company promptly after the crash and file a claim. You should also file a claim with the insurer of the driver who caused your accident and totaled your car.
Gather the Critical Documents
To increase your chances of recovering an adequate settlement, you must provide evidence of your accident-related expenses and losses. Gather all the required paperwork, such as title documents and receipts for any upgrades and repairs.
Research Your Car’s ACV
Your vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV) is what your insurer will pay you when your car is totaled. Since insurance companies try to get away with paying as little as possible, you should do your research to determine your car’s ACV and prevent getting underpaid.
The first step in determining the ACV of your vehicle is to research what you would pay to replace your car with a similar one. Try to find cars with the same or similar:
- Year and make
- Trim level
You can find car sales information at local dealerships, dealership websites, and Autotrader. The Kelley Blue Book can also be an excellent resource for determining the ACV of your vehicle.
Consult a Car Accident Lawyer
After an accident, getting what you deserve from an insurance company can be challenging. However, you could have other options for getting an adequate settlement. If someone else totaled your vehicle, you could sue them and recover damages such as property repair or replacement, medical bills, income loss, and others.
Our dedicated car accident attorneys can advocate for you, protect your legal rights, negotiate with insurance companies, and move forward with a lawsuit on your behalf.
You Could Be Entitled to Compensation
If your car is totaled in an accident, you will likely have other damages and losses, such as medical costs and lost wages. If someone else is liable for your car accident, you could receive the following damages with a successful insurance claim or lawsuit:
- Medical expenses and future healthcare costs
- Lost wages and future loss of income
- Replacement or repair of property destroyed in the crash
- Costs of transportation, such as rental car expenses
- Awards for physical and emotional pain and suffering
A Morgan & Morgan car accident attorney can calculate the worth of your claim and help you prove your damages.
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Who Pays for My Totaled Car When I Am Not at Fault?
Usually, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying for your totaled car and other accident-related losses. However, getting the true value of your claim can be challenging. Moreover, if the other driver in your crash and their insurance company dispute that they are at fault, you could have a fight on your hands.
If you struggle to recover the settlement you deserve, a car accident attorney can walk you through your options and file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Do I Have to Pay a Deductible When Someone Else Totals My Car?
The deductible is typically a fixed dollar amount you must pay for any losses before the insurance coverage kicks in. However, in most states, you would not have to pay the deductible when your car is a total loss, and you are not at fault for the crash. The at-fault driver’s insurer should cover all your accident-related losses, including any deductibles you would be responsible for if you were at fault for the accident.
Can I Buy a New Car From My Insurance Settlement?
Unfortunately, the responsible insurance company will not buy you a new car or pay any outstanding amounts on your car loan. Therefore, whether you can afford a new car with your insurance settlement will depend on the value of the totaled vehicle, whether you still owe on the car loan, and your insurance coverage.
Insurers often try to get away with paying as little as possible. Morgan & Morgan knows that every dollar counts when you need to replace your totaled car. Our attorneys can protect you and ensure an insurance company is not shortchanging you.
Can I Sue the At-Fault Party for Totaling My Car?
Suing someone personally for the damages sustained in a car crash may be the only way to get what you deserve, particularly if your insurance settlement is nowhere near enough to cover your losses. If you decide to sue the at-fault driver personally, you should get a seasoned car accident lawyer in your corner as soon as possible, as the time to file a claim may be limited.
To prevail in a car accident lawsuit, you must prove the fault and liability of the at-fault party. You must show that:
- The responsible party had a duty of care
- They breached the duty of care, for example, by speeding
- The crash was a direct result of the breach
- You suffered damages, such as a totaled car, medical expenses, and others
While laws vary slightly from state to state, all drivers have a duty of care towards other road users and should use reasonable care and attention on the road. If a driver breaches their duty, for example, by driving intoxicated or distracted, you could hold them accountable for your losses.
Can I Negotiate With the Insurer for a Higher Settlement Amount?
You are under no obligation to accept the first settlement offer from an insurer. In fact, doing so could be a mistake and leave you out of pocket. Insurance companies try to get away as cheaply as possible, and the first settlement offer is typically too low.
If you want a higher settlement for your totaled car, presenting proof of any extras and upgrades you installed can be helpful. In some instances, hiring your own appraiser to determine the value of your totaled car could also pay off.
If you are still deciding whether the settlement offer from your insurer is fair, contact an attorney before signing on the dotted line. Morgan & Morgan could protect you from an insurer’s attempt to minimize your settlement.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Totaled Not at Fault Claim?
You may not need an attorney if you receive a fair settlement for your totaled car and suffer no injuries or other losses in the crash. However, most car accident lawyers offer free consultations, allowing you to seek legal advice before accepting an insurance settlement.
However, hiring an attorney can be critical for your case if you:
- Suffered significant injuries
- Have steep medical expenses
- Had your insurance claim refused or reduced
- Have some fault for the accident
- Lack adequate insurance cover for your losses
Don’t Struggle Alone
Identifying your next best steps when your car is totaled due to another’s negligence or recklessness can be challenging. If an insurer gives you the run-around, you are stuck with your expenses, or you have suffered significant injuries, don’t go it alone. We understand that losing your car and getting hurt in an accident can turn your life upside down. However, Morgan & Morgan could help you get your life back on track.
Our determined car accident attorneys can be your shoulder to lean on in your time of need and help you get the settlement you deserve. You pay nothing until we recover compensation for you. Get America’s largest personal injury firm in your corner today, and contact us for a free and confidential consultation to discover your legal options.