If you have been in a car accident in Weston and your vehicle suffered severe damage, you may need the services of a Weston car accident lawyer like the professionals at Martin, Lister & Alvarez. For most people, their car represents a major investment and if an insurance company wants to “total your car” they may use tactics to give you less than you are due.
In most states, the law specifies how an insurance company has to calculate claims for totaled vehicles. In North Carolina for example, the cost of repairing the vehicle must exceed 75% of the retail value of your car before they declare it totaled. In Florida, the method of determining a “totaled” loss is determined by the terms of the policy. There are no specific laws about how a car is deemed totaled.
However, your replacement (or repair) claim check must be based on the price of two like-model cars for sale in your area (in the last 90 days). In addition, the blue book value and the estimated retail price from a minimum of two car dealers in your area has to be considered.
At the end of the day, it’s the adjuster who makes the call. Did he offer a fair deal? How would you know for certain if he did?
How to Value Your Car When it has Been Totaled in an Accident
Actually, there are a number of resources available to you that can offer reasonable estimates on what your car was worth before it was totaled. Kelly Blue Book (KBB.com) and Edmunds (Edmunds.com) can both provide values based on your local market. As detailed as these sites are, they may still not reflect the value of your car.
For example, if you recently bought a set of new tires, or a new radiator, or had an upgraded audio system installed, these are items that typically will not be reflected in a database, yours or the adjuster’s. Gather receipts for all these improvements and use them to negotiate a bigger check! In Florida, your replacement or repair check has to include the cost of sales tax as well.
Generally speaking, the insurance company has the upper hand. They know you need transportation and if you disagree with the amount they are willing to pay they can just drag the process out until you agree by necessity.
If you reach this point, you may want to engage a personal injury attorney who specializes in auto accidents to handle the negotiations for you. This is particularly true if you were injured in the accident. In the bigger scheme of things, auto claims are small potatoes for insurance companies and they do not want to have to use legal resources to settle a “totaled” claim.
There is another option as well and that’s having the car repaired and then filing a diminished value claim. An experienced Weston car accident lawyer can help you decide if that’s a right strategy for you.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the friendly staff at Martin, Lister & Alverez today.