If you’ve been involved in a car accident, damage to your vehicle is just one thing you now have to worry about. Repairs can be costly, but what happens if the insurance company has deemed your car a total loss? You may need a car accident lawyer to help you. Here are some tips for what to do when your car has been deemed a loss.
Who’s Paying For It?
Determining who pays for the accident depends on which insurance company is paying for damages incurred in the accident—yours or the other drivers. Since Tennessee is an at-fault state, if the other driver was found at fault or negligent in the accident, they hold liability and their insurer is required to pay.
However, it’s possible that you have collision coverage, which may cover damage to your vehicle regardless of liability. If you are at fault in an accident, you can make a claim against your collision coverage to pay for damages. Many people do not have collision coverage, as it can be very expensive, so if the other driver is at fault, it will most likely be up to their insurer to pay for the repairs.
Remember that no matter who was at fault in a car accident, the insurer responsible for paying is only required to pay up to the coverage stipulated in the policy limits. This means that, if your car incurs $10,000 worth of damage but the insurance policy only covers up to $5,000, the smaller amount is going to be put towards paying for your repairs.
This is where having collision coverage comes in especially handy. If you are not at fault in an accident but the liable party’s insurance doesn’t cover your full damages, your collision coverage can be used to cover the remainder of the costs.
A “Total Loss”
Next, the insurance company will inspect the car before coming up with an estimate for the repair costs. They may deem your car a total loss, meaning repairs would cost more than the car is worth. In these cases, they are only required to pay you the fair market value of your car, even if you still owe more on the car in loans than it would be worth in the salesroom.
The value of the car also refers to the current Blue Book value—not the amount it was worth at the time of purchase. It is also allowed for the insurer to take your totaled car and try to resell it on a secondary market as a means to recoup some of the losses. It’s not likely that you will be able to convince an insurer to let you keep your damaged car, but you can try.
Disagreement Over Valuation
If you’ve found that you and the insurer are at odds over their assessment of the damages, you can either accept their estimate, attempt a negotiation, or file a lawsuit. In the event that you would like to make a claim against an insurer, you will need a good car accident lawyer on your side. A qualified car accident lawyer will be able to assess the situation efficiently and help you collect damages you deserve. If you’re located in the Nashville, TN area, be sure to contact Mitch Grissim & Associates today.