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What If My Car Is A Total Loss After An Accident?

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Suffering a car accident is one of the most affecting experiences of a person’s life, often causing extreme emotional and physical turmoil, not to mention to damage suffered by your vehicle. When you make an insurance claim following a car accident, it’s possible your insurance company will declare your vehicle a total loss, possibly leaving you in a very vulnerable financial position. This leaves the question, what should you do if your car is declared a total loss? If your insurance company declares your car a total loss, you have a few potential options, including hiring a car accident lawyer to re-negotiate your claim.

Whose Insurance Covers the Damage?

The primary concern of most people involved in a serious car accident is whose insurer will cover the costs of the accident. Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t always cut and dried, often depending on both the circumstances of your accident and the state in which it occurred. Some states fall under the category of no fault insurers, meaning your insurer will at least partially cover damages regardless of fault.

Other states, however, are governed by traditional fault rules where you will only receive a payout if you weren’t at fault in your accident. Understanding your state’s insurance rules should be your first step following a car accident.

How Large of a Payout Can I Get?

Following car accident, it’s important to understand the payout you receive will depend somewhat on how much insurance coverage you or the other driver purchased prior to the accident. For the sake of clarification, imagine this scenario: You are in an accident that results in $8,000 damage to your car, but the at fault driver’s insurance has a cap of $5,000. What this means, in practical terms, is that you will be responsible for funding the remaining $3,000 necessary to repair your vehicle.  However, sadly, not every driver will have insurance, which can put you in a very vulnerable situation.

Make sure that you purchase enough coverage to protect against typical car accident damage and prevent financial disaster.

Declaring Total Loss and Fighting the Decision

When your car is declared a total loss by your insurer, it means they have deemed it financially unfeasible to attempt repairs, and will instead pay you fair market value for your car. Unfortunately, receiving fair market value isn’t always enough, particularly if you are still paying out a car loan. For example, if the fair market value of your car is $10,000 and there is still $15,000 remaining on your car loan, you will have to pay out of pocket the $5,000 difference. When you add in the cost of buying a new vehicle, your financial situation can quickly spiral out of control.

Once your insurer declares your car a total loss, you have a few options to choose from. To begin with, obviously, you can accept their decision and take the payout, even if it’s not what you would have wanted. Secondly, you can try to re-negotiate with your insurance company to get a more advantageous settlement. Finally, and perhaps most effectively, you can hire a car accident lawyer to represent your interest. A South Carolina personal injury lawyer will be able to effectively handle your insurer’s legal team and fight for the payout that you deserve.

Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer

Having your vehicle declared a total loss following a car accident can be a very difficult situation, especially if you don’t get the payout you need. Instead of settling for the insurance company’s first offer, you should fight for your compensation with the help of a car accident lawyer from Harris & Graves. Serving multiple areas of South Carolina, the personal injury attorneys at Harris & Graves will handle your case and negotiate with the insurers until you get the settlement that you need to move on with your life. Schedule a consultation with us today.