When someone says their car was totaled in an accident, most people imagine a smoking wreck of a vehicle damaged beyond repair. The term “totaled” has become incorrectly synonymous over the years with an extremely damaged vehicle, but this term simply means that the insurance company has declared the vehicle as not worth repairing. While a totaled car very well may fit the description that most people imagine, it does not always have to.
An insurance company may calculate how much repairs will cost and compare those to the overall value of the car. If the repairs will cost more than the estimated value, the insurance company will declare it as totaled. When this happens, it’s important to make sure the insurance company compensates you fairly. Knowing what your options are when your car is totaled will ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
What To Do if Your Car Is Totaled In An Accident
It cannot be overstated: the first thing you should do if you have been in an accident is to seek immediate medical attention, even if you don’t feel like you have sustained any injuries. There are all kinds of soft tissue and other injuries that may not present with symptoms right away, and receiving medical treatment as soon as possible can be the difference between a short-term healing process and a lifelong disability.
If you do not seek medical attention after an accident and you proceed to file a personal injury claim, an insurance company can easily fight your claim and use the fact that you did not seek medical treatment as proof your injuries were not that serious. Only after tending to your injuries should you follow these steps:
- Notify your insurance agent
- Set up temporary transportation
- Consider speaking with an experienced car accident attorney
Some states, including Maryland, set a total-loss threshold, which is a fixed number at which a vehicle must be considered a total loss. In Maryland, that number is 75%. This means that if the damages to your vehicle exceed 75% of the total value of the car, the insurance company will declare it totaled.
My Insurance Company Has Declared My Vehicle Totaled – Now What?
Don’t get discouraged! If your insurance company has declared your vehicle a total loss, you still have options. Assuming you have automotive insurance, you will be paid the actual cash value of your vehicle minus the deductible on your insurance. If you purchased new car replacement coverage, you will be paid enough money to replace your vehicle with something of a similar make and model. If your vehicle was declared totaled by your insurance company, but you disagree with their assessment, you may take the following steps:
- Negotiate with your insurer
- Get an independent appraisal
- Hire a car accident attorney
If you believe your car to be worth more than what your insurance company declared, you are entitled to negotiate that amount with your insurance company. Just be aware that you will need to provide evidence to support your claim. Evidence may include recent photos of your vehicle, proof that it was properly maintained, as well as detailed information about the prices that similar cars were sold for in your area.
Contact an Attorney Right Away
Don’t try to navigate these situations alone, here at Zirkin and Schmerling, our Maryland car accident lawyers prioritize our clients and make sure they understand the steps in the legal process. We pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve in car accident cases.
Contact us or call us at (410) 753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced accident lawyers today.