Can You Keep Your Car After An Accident?

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    Consider this scenario: You find yourself in the aftershock of a collision, and the official decision concerning your car from your insurance provider lands with considerable weight—your cherished vehicle has been designated a total loss. This declaration is undoubtedly disheartening, and you frustratedly think, “What do I do? Can I still keep my car?”.

    Led by famous attorney Arash Khorsandi, Esq., our lawyers assist clients in managing the intricacies of total loss claims, guaranteeing they obtain the rightful compensation they are entitled to. Contact us for expert counsel and steadfast assistance during this challenging time.

    Before weighing your choices, consider that some considerations can rescue your vehicle from the ominous salvage yard. It is important to note that this path is not without risks and requires meticulous attention to vital factors you must not overlook.

    Your car may be declared a “total loss” by your auto insurance company after substantial damage from a collision. This label typically gets slapped on when the repair costs spiral past the car’s actual market value or breach a certain percentage. Fear not, though. If your car insurance policy includes comprehensive and collision coverage, a total loss is covered, and you’re in line for a payout matching the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV).

    Here’s where it gets intriguing. If you find yourself locked in a dispute with your insurance company that is convinced your four-wheeled companion is worth more than their evaluation, you can challenge their verdict. But brace yourself because this endeavor demands more than just words. You need to consider negotiations with your insurer, the insight of your appraiser, and even legal representation to champion your cause. Fortunately, Arash Law has experienced car accident attorneys who can help you gather compelling evidence to support your case.

    What Does It Mean When A Car Is Totaled?

    What Does It Mean When A Car Is Totaled

    Typically, when your car sustains significant damage, it may be deemed a total loss if the cost of repairs exceeds its pre-damage value. After you report the incident to your insurance company, they will assess your car’s worth and the anticipated repair expenses. If the repair costs surpass a certain percentage of the car’s value, your insurer will classify it as a total loss. Some insurers might declare a car a total loss even if repair costs are lower. To understand how your car’s value was determined, you can inquire about the source your insurance company used.

    In addition, certain states have introduced a concept called a total-loss threshold. This represents a fixed percentage at which, based on state regulations, a car must be declared a total loss. In California, a total loss is determined based on the state’s specific calculation method. According to this formula, a vehicle is deemed totaled when the sum of the repair expenses, combined with the vehicle’s salvage value, equals or exceeds the car’s actual cash value (ACV).

    When your insurer determines your car to be a total loss, it will compensate you for its actual cash value (ACV) minus any deductible specified in your policy. Insurance companies calculate ACV using industry-standard formulas, but the payout is typically less than what you initially paid for the car, even if it’s relatively new. However, if you have optional coverage like new car replacement, you’ll receive enough compensation to replace your car with a similar make and model.

    In most regions, if the car isn’t sent to the scrapyard, it ends up in a salvage yard. Once your insurer designates your vehicle as a total loss, it receives a salvage title, indicating it’s a damaged car. Your insurance company determines the ACV by considering factors such as the car’s make, model, mileage, condition, and options, then issues you a payment. Subsequently, the insurer auctions off the salvaged vehicle to recover its salvage value.

    What If You Believe Your Car Is Worth More?

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your insurance company has declared your beloved car a total loss, but you strongly believe it is worth more and can be repaired? If so, you have the right to challenge your insurance company’s decision, but it’s essential to be well-prepared and armed with evidence to support your case. Here are some steps you can take if you find yourself in this situation:

    Step 1: Negotiate with Your Insurer

    If you’re convinced that your car’s value exceeds the assessment made by your insurance company, it’s time to gather evidence. The information may include recent photographs of your vehicle, proof of meticulous maintenance, and data on the selling prices of similar cars in your local area. These pieces of evidence can help you build a compelling case when negotiating with your insurer.

    Step 2: Seek an Independent Appraisal

    Consider getting an independent car appraisal from a reputable autobody repair shop. Presenting this appraisal to your insurance company can be a game-changer. An independent assessment may demonstrate that your car is worth more than your insurer initially offered, which could lead to an improved settlement offer.

    Step 3: Consult with an Attorney

    If negotiations with your insurer don’t yield a satisfactory result, you can hire legal representation and take your insurance company to court. However, you must weigh the costs involved in pursuing this course of action. Legal consultations alone can come with expenses, so assess whether they’re financially viable. Experienced car accident attorneys from Arash Law understand the importance of cost-effectiveness in pursuing justice, so we offer a complimentary case evaluation to help you make an informed decision about your legal options.

    Remember that your car’s condition, maintenance history, and any mechanical improvements you’ve made will play a significant role in your argument. The age and mileage of your vehicle are also essential factors to consider when making your case.

    Following these steps and presenting a well-supported argument can save your car from being declared a total loss if you believe it’s worth more than your insurer initially determined.

    Where Should I Tow My Car After An Accident?

    here Should I Tow My Car After An Accident?

    After an accident, if your car is still in drivable condition and you’re physically able to operate it safely, there’s usually no immediate need to arrange for a tow. However, if you decide that towing is the most prudent choice, there are three key options to consider.

    1. Get your car towed to your residence.

      In an accident, you may have your car towed to your residence. Your vehicle can be securely parked in your garage or driveway this way. However, some cities and towns have specific regulations regarding street parking, so you might get fined if it is forbidden in your area.

    2. Take your car to a body shop for repairs.

      For those individuals who wish to expedite the repair process following an accident, you can have your vehicle towed directly to the auto body shop of your preference. If you choose this route, it’s essential to inform the auto body shop in advance that you intend to drop off your car. Furnish them with comprehensive information about your vehicle and the specifics of the accident. Maintaining open communication with the auto body shop is critical to ensure they receive your car promptly and can commence repair work without delay.

    3. Impound your car or store it in a storage facility.

      Alternatively, you can have your car towed to an impound lot or storage yard after an accident. The storage facility allows you to keep your vehicle for as long as necessary, but daily storage fees may apply.

    What If You Still Want to Keep Your Car

    Suppose you’re determined to retain ownership of your vehicle even after your insurance company deems it totaled. In that case, you need to know that they will typically provide you with the current cash value of your vehicle. From this amount, they will deduct any applicable deductibles specified in your policy, as well as the salvage value of the vehicle. If you still have an outstanding loan on the vehicle with a lender, the insurance company will subtract that amount and transmit it directly to the lender. Any remaining funds will be issued to you in the form of a check.

    It’s a good practice to request a copy of the payment information sent by your insurer to the lender. It ensures accuracy in financial transactions. In case you find yourself in a situation where you still owe money on the vehicle, it’s advisable to review your automobile insurance policy to check if it includes GAP insurance. It is often part of an agreement when purchasing a new vehicle that bridges the “gap” between what you owe the lender and the amount the insurance company provides.

    If you’re sentimentally attached to your car, and your state regulations permit it, you can negotiate with your insurer to retain possession of your cherished wreck. Your insurance carrier will assess your accident claim in the same manner as if you were not keeping the vehicle, but the car’s salvage value will reduce the settlement amount. This way, you can hold onto your treasured vehicle, albeit with a diminished settlement amount.

    If A Car Is Declared A Total Loss, Can You Still Drive It?

    If A Car Is Declared A Total Loss

    If you’re contemplating bringing your totaled car home, it’s crucial to understand that it won’t be roadworthy legally. Once a vehicle obtains a salvage title, you must arrange for its repair and inspection by state authorities before it can be declared “rebuilt.” Additionally, it’s important to note that many insurance companies need help to provide car coverage with rebuilt titles. Therefore, it’s wise to carefully weigh these considerations before taking your totaled car home.

    When your car remains operable after an accident, you might be tempted to continue using it while awaiting repairs. While this can be a safe and legal choice in some cases (such as a minor dent in the rear bumper), there are instances where specific types of damage can render your car both unsafe and potentially in violation of the law. Here are a few examples of such damage:

    • Windshield cracks that obstruct or impair your field of vision.
    • Doors, trunks, or hoods that fail to latch securely.
    • Damage that impacts or threatens the integrity of the engine or gas tank.
    • Missing bumpers.
    • Jagged or sharp edges that could pose a safety hazard.

    It’s essential to exercise caution and prioritize safety when determining whether it’s acceptable to continue driving your vehicle following an accident.

    After A Car Accident, Who Should You Seek Assistance From?

    Our team of seasoned car accident lawyers in California is dedicated to simplifying this process for you. We are well-versed in handling the intricacies that follow a car crash, from negotiating with insurance companies to addressing the inconveniences of vehicle recovery and, most importantly, securing a fair settlement on your behalf.

    Our practice encompasses various areas of personal injury law, including navigating challenging car accident cases on California’s roads. We are delighted to extend our services to numerous locations throughout California, including Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, Bakersfield, Fresno, Anaheim, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Ana, Oceanside, Santa Rosa, Glendale, Fremont, San Bernardino, and Visalia, among others. Our dedicated legal team operates 24/7, ensuring our accessibility whenever you need our support.

    You should focus on your recovery while we attend to the legal intricacies. With a track record that boasts over $500 Million recovered for our valued clients, we’re here to redefine what it means to seek justice, and our success rates speak volumes. Contact Arash Law, led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq., today at (888) 488-1391 for a free case evaluation. We invite you to explore further if you want to learn more about the steps involved in retrieving your vehicle and safeguarding your legal rights after an accident.

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    DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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