Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia crash lawyer’

When is a Car Declared a Total Loss in a West Virginia Crash?

Motor vehicle accidents can cause expensive and devastating damage to individuals. After a crash causes an injury, getting compensation for the medical bills, loss of wages and pain and suffering is a top priority.

A personal injury lawyer can assist with the process of recovering monetary damages after a negligent driver causes a collision.

Crashes inevitably cause property damage as well. In cases where your vehicle is greatly damaged, property damage claims will be handled through an insurer.

Recovering money from your insurance company for a damaged vehicle can be a hassle. The insurer is supposed to pay for the cost of repairs if the vehicle is fixable. If the car cannot be repaired, the insurer should pay for the replacement value of the car.

Unfortunately, sometimes the insurer will decide your car cannot be fixed. In these cases, you are to be compensated for the value of the “totaled” vehicle. However, you will not necessarily be able to obtain enough money to replace the car with something comparable.

When is a Vehicle a Total Loss?

If the insurance company decides your vehicle is too damaged to be eligible to be repaired, the insurer may declare the vehicle to be a total loss. This happens if the cost of repairs would exceed the actual value of the vehicle. However, according to Claims Journal, this is not the only situation in which an insurance company will make the decision to declare that the car is a total loss.

If the insurer does not believe that repair is a practical option,  the insurance company will make the decision that the car should be “totaled.” This can happen especially with lower valued cars. For example, if a car is valued at just $4,000 and the cost to repair the vehicle would be $3,000, the insurance company may decide that it is not worth paying 75 percent of the replacement cost just to repair the car.

When the insurer totals the vehicle, the insurance company takes possession of the car and obtains a salvage title. The insurer can then sell the car as a salvage vehicle. If the insured driver wants to keep the car for any reason, the insured’s payout would be reduced by the amount that the insurer would have gotten at salvage.

The insured doesn’t get to decide how the damaged car will be classified. If the insurance company makes the choice the car should be totaled, then the insured will have to accept a payment for the replacement value.

This can be an issue if it is difficult for the insured driver to actually find another vehicle that he can buy for the amount of money that is being offered. It can also be a problem when the insured has a new car, which depreciates in value very quickly.

The insured may not be able to find a similar new car for the cost that the insurer provides. While an insured can’t typically decide if he wants the car totaled, it is sometimes possible to convince an insurance company to pay more than the initial offer for a totaled car. Doing this requires the aid of an experienced crash attorney.

Contact a West Virginia accident attorney at the Recht Law Offices.  Call 1-800-487-8546 today for a free consultation or visit