When Is a Car Considered Totaled?

Car accidents are scary. They're loud. They're uncontrollable. And there is the potential for a wide variety of losses, both physical and financial. There is a lot you’ll need to figure out after a car accident. Dealing with insurance companies is a huge part of this process.

One of the major concerns after an accident is the state of your vehicle. Did it sustain damage? And if so, how extensive is it?

There are a lot of factors in the payout you are eligible to receive from the insurance company after a car accident. It’s important to remember that it’s in the insurance companies best interest to offer you as little money as possible after an accident.

This is where a car wreck attorney like the professionals at Bart Durham Injury Law come in. We’ll fight to make sure you get what you deserve after an accident, whether your vehicle is considered totaled or not.

But what does this mean? And when is a car considered to be totaled?

What Does It Mean?

One of the worst pieces of news a person can receive after a car wreck is that their car is considered to be totaled, otherwise known as a “total loss.” Essentially, this means the insurance company doesn’t consider your car to be worth fixing.

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How Is This Determined?

This is calculated based on how much the car is considered to be worth. This number is what’s referred to as the actual cash value (ACV) of the vehicle. The ACV would be how much you could realistically get for your car if you were to sell it at the time of the accident. This is calculated by taking the original price of the vehicle and subtracting any depreciating factors. Possible considerations include age, damage, mileage, or anything else that would bring down the value of your vehicle.

These numbers can come from the Kelley Blue Book listing for the make and model of the vehicle. Local similar vehicles for sale can be factored into coming up with ACV as well. There are a few ways insurance companies will determine this number.

The damaged vehicle will be taken to a mechanic to determine the extent of the necessary repairs. This will produce a quote for the cost of the repairs.

This quote and the ACV will determine if your vehicle is considered totaled. The two numbers will be calculated to determine the total loss ratio (TLR).

Different states have different thresholds for considering a car totaled, but both Kentucky and Tennessee will consider a car a total loss if the repairs are over 75% of the ACV.

So for example, say a car is considered to have an ACV of $10,000. This car is struck and sustained ample damage to the frame. The car might be able to physically move, but the repairs to the frame are going to cost $7,500. This will give the vehicle a TLR of 75%.

This car will be considered totaled in Kentucky and Tennessee.

What Happens Next?

A totaled car isn’t allowed to be driven without the necessary repairs being completed. But the reality is that these repairs are likely to be expensive. The insurance company will usually take control of the vehicle after it is determined to be a total loss.

The owner will be able to remove any personal items from the vehicle and retrieve the license plates. After that, the insurance company will usually take the vehicle to a salvage auction.

This is not the only option, even though it is the most popular outcome. You are able to retain ownership of your vehicle, however the insurance company will estimate the amount of money it could have gotten for the car from the salvage auction and deduct it from your payout.

The title of the car will likely have to be changed to a salvage title, which means it is not legal to operate the vehicle until the necessary repairs are made.

How Can A Car Wreck Attorney Help?

The ACV assigned to your value will occasionally seem lower than you believe it to be. It’s not impossible for a vehicle to be valued lower than what the owner still owes on their car loan. The vehicle owner can challenge the ACV in writing with supporting evidence for their claim. This can lead to a court date if the insurance company refuses to change their offer.

An experienced car wreck attorney will know the proper arguments and rebuttals to anything the insurance claims about their offer. This can be a great help to get you the payment you deserve.

Contact Bart Durham Injury Law For Help In Kentucky and Middle Tennessee

Have you been involved in a car accident in Kentucky or middle Tennessee? Call the professionals at Bart Durham Injury Law for an experienced car wreck attorney. We can help you get the compensation you deserve!

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