What is Total Loss?
In car accident cases, Georgia does not have a formal legal definition of “total loss.” But insurance companies often use this term to decide whether they will fix a vehicle or replace it.
Most insurance companies will pay you the cost to replace the car if it is a total loss. A car accident attorney can assist you in determining how much it will cost to replace your car when you file your claim.
How to Define Total Loss
After a car wreck, if your car is a “total loss,” it can no longer be repaired. This also means the cost of damages is the same or exceeds the value of the car.
Most of the time, when a car is totaled:
- The insurance company scraps the car for its parts
- The car is in such bad shape that it’s just trash
When a Car is a Total Loss, What Happens?
Georgia law doesn’t specifically say what a “total loss” is, but it does say what an insurance company can do if a car is a “total loss.” There are two options for what the insurance company can do.
Pay the Same Amount in Cash as the Car is Worth
The cash equivalent value is the difference between the cost of the car and any insurance deductibles that apply. With that money, you should be able to buy a car made by the same company, from the same model year, with the same options, mileage, and body style.
This value should also include taxes, license fees, and any other costs you would have to pay if you bought another car. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters don’t always remember to include these necessary fees in the amount they pay you for your claim, which is why it’s important to have a car accident lawyer to help.
Replace the Car That's Been Insured
The insurance company can also choose to buy you a new car outright. The new car must be almost the same as the one that was totaled, with the same make and model and as close to the same number of miles as possible.
Most insurance companies will give you money to pay for a new car instead of taking the time and trouble to look for one for you.
If My Car is a Total Loss, What Happens to It?
If your car is totaled, the insurance company will usually take steps to get rid of it or junk it. But if you still want to keep the car after the insurance company says it is a total loss, it might be possible to do so.
You should be able to persuade the insurance company that you should get a check without salvaging the vehicle, but that depends on the insurance company.
What Needs to Be Done if I Get a Salvage Title?
If you get a salvage title, you’ll have to fix the car and send it to the State of Georgia for review to ensure it’s safe to drive. This can be frustrating, but it is possible.
If your car is totaled, it doesn’t hurt to ask your insurance company about your options.
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at The Brown Firm
If you have been injured in an auto accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Brown Firm offer free consultations to accident victims in Georgia and South Carolina. Call 800-529-1441 to speak with our personal injury team today!
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