According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), when you total your car in a collision, this means that the cost to repair your car and restore it to its pre-accident condition is greater than the actual value of your car. The insurance company representing you or the one representing the at-fault driver may rely on one of two recognized sources to determine the value of your car just prior to the accident:
- Kelley Blue Book
- National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Guides
You do not have to accept the values these books provide without your own input. Your lawyer might be able to help you prove the true value of your car if any enhancements or improvements might increase its value. You also have the right to an independent evaluation and estimate of your car’s worth. Your legal team may help you understand how to value your car as part of your compensation package after a car accident.
Replacing Your Totaled Car Is Only the Beginning
The cost of repairing or replacing your damaged or destroyed vehicle is only one type of financial compensation you might be entitled to collect. According to the California Civil Code (CIV) §1431.2, you might also be entitled to the financial recovery of the following verifiable economic damages:
- Current and anticipated medical expenses
- Current and anticipated loss of earnings
- Funeral and burial costs, if applicable
- Necessary in-home medical care
- In-home substitute domestic services
Calculating the cost of your economic damages typically involves ensuring all accident-related expenses are known. Once your accident-related bills are received, your legal team can help you tally these expenses.
You might also be entitled to the following recoverable noneconomic damages:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional suffering
- Inconvenience and loss of consortium
- Loss of society and companionship
Assigning a value to your noneconomic damages can be a much more complex undertaking. Your legal team may help you understand the methods used to determine the monetary value of the noneconomic portion of your compensation claim or lawsuit. Their goal might be to ensure your case is not undervalued or underpaid due to a miscalculation.
Your Car Accident Report May Support Your Claim
Your legal team may request a copy of your car accident report. The report might have notes on the condition of your car in the aftermath of the accident. It might contain witness statements, which might help confirm your car’s pre-accident appearance. Your car accident report might also note the points of impact on your car and whether the airbags were deployed.
Your car accident report might state whether your car was struck head-on, side-swiped, or rear-ended and whether the car overturned from the force of the impact. It might also contain details on the size and weight of the other involved car. Your lawyer may use these details to prove the total loss of your car and establish your right to financial recovery if the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the accident.
Your Chance to Pursue Compensation Has a Time Limit
If a person decides to bring a lawsuit after getting injured in a car accident in Los Angeles, their case must comply with California’s statute of limitations. In keeping with the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1, plaintiffs generally have two years from the date of their accidents to file personal injury lawsuits for financial compensation.
Should you fail to comply with the statute of limitations, your potential lawsuit might be at risk of immediate dismissal. If your lawsuit was filed late and is subsequently dismissed, you may no longer have the ability to pursue the at-fault driver for monetary compensation of your accident-related expenses.
In addition, if a member of your family was fatally injured in a Los Angeles car accident, certain surviving family members might qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit also must be filed by the two-year filing deadline. Your legal team may ensure your case is filed within the allotted time and according to the relevant statute.
Get Compensation for Your Totaled Car
When you get injured and your car gets damaged in an accident, the at-fault driver or their insurance company might be responsible for compensating you. If the insurance company declares your car a total loss, you might be able to receive a monetary award to replace your vehicle.
Contact the claim assessment team at the Jacoby & Meyers Law Offices by calling (866) 559-7223 to find out what it means when you total your car and who bears financial liability for replacing it.