A car accident only takes a second to occur, yet it takes days, weeks, months, and sometimes years to pick up the pieces. A majority of the calls placed to the Personal Injury Department at The Dellutri Law Group have two main issues: First-they are badly injured and are requesting we advise them as to who pays for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. The second and highly common issue: Property Damage...Is repairable or a total loss?
If the cost of repairing your vehicle exceeds a certain percentage of your car's value before the accident, insurance companies will declare it a "total loss." Some car insurance companies will total a vehicle if damages are at or above 51 percent its pre-accident value. Other insurers will total at 80 percent. State insurance departments often set guidelines for the percentage at which cars can be totaled. Their car has been totaled! Do they want to know what are their rights?
If your car is a total loss, the car insurance company is responsible for paying the actual cash value of your vehicle so that you are able to replace it or purchase another vehicle. The good news is, if the insurance company totals your vehicle, they are required to pay for the sales tax for your replacement vehicle. If your vehicle is repaired by your own insurance company, your insurance company is not responsible for the decreased value of your car.
If you are not at fault for the accident and the fault insurance company repairs your vehicle, they may be responsible for payment of the decreased value of your car. This is called a Diminished Value Claim. Diminished value is the automatic loss in value from a collision in order to recover the losses you must have a diminished value appraisal completed by a professional automobile appraisal company. Also, if the other party does not have insurance and you carry uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage you may be able to claim diminished value under your policy.