What to Do If Your Car Is Totaled in California

In California, there are thousands of car accidents per year. When an accident occurs, a vehicle’s damages are sometimes so severe that it is considered to be totaled. Insurance companies lead the way in terms of evaluating and assessing the damage done to your vehicle, ultimately determining how much you will get back (if anything).

Compensation offered by insurance companies often is undervalued. Fortunately, our experienced car accident attorneys at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. will help you pursue the maximum compensation for your damages. We understand how the damage evaluation process works.

How Will My Vehicle Be Assessed?

Whether an insurer considers your vehicle to be totaled will depend on several factors. These factors for such an assessment include:

The Actual Cash Value of Your Vehicle

The cash value is how much your vehicle will be worth based on several factors, such as the car’s condition, mileage, age, and features.

The Cost of Repairing Your Vehicle So It Can Run Again

If the costs to repair damage are greater than 75% of a vehicle’s total value, state law considers the car to be totaled.

The Salvage Value of Your Vehicle

The salvage value is how much your insurance company could make selling the car in its current, wrecked condition. For most vehicles, this amount will not be much because the vehicle can only be used for scrap metal. Some parts of your car, however, might be useable and worth something.

After an accident, you will probably need to take your vehicle to an auto body shop where technicians will look the vehicle over and check the car’s condition. They will then calculate total loss using a total loss formula, or TLF. Under this formula, a vehicle is totaled if the cost of repairs, when added to the salvage value, is equal to or more than the actual cash value.

What to Do After Your Car Is Totaled or Salvageable?

If you suffered a total loss of your vehicle in a car accident, your insurance company will pay you not only the salvage value of your vehicle, but also the costs of taxes, licenses, and transfers.

If your car is salvageable, you must then file a salvage certificate with the DMV, if you plan to keep the car or accept a settlement. You must submit an Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate. You need to file this application and surrender the vehicle’s license plates within ten days of the settlement loss to qualify. You will need your certificate of title, as well as money to pay the Salvage Certificate fee.

Once you have your Salvage Certificate, you can try to sell to a car dealership. Dealerships tend to purchase salvaged vehicles to repair them, auction them off, or sell them for parts. Some dealerships only deal in salvaged cars since handling such vehicles can be quite profitable.

Contact Our Sacramento Car Accident Lawyers Today at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp.

Being in a car accident is difficult enough without the legal hassle. When you have to battle the insurance company for proper evaluation of your vehicle’s damages, it can be overwhelming. Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. handles the documentation of your claim and the negotiations with insurance companies, all while keeping you informed in a stress-free manner so that you can focus on your recovery.

Our firm consists of seasoned trial lawyers and legal staff with over twenty-five years of experience in personal injury law. We have a statewide and national reputation for obtaining outstanding results. We work on the basis of a contingency fee, so you won’t pay a dime unless we win. To schedule a free consultation, you can call (916) 970-9100 or contact us via our website.