Can I Keep My Car Even if it was Rendered a Total Loss as a Result of an Accident?
Being involved in a car accident comes with many stresses, one of which can involve affording the purchase of a new car if yours has been rendered a total loss. Many people would rather just keep their vehicle, especially if the damage was largely cosmetic. Car owners retain the right to keep a totaled vehicle following a collision in Florida, but they need to be aware of the process to make sure that they still receive full compensation for their losses. The Jacksonville car accident lawyers at The Lawrence Law Group can help you in following the proper procedures after a collision in which your car was totaled. Our attorneys can also assist you in taking further legal action against responsible parties so that you receive compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have questions regarding your legal rights and options following a car accident, contact our office today to find out more about our services.Can I Keep My Car Even If It Was Rendered a Total Loss as a Result of an Accident?
The short answer is “yes.” Insurance companies consider a vehicle a “total loss” if the cost to restore it to its condition before an accident occurred is more than 70% of the actual cash value of the vehicle. A vehicle’s actual cash value refers to the fair market value of a car. Other factors go into the determination of whether a vehicle is a total loss as well, including the specific car insurance company’s standards regarding totaled vehicles, a car’s condition as appraised by an adjuster, and each state’s specific laws. Once a vehicle has been rendered a total loss, it becomes a salvage vehicle.
In Florida, the following criteria must be met to deem your vehicle a “total loss”:
- The car’s value is at least $1,500, and the insurance company pays to replace the car with a car that is a similar quality and type.
- An insurance company will assist in paying for repairs, but those repairs would exceed 70 percent of the cost of replacing the vehicle.
- An individual does not have car insurance to cover the damages, and repairing or rebuilding the vehicle would cost 70 percent or more of the value of a replacement.
Car owners have the option to either transfer a total loss vehicle to the insurance company or repair the vehicle on their own and obtain a salvage title in order to continue to operate or sell the car. Either the car’s owner or the insurance company must apply for a salvage title with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) after an accident. Who is responsible for applying depends on whether the vehicle was salvaged in connection with an insurance settlement, in which case the insurer needs to apply, or if there was no insurance company involved, in which case the owner is tasked with the application. Salvage titles are most appropriate for people wishing to rebuild and use their car. Alternatively, a certificate of destruction can be issued if an individual wants to sell the car for parts. Once a salvage title is issued, the owner will receive the actual cash value of the car minus the salvage value for the vehicle from their insurance company.Discuss Your Questions with a Jacksonville Attorney
The options and administrative processes involved in deciding what to do with a vehicle after it has been rendered a total loss can be confusing. If you have been injured in a car accident, what to do about your car is even further from your mind as you focus on recovery. The injury lawyers at The Lawrence Law Group offer seasoned and knowledgeable representation to car accident victims throughout Duval, Clay, Nassau, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Baker, Brevard, Union, Columbia, Suwannee, Hamilton, Jefferson, Volusia, and Alachua Counties. If you have been injured in a car accident, and you want to know more about your legal options, you can contact us online or at (904) 632-0077.