Can I Keep My Car Even if it was Rendered a Total Loss as a Result of an Accident?

Experienced Attorneys Helping Jacksonville Car Accident Victims

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.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I have known Mr. Lawrence for several years and in my opinion he is the most professional and trustworthy lawyer I have ever known. I have had dealings with other lawyers but they were not as good as Mr. Lawrence. I would highly recommend him. Carla
★★★★★
Greg Lawrence of The Lawrence Law Group did an outstanding job with my case and I highly recommend him to others that need a competent, professional attorney. David P.
★★★★★
I had a difficult disability case, and was referred to Greg by a judge. As an experienced lawyer myself, I was apprehensive about using someone I didn't know. As it turned out, however, I could not have been more pleased. Greg mastered the case in no time, and was nothing short of brilliant in getting me a substantial settlement. He's a lawyer's lawyer, and I recommend him highly and without reservation. Steve
★★★★★
I would like to take a moment to say thanks to Greg, and his staff for doing an excellent job with my deceased mothers nursing home case. After hiring two other law firms my brothers and I decided to hire Greg. This was the best decision that we made regarding this case. Greg took the time to get to know who our deceased mother was, and the important facts involving our claim. As a result Greg was successful in resolving our claim to our satisfaction. Greg is the best attorney that I have ever met! I would highly recommend hiring Greg for any nursing home, or any other claims. Falsario Arnold
★★★★★
Of all the things that pleased me about Greg was that he was always available to me. If I called or emailed, I spoke to him and wasn't pushed off to one of his paralegals or assistants (although they were very helpful as well). I felt like I had a lawyer - not a factory. Scott