Every year millions of people are injured in motor
vehicle accidents. Car accidents are also the leading cause of
brain and spinal cord injury in the United States.
Motorcycle accidents cause about 20% of motor vehicle related
head injuries. Automobile accidents are often the subject of personal
injury claims and lawsuits. Often lay persons try to handle their
injury claim themselves. Unfortunately, that sometimes invites
disaster. Insurance companies have experienced adjusters and attorneys
looking out for them. An injury victim should have someone to
look out for him or her as well. Insurance claims can be overwhelming.
Injury victims may face lost wages, mounting medical bills, repair
bills and other out of pocket expenses. Because of that it is
good to have a qualified car accident attorney in your corner,
making sure the proper investigation is completed, the insurance
benefits are coordinated and that you, as the accident victim,
are properly compensated.
Generally speaking, auto accidents are handled
through each party’s insurance party and things are settled quickly.
In some cases, auto accidents resulting in personal injury or
extensive property loss lead to lawsuits. Damages sought after
auto accidents can include cost of medical treatment, loss of
property, and loss of wages. If you have been in an auto accident,
and need legal advice or assistance, it is best to contact an
attorney familiar with auto accident laws.
Many states allow those who have suffered personal injury to recover
damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability,
disfigurement, wrongful death, scarring, loss of opportunity to
enjoy life, interference with marital and/or parental relationships,
and other types of general damages. In addition, accident victims
may be entitled to recover for "special" or “economic” damages
related to items such as past, present and future medical bills,
lost wages and future earnings, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Some states also require that certain "no-fault" benefits be paid
following a traffic accident.
What You Can Recover
When your car is damaged in an automobile accident and you have
coverage, your insurance company will either pay for repairs or
“total” your vehicle. When an insurance company totals a vehicle,
the vehicle is considered a complete loss and the insured is paid
cash value for the vehicle. The actual cash value (ACV) is the
cost to replace the vehicle with a vehicle that is of like kind
and quality, etc., subtracting an amount that accounts for the
totaled vehicle’s depreciation (age and wear and tear).
While it may seem like your car would have to be a complete wreck,
to be deemed totaled, in fact, this determination is made more
on the basis of the cost of repair and the car’s worth. A car
will be considered totaled if the repair costs exceed a certain
percentage of the car’s current value. The percentage will differ
from company to company, but usually ranges from 51% to 90%. of
the estimated value.
What To Do If You Disagree That Your Car is Totaled
Once your car is deemed totaled and you are paid actual cash value
for it, your car is taken to a salvage yard where it is auctioned
off. Then it is usually chopped up for parts. If you love your
car, actual cash value may not seem like an equitable deal to
you. When you sign a contract with your insurer, it is agreed
between the two of you that the insurer will not have to pay out
more than the car is actually worth. But the insurer also agrees
to make you whole by placing you in the same spot (relatively
speaking) as you would have been without the accident.
If you really want to keep your car, you can take the actual cash
value from the insurance company, minus deductibles (in your policy)
and minus what the insurer would have gotten at the salvage yard.
You can then keep your car and make the repairs yourself. If you
decide on this route, let the claims adjuster know right away.
Once the car has gone to auction, it is much harder to get it
back. Contacting the adjuster and advising them on your intentions
may simplify this process.
can occur in a wide range of accidents; however leading causes
of personal injuries can be attributed to: