If you have been involved in an accident that totaled your car, you and any passengers have likely experienced injuries. Those need to be taken care of first. The next thing to do is to contact an experienced car accident attorney.
What does ‘Totaled’ Mean?
A car is a total loss when repairs of the damaged car would exceed the vehicle in value. Different states assign different value thresholds. In Nevada, it is 65%. For example, if a car was worth $5,000 before an accident and now needs more than $3,250 worth of repairs, it is considered totaled.
So how is the car’s value decided? In insurance lingo, the value of a car is defined by its actual cash value. According to Nevada law, an insurance company will take into account the car’s age, mileage, condition, and resale value. The assigned insurance investigator will also see how much similar vehicles in the area are selling for to aid in determining the actual cash value.
How to Bring a Claim Against the Driver Who Caused the Accident
As an at-fault state, Nevada allows you to file a claim against the driver who caused the accident in which your car was totaled. His or her insurance will be responsible to pay the amount due up to the driver’s policy limits. If damages exceed limits, the responsible driver may be required to pay further damages.
If the driver was uninsured or underinsured, it may also be necessary to file a claim through your own insurance collision coverage.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Following any vehicle accident, remember that insurance companies are apt to do what is best for the company. Your needs are secondary. An experienced Las Vegas or Henderson car-accident lawyer is necessary not only to help navigate through the legal paperwork but equally important, to work specifically for you.
If there is any question of fault, the legal team at Pacific West Injury Law can help create a defense through police reports, eyewitness accountings, photos and/or videos taken at the scene, and more. Your legal team does not only consist of one lawyer but other legal professionals including investigators whose job it is to recreate car accidents in order to prove fault and define actual cash value for vehicles and other compensation warranted.
Sure, an insurance claims processor may be polite and nice, but he or she works for the insurance company. Your legal team works for you.
What You Can Expect from Your Car Accident Claim
You need to not only consider the value of your car, but the “realistic” replacement value as well as other compensation you may deserve such as:
- Reimbursement of medical expenses including medical transportation, emergency room visit, hospitalization, x-rays, medication, physical therapy, and follow-up visits.
- Lost wages due to time away from work.
- Other property loss of items that were inside your car.
- Pain and suffering from trauma and medical limitations due to the accident and keeping you away from your normal lifestyle.
- Reimbursement for a rental vehicle.
Be sure to keep any and all receipts relative to the accident, make copies, and give them to your legal team.
Length of Time to File a Claim in Nevada
In Nevada, you have two years to file a personal injury claim from a car accident. You have three years to file for vehicle damage or other property damage from the accident. It is best to address both at the same time.
If your car was totaled, and you suffered an injury, you should seek legal advice immediately. The aim will be to file a claim as soon as the total amount of damages is determined including personal injury, and pain and suffering.
Getting a Fair Settlement
If it becomes necessary to file a legal claim that does not mean a settlement needs to end up in court. Your legal team will determine the actual value of your car and the compensation you deserve. Inevitably any first offer is going to be too low.
Your attorney will likely suggest you counter offer. If an agreement cannot be made out of court, a court trial date will be set. You need your experienced car accident attorney by your side
Nevada Rules of Evidence
Nevada has some strict rules regarding evidence. For example, simply having copies of similar vehicle sales prices will not suffice as proof of the actual cash value of your car. You will need a reputable appraiser to appear in court.
Your legal team understands these types of conditions within the Rules of Evidence, and the individuals to call upon as expert witnesses.
When a Financial Agreement Is Reached for Your Totaled Car
Up until the time you sign an agreement, you have had to keep your totaled car at your home or arrange for it to be stored. Once the agreement is made, or a court ruling is rendered, you have 30 days to sign over the car title so the insurance company can arrange for it to be picked up. Customarily, the insurer will sell the car to a salvage or scrap company, or a third party who wants to rebuild it.
If You Want to Keep Your Car
You can keep your car if you negotiate with the insurance company and accept less in your settlement. Your attorney can help you through this. Then you must get a salvage title through the DMV.
If you hope to restore the car, you may do so. However, you may not drive it on public roadways until an inspector certifies it is in drivable condition. Unless, your car is collectible, or of emotional or family value, it is best to let it go and get the highest settlement you can.
How the Right Legal Team Can Help When Your Car Is Totaled
Any car accident can be disconcerting. Suffering injury and losing your transportation can be devastating. The Pacific West Injury Law team is ready to help you in your time of need. We will:
- Contact any insurance companies involved,
- Collect all evidence relative to the accident,
- Interview any eyewitnesses,
- Collect data regarding your vehicle and determining its worth,
- Create files for records of all bills relative to the accident including car, medical, and insurance,
- Determine appropriate settlement evaluations,
- Build a solid prosecution if a court claim needs filing,
- Be ready to stand up with you in court.
Contact Pacific West Injury Law Regarding Your Car Accident Case
If you live in the Las Vegas or Henderson area and were involved in an accident that has left you without your car and more, contact us today.