Any auto accident can be a frightening experience, but when your car is totaled, the entire situation is that much more overwhelming. You don’t have to deal with the insurance company paperwork on your own. The experienced injury lawyers at the David Aylor Law Offices know how to handle totaled car cases and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Learn more about how an insurance company “totals” a vehicle and what this means for your injury claim.
What Does It Mean When an Insurance Company “Totals” My Car?
When a negligent driver crashes into you, he or she is legally responsible (“liable”) for paying for the damage to your vehicle. This is why South Carolina – like other states – requires all drivers to carry auto insurance with liability coverage (or other proof of financial responsibility). Once the negligent driver’s insurance company accepts liability for the accident, they will value the damage to your vehicle. In some cases, the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle. In this situation, the insurance company will declare your vehicle a “total loss”, and pay you the entire value of your vehicle. You then sign the title over to the insurance company. The insurance company keeps the vehicle (usually to sell as a salvage), but you are allowed to remove any personal items from your car.
How Do I Get a Rental Car If My Vehicle Is Totaled?
If another driver damages your vehicle in an accident, you are entitled to have a rental car while your car is being repaired. The negligent driver’s insurance company must pay the daily rate for a vehicle that is comparable to yours: for example, if your damaged vehicle is a large SUV, then you do not have to accept a small compact car as a rental. The insurance company must also pay for the taxes and other fees charged by the rental company. These charges must be covered for the entire time your vehicle is in the shop. Even if it takes weeks to get all the necessary parts for your repairs, you are entitled to have a rental car while your vehicle is undrivable.
But what if your car is totaled? In this case, your vehicle will not be in the shop, but you are still entitled to compensation for the loss of use if your vehicle. This compensation must cover the period from the time of the accident until the insurance company issues you paid for the total value of your vehicle. Whether your vehicle is being repaired or has been declared a total loss, you may choose to accept cash payment for the loss of use of your vehicle in lieu of the insurance company paying for a rental car. This is a helpful option if you are unable to drive due to your injuries, or if the totaled car was a secondary vehicle, or if you work from home and will not need a vehicle while yours is out of commission.
How Does This Affect My Injury Claim?
In addition to the value of your vehicle, you are also entitled to compensation for any injuries you suffered in the accident. Accidents that produce enough force to total a vehicle very often result in serious injuries. Your personal injury claim will include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses that you can document with receipts and paperwork. You are also entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. This is a subjective loss because everyone experiences pain differently. The suffering you endure after an accident will depend on your unique situation. Insurance companies often try to downplay the value of pain and suffering. Often, their adjusters will claim that your injuries could not have been that bad because there was not much damage to the vehicles. If you have a totaled car, however, this is tangible evidence that the collision involved serious forces. A totaled car in strong, subjective evidence that helps support your claim for pain and suffering.
How Else Can I Prove the Value Of My Pain and Suffering?
Damage to a vehicle is just one way that your injury lawyer can prove the value of your pain and suffering. Here are some other types of evidence a lawyer uses to prove the fair value of pain and suffering to a jury:
- Records of multiple doctor’s visits for ongoing complications of your injuries
- Testimony (from you or your loved ones) about all the times you could not sleep, work or participate in your usual activities because of your pain and discomfort.
- Testimony from medical experts about the severity of your injuries
- Testimony from a life care planner about all the future medical care and assistance that you will require due to your injuries
There are many different ways to prove the fair value of pain and suffering. Every case is different, and your car accident attorney will know the best way to present a compelling case in your unique situation. Injury lawyers know how to find evidence that juries will relate to and understand. For example, an insurance company might not care that you are unable to hold your own grandchildren, but jurors can imagine what that feels like. They understand the pain of intangible losses.
The Right Charleston Car Accident Attorneys For All Totaled Car Accident Cases
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you have the legal right to be compensated for both your property damage and your injuries. The experienced Charleston car crash lawyers at the David Aylor Law Offices are here to help you protect this right and hold negligent drivers accountable for the damage they cause. For years, clients throughout South Carolina have trusted our skilled legal team to get the compensation they deserve. We will fight hard for you, too. Call (843) 548-1571 today to schedule your free case evaluation. You don’t have to face the insurance company on your own. Let us handle your paperwork and defend your legal rights so you can focus on getting better.