My Car is Totaled and I Still Owe Money On It: What’s Next?

What to Do if Your Car is a Total Loss and You Still Owe Money On it

Accidents are unfortunate and inevitable.  Experiencing a car accident can bring about a lot of damage not just physically as well as mentally.

While the legalities are surrounding the accident, the costs of damage, insurance claims, etc also feel like a stringent procedure that never seems to end! However, if the accident involves other parties, the bills will only keep piling up.

While stress after a car accident is almost guaranteed, you do have control over one thing: your finances. You can always turn to the best accident law firm to help you understand and smoothly carry out the whole claims process. Our law firm can help you whether it was a car accident or something like a bike accident or pedestrian accident.

Our clients are frequently strapped for cash following accidents. Recently, we had someone call our office of auto accident lawyers in Newport Beach and say: “My car has been declared a total loss and I still owe money on it.” We can help with that!

What Happens if Your Car is Totaled and You Still Owe Money on it?

When your car is totaled without being paid off yet, a car crash lawyer will tell you that you need to file a claim.

Your insurance company will examine your car and assign value to it. The value is not going to be based on how much you owe in your loan, sadly. Instead, the value of your car will be based on the make, model, and mileage.

Without you even seeking out the services of a lawyer, the other party’s car insurance company will likely contact you with a settlement based on the value of your car. Any injury attorney will tell you to never accept this offer. It’s likely a lowball that does not take into account any of your other damages.

If the settlement is lower than the loan amount, you will have to pay the remainder of your loan balance. This is the unfair reality that many car accident victims are faced with.

The value of your car is very likely to be a couple hundred, or thousand, dollars short of how much is left of your loan. That’s why you need to file a personal injury lawsuit instead of accepting a settlement based on the value of your car. An accident injury attorney in Newport Beach will be able to help you reach a settlement that covers the amount you owe on your car and more.

Filing a Claim

You want your settlement to be as high as possible, so you need to start gathering evidence for as many damages as possible.

Make sure you visit the doctor for a full checkup since your well-being is the predominant priority. They can examine you for whiplash, a concussion, and internal bleeding, all of which are latent injuries that are not always noticeable right after an accident.

Besides seeing a doctor, it is also important to determine the accurate state of your vehicle by hiring your own insurance agent to determine the value of your vehicle. For this, you must visit your insurance company right after the incident to file a claim. Many states in the USA, however, consider the threshold percentage rather than implementing the total loss formula for a vehicle in case of an accident. The car is a total loss if the cost of fixing it is 75% or more of the total value.

Car crashes leave both physical and emotional scars, so it’s likely that the other party will need to compensate you for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are damages for the total devastation that occurred after the collision. If you were so injured that you were bedridden, your friends, roommates, and family members can testify to how much you suffered.

A good car accident injury attorney will try to make your claim as large as possible, compensating the remainder of your car loan. Contact the Newport Beach injury law firm at (949) 203-5780 to get paid!

Do I have to Contact Insurance Every Time I’m in a Wreck?

It’s a good idea to contact your insurance agency whenever you’re in an accident, even if it’s a single-car accident. In fact, it’s illegal in some states and can result in penalties if you choose not to contact your insurance agency. 

If you were in an accident with another driver, you should contact insurance to serve as backup documentation of the accident. When there are no authority figures involved, your (or the other driver’s) case for compensation turns into a he-said-she-said. 

What Do I Do if I Hit an Animal While Driving?

Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to avoid hitting a wild animal when they run in front of your car. In the event that you strike and kill an animal, you should act the same way you would if it were another car. 

You should stop, get out, and take photos to document what happened. You should then contact law enforcement, which is required in some states. A police officer will help you get the animal out of the way of traffic as well as get in touch with animal control services, who will then come pick it up. 

If there’s damage to your vehicle, you will need to contact your insurance agency and present your photos. 

What Should I Do if I Need Compensation Following an Accident?

Whenever you’re in a car accident, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer on your side. An experienced car crash attorney will help you gather evidence necessary to make your claim. It is the best thing you can do if you’re planning on seeking compensation for your accident.

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