Damage to property is usually addressed very shortly after an accident. The reason for this is twofold. First, your accident attorney will be aggressively working to have your vehicle or other property repaired or replaced, in order to minimize the time that you are affected by the property damage. Second, the insurance company responsible for payment has an interest in repairing your vehicle or paying you its value as soon as possible to minimize rental car charges and storage fees. Therefore, in almost all cases, the issue of property damage and payment for repairs or replacement value is determined at the outset of a case and is usually resolved within a month or less after an accident.
If your car is no longer operational, one of the biggest questions on your mind will be, “will my car be repaired?” The answer to this question turns on the value of your vehicle. If the repairs to your car or truck are too costly, then your car will be declared a total loss, commonly referred to as being “totaled.” In such a case, the next question you will want to know is if you will receive any money, and if so how much, to go out and buy a new vehicle.
The starting point for analysis is obtaining an estimate for repairs to your vehicle. This forms the basis for determining whether to repair your vehicle or declare it a total loss. The estimate for repairs will then be compared to the replacement value of your vehicle to see if it would be economically more efficient to repair your vehicle or pay for its replacement value.
Any custom parts or special equipment that are installed on your vehicle should be properly documented so that you can prove both that the equipment is there and how much it is worth in the event that your vehicle is totaled. Establishing value can be time-sensitive and therefore should be done at once.
The replacement value of a vehicle is determined according to what it would cost you to go out and buy the same vehicle. It is not the Kelley Blue Book value or other similar type of published value. It is a bit more complex than that.
If you have a totaled car or truck and own the car or truck outright, then your accident attorney will obtain a check for the replacement value shortly after the accident, and you can go and buy a new vehicle. However, if you have a loan against your vehicle, the check will have to be paid to your lender, possibly leaving you without any means for transportation.
Determining whose insurance will pay for the damages to your vehicle hinges on fault. The insurance company for the person who was at fault will have to pay for repairs.