I was involved in an auto accident. 2004 acura TL. I was not at fault, and there is extensive damage. How can I ensure that my car is deemed a total loss, rather than fixing it and having problems later? I was in an accident in 1996 with a chevy cavalier and after fixing $6,00 + worth of damage and it had an additional $2500 that they didn't see. The car never performed the same.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Automobile accident
Usually when there is extensive damage from a car accident and an initial appraisal is done by an insurance adjuster in conjunction with the shop where you will have it fixed (if fixable), the insurance company will agree to pay for any additional damage discovered after the shop begins the work. You should verify this with the appraiser or adjuster. If the damage exceeds the fair market value of the vehicle, the adjuster will declare it a total and offer you what they think is the fair value, based on "blue book", etc. You may not agree with their figure and can negotiate if you come up with a better value (check kbb.com or cars.com for sites that provide values for vehicles; the adjuster will base their offer on trade-in value or resale value).
If the repair cost is less than the value of the vehicle, that is all the insurance company is responsible for, but you don't have to fix it if you don't want to--they'll give you a check. Of course then you'll have to dispose of the vehicle.
Re: Automobile accident
Contact an attorney to discuss a claim of diminuation to value.
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