FAQs About Your Car's Value After An Accident

Following an auto accident in which you were not at fault, you will need to file a claim with the responsible driver's insurance company. You could end up filing a lawsuit if the insurance company is not willing to negotiate. If you are ready to file your claim or lawsuit, here is what you need to know about the value of your damages and available options.

How Does the Insurance Company Value Your Car?

In a perfect world, the insurance company would give you enough compensation to cover the cost of purchasing the same vehicle you had. Unfortunately, that is usually not what happens. 

Insurance companies typically offer the actual cash value of your car. The actual cash value refers to what your car was worth at the time of your accident. For instance, if your car was valued at $5,000 prior to the accident, you can receive that amount. Regardless of what you still owe on the car, that is the amount the insurance company most likely will offer. 

What If the Company Classifies Your Car a Total Loss?

In some instances, the insurance company might decide that the costs of repairing the car is too much to pay. When that happens, the insurance company could classify your car as a total loss. Instead of having your car repaired as requested, the insurance company would issue a check for the actual cash value of your car. 

If this is not what you want, you can disagree with the assessment that your car is totaled. One of the first places for you to start is by looking up the value of your car yourself. This provides you with a starting point for your negotiations. 

You also need to take inventory of your car. Any additions to your car prior to the accident could lead to an increased value. For instance, if you just bought a new engine for your car, you need documentation to show how much you spent on the parts and labor. 

Once you have all of this information, you can determine what is more acceptable for your car's value. If the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate, you might have to file a lawsuit. The lawsuit can not only include your car's value, but all the other damages that you suffered, such as medical bills. 

Consult with an auto accident attorney, such as those at The Jaklitsch Law Group, to determine the best way to negotiate with the insurance company and to evaluate your chances of winning a lawsuit.