Totaled Vehicles Law in Florida
Sometimes following an accident, your vehicle is beyond repair. Most drivers expect their car to be totaled following a severe accident, but many are surprised to find that more minor collisions can lead to a totaled vehicle. A car is deemed a total loss under Florida law when the cost to repair it is 80% or more of its actual cash value. When it is deemed a total loss, then you are entitled to its fair market value and the car becomes a salvage vehicle. You also have the option to retain the vehicle to repair on your own and obtain a salvage title to continue operating it or sell it.
Regarding your compensation, the insurance company is not allowed to value the car at what it may get at auction (usually a low value) or the sticker price it would receive at a dealership lot (usually a high value) but instead what cars are actually being sold at between parties in an arms length transaction. The insurance company will typically use a valuation method, such as the Blue Book, to calculate your car’s fair market value at the time of the accident based on the vehicle’s make, model, age, mileage, and condition.
Sometimes when the insurance company provides their value, it doesn’t seem to line up with your own estimates. There is usually room for negotiation. To negotiate successfully, you will need evidence that your car is worth more than the insurance adjuster claims. For example, if you had upgrades on your vehicle that you believe increased its value, you can offer proof of them or if you feel the wrong comparative vehicles were used, you can explain why your car had features those did not. In many cases, the insurance company will raise their offer to better match your valuation.
Once you have reached a satisfactory value and agree, the company will usually have you sign a release before providing the funds. Remember, if you have financed the vehicle, the insurance company is going to require that it is paid off before you get the remaining value.
Don’t Face it Alone
Contact us to discover how we can help you to get through the difficult time after an accident. Oldham and Delcamp trial attorneys have the experience and expertise to fight for your needs and help you to reclaim your life after a slip and fall accident. We can help as your slip and fall lawyer, DUI law and auto accident attorney as well as rear-end accidents attorney, trucking accidents attorney and premises liability lawyer.
Oldham & Delcamp is a member of the Attorney’s Real Estate Council of Pinellas County, is also currently on the Board of Directors of the Pinellas County Bar Association, and is the former chair of the Real Property section.
When your freedom is on the line, you need an attorney that is aggressive, responsive, and experienced. Oldham & Delcamp is committed to making sure that each of our clients receives the personalized attention of one of our attorneys.