It is an unfortunate fact that insurance companies don’t like to pay claims. They often try to exploit a victim’s lack of knowledge about how insurance claims work to minimize payments. Many people think they must accept the first compensation offer from liable insurance companies, not realizing they can negotiate for better settlement terms.
Insurance companies process claims on a daily basis, but the average person rarely deals with insurance claims. An experienced car accident lawyer from Cellino Law can help you navigate your claim successfully.
What Does It Mean To Total a Car?
In addition to causing injuries, automobile collisions can seriously damage cars. Totaling a car means that fixing it would cost more than it is worth. Some vehicles are damaged so extensively that repairing them isn’t possible.
A vehicle’s actual cash value is how much it is worth, not how much you may owe. According to New York’s total loss threshold, insurance companies can declare a car totaled if its salvage value and repair costs combined are 75% percent or more of the actual cash value. This system assumes that a mechanic may find more problems when they begin working on the car.
Several factors go into determining a vehicle’s actual cash value, including:
- Prior collision repairs
- Make and model
Many people make modifications to their cars, such as custom paint jobs, flashy wheels and upgraded stereo systems. Insurance companies may not include these costs in payouts for totaled cars unless the car’s owner buys a special endorsement or a custom policy.
Claims adjusters can decide to total your vehicle. If policyholders buy a replacement car, the liable New York insurance company must pay title costs and applicable taxes in addition to the payment for the totaled vehicle.
Do Insurance Companies Offer Reasonable Payments for Totaled Cars?
Most insurance companies want to pay minimum amounts on claims. That means that compensation offers are often unreasonably low. They count on the fact that many people assume they have no choice but to accept those offers. You don’t have to take an unfair offer; you can negotiate for more money.
However, you can’t just say that you want more money for your car. You must prove that your vehicle is worth more than the insurance company says it is. There are resources to help you calculate a reasonable value, but even with proof, you may be uncomfortable attempting to negotiate with an insurance company.
In other cases, you may believe that the company is incorrect in saying that your car is totaled. You will need proof of that as well if you hope to reverse their decision.
While you probably don’t have experience negotiating on this scale, the skilled attorneys at Cellino Law do. We will look at every aspect of your case to ensure that insurance companies treat you fairly.
Won’t No-Fault Insurance Pay?
New York is a no-fault insurance state. Licensed drivers must buy personal injury protection insurance that pays qualifying expenses regardless of who causes a car accident. PIP policies don’t, however, pay for any property damage.
What Should You Do?
You can propose a counter-offer on your own if liable insurance companies don’t offer a fair value for your totaled car, or you can hire Cellino Law to handle it for you. Your attorney can serve as your spokesperson, so you don’t have to interact with insurance companies at all.
Anything you say to insurance company representatives is fair game, and they can use your words against you to minimize the amount they pay. Be careful with what you say about your accident to anyone.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you can gather evidence at the accident scene. Your lawyer can use the pictures and videos you take as evidence to build your case and substantiate your claim. There is no way to know while you are at an accident scene what complications might arise and what expenses you will face.
Will Insurance Compensate You Fairly for Other Accident-Related Expenses?
The chances are that if your car damage is bad enough that insurance companies want to total it, you probably sustained injuries as well. No matter what type of claim you have, insurance companies do not want to pay more than they must. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you with your entire accident claim.
Most accident claims settle without a trial. If insurance companies refuse to offer reasonable compensation, your lawyer may suggest filing a lawsuit and taking your case to court.
Every accident is different, and damages vary widely. In New York, you may qualify to obtain damages in three categories. When you contact Cellino Law for your free case review, we can assess your case and tell you what it’s worth.
Car accidents typically cause many expenses you wouldn’t have if not for the crash. Repairing or replacing your car is only one of them. Economic damages reimburse you for expenses such as:
- Medical: treatments, hospital stays, rehabilitation, medications and medical equipment
- Lost wages: the income you would have earned if you were able to work during your recovery period
- Replacement services: costs of hiring caregivers or people to perform necessary chores
- Property damage: besides vehicle damage, this includes damage to personal property you were wearing or that was in your vehicle at the time of the accident and damage to fences, mailboxes and the like
To ensure that you receive reimbursement for these expenses, it’s good to keep all bills, invoices and receipts in one place. In some instances, you may qualify to seek compensation for future lost wages and medical expenses. Ask your attorney for more information and to see if you are eligible.
Sometimes, the most profound injuries sustained in a car accident aren’t physical. The accident might traumatize you, and your physical injuries may adversely affect your life even after you recover from them. Non-economic damages compensate you for things like:
- PTSD, anxiety and depression
- Losing the ability to enjoy life
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Pain and suffering
It is sometimes challenging to prove that these situations affect you because they aren’t necessarily visible. The attorneys from Cellino Law know how to prove you deserve these damages and will fight to ensure you get them.
Car accident claims are rarely eligible for punitive damages. To qualify, the at-fault party must have met strict criteria during the collision, including aggressive or reckless behavior and willful maliciousness. Punitive damages don’t compensate the victim; they punish the defendant.
Do You Need Help With Your Car Accident Claim?
New Yorkers involved in car accidents have relied on Cellino Law for more than 60 years to fight for their right to fair compensation. We are a large personal injury law firm with the power and resources that entails, but we give every client the personal attention they deserve. Our track record speaks for itself: we have won more than $2 billion through settlements and millions more in lawsuits.
Request your free, no-obligation case evaluation today. There are no up-front fees when you hire Cellino Law. There’s no risk either because you won’t owe us until we win your case. Submit our contact form or call us 24/7 at (800) 555-5555.
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