When a person gets into a car accident, the car may get damaged to the point that it is declared totaled by the insurance company. This means that the cost to repair the car is more than the fair market value of the vehicle. For the person losing the car, this could mean that even though he or she is receiving compensation for the loss of the car, the compensation is not really adequate to cover the loss.
In a personal injury case, receiving compensation for loss of property means getting compensation for the fair market value of the property at the time of the accident. The purpose of compensating a person for property damage is to make a person whole, to place the person in the same situation as before the car accident. This is why the compensation cannot be for the cost of a new model of the car that is totaled.
Even when the owner of the damaged vehicle has an older car that is in excellent condition and had no plans of selling the car before the accident, the value of the car is not determined by how much the owner values the car. So, even if the owner had paid off the car and was no longer making monthly payments, this will not factor into how much should be reimbursed for the totaled car.
However, before accepting the insurance company’s determination of the fair market value of the car, the person seeking compensation should do some research. In addition to looking at the cost of a similar vehicle, the added value from any improvements or additions to the car should be considered. Without accounting for all improvements to the car, the person seeking compensation could receive even less. Before agreeing to any payment from the insurance company, it is also important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in order to ensure that the best offer is on the table.
When buying a new car using a car loan, purchasers can consider purchasing gap insurance, as well. Gap insurance can help a person who is involved in a car accident buy giving him the difference between the fair market value and the amount still owed on the car loan. While this will not result in the car owner getting a new car, it can help mitigate the owner’s loss because the owner will not be left liable for paying for a loan on a car that no longer exists.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
There are time limits within which a claim for compensation for personal injuries must be filed. If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you do not lose your claim for compensation for any psychical injuries or property damage. For information on how you can receive compensation from an at-fault driver after a car accident in Atlanta, Georgia, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today.