What Does It Mean When a Car is Totaled in A Charlotte Crash?


When you suffer a car accident in Charlotte, you can usually recover damages with the help of a good Charlotte car accident lawyer. These damages pertain to a wide range of losses including personal injury, pain and suffering, and damage to your property. But do these losses cover a totaled car?

The most common type of property damage incurred in a car accident is damage to your vehicle. In fact, vehicular damage is one of the most common types of losses suffered by the parties involved in a car crash. Even in crashes where no injuries are involved, there is usually some damage to the vehicles.

When it comes to damaged vehicles, your insurance company is likely to present you with two options. The company will either make you an offer for the expected repairs of the vehicle. Or the company will declare that your vehicle is totaled.

What is a Totaled Vehicle?

Whether or not a vehicle is deemed totaled, or total loss, depends on the actual nature of damages incurred in the accident. When the damages are relatively minor and few inexpensive repairs can restore the vehicle, the insurance company is likely to opt for repairs. However, when the damage is so significant that the costs of repairing are expected to be quite high, the insurance company may simply declare the vehicle as totaled.

When a vehicle is deemed totaled, you have to give up the ownership of the vehicle to the insurance company. You can remove any belongings in the vehicle as well as the license plates. Once you have done so, the vehicle is typically taken to a salvage yard. You are also asked to submit a property damage release.

When is a Vehicle Declared Totaled?

As noted above, the vehicle is declared totaled when the costs of repairs are quite high. Two key terms are used when determining whether the repair costs are high enough to qualify a vehicle as total loss. These include Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Total Loss Threshold (TLT).

Actual Cash Value (ACV): The Actual Cash Value (ACV) of a vehicle is essentially its market value before the accident. A number of tools are available to calculate the ACV of any vehicle. The factors that are typically considered when making this calculation include the make, model, age, mileage, and overall condition of the vehicle. In addition, the insurance company may also consider any add-ons, features, recent repairs, and maintenance records of the vehicle.

Total Loss Threshold (TLT): TLT is essentially a percentage figure. It is a percentage of the ACV of a vehicle. When this threshold is exceeded, a vehicle is deemed a total loss. If the pre-accident Actual Cash Value of a vehicle was $10,000 and the post-accident repairs cost $8,000 while the TLT was set at 75%, then the TLT is exceeded. In such a case, the vehicle will be deemed totaled. On the other hand, if the repairs for the same vehicle cost $5,000 after the crash and the TLT was 75%, the vehicle will not be declared totaled.

The actual TLT percentage varies from state to state. In the state of North Carolina, the Total Loss Threshold is set at 75%. This means that when the total cost of repair is 75% or more of the pre-accident ACV, the insurer can declare a vehicle totaled.

Choosing Between Repairs and Total Loss

When your vehicle has sustained significant damage in a crash, you may be unsure whether to proceed with repairs or have the vehicle declared totaled. In either case, the insurance company will try to protect its own interests, not yours.

Even when declaring a vehicle totaled, the insurer may calculate the ACV of the vehicle to be lower than it is. Likewise, the actual estimate of the repairs can be skewed in favor of the insurer. This is why it is best to consult a good car accident lawyer before you accept a settlement for your damaged vehicle.

Hiring a Reliable Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer

If you have suffered losses in a Charlotte car crash, we can help you. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we closely work with you to reach a fair settlement with the insurer for vehicle damage. We also help you decide whether to accept repair costs or ACV for a damaged vehicle. After an accident, do not let an insurance company take advantage of you. With the help of our experienced lawyers, make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today to discuss your car crash claim with our legal experts.