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Collision repair total costs more than total loss declaration?

Fairfax, VA |
Filed under: Car repairs

I was in an accident 3 months ago with the other party at fault and admitting it. My car has been getting fixed since then (3 months for repair is a long story). The original quote given by the adjuster was $8,200. There have been 4 other supplements by the collision shop after that which amount to $18,400. The value of my car before accident was $24-25,000 as quoted by my insurance company (Liberty Mutual). The repair bills up until now have gone to a total of $18,400 (plus some change), which is more than 75% of my car's before accident value. From what I've read online, in Virginia (where the accident took place and where I live), 75% repair cost to the total value of the car is enough to declare it a total loss.

I talked to the adjuster of my insurance company and he told me that the repair is too far along now (it's in the final stages) to declare the car a total loss. I'm wondering if it's possible to declare the car a total loss at this point and get money paid for the value at time of accident. Is there anything I can do to convince this guy to declare the car a total loss and get me my money? He's not been very cooperative since the very beginning and the extended period of time it's taking the car to get fixed is partially his fault. I feel like I should've contacted the at fault party's insurance company but I was shaken pretty bad after the accident and just made the call to my insurance company that came to my mind.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Why not just contact an attorney in your area to discuss the issues. Not sure if you sustained any personal injuries as a result of the accident. If so, you can discuss this as well. Not really shocked that your company did not total your vehicle. Good luck.

*This information should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

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Posted

Your insurance company would have probably totaled your car if it knew it was going to cost this much to repair. Obviously, big surprises arose during the repairs. You probably have a claim called "diminished value". You need to consult with an attorney to pursue this additional claim. Also, if you suffered injury, you should at least obtain a free consult with a personal injury attorney near you. Find one on Avvo.com.

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Posted

Problem is they've already paid the money to have it fixed. I doubt they'll go back and declare it a total loss because not only would they have to cut you a check, they'd also have to pay the auto shop which would be twice the amount

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Posted

At this point, I agree with the other attorneys that the carrier will not total your car now. You do not indicate how old the car is or how much your car's value has been diminished. Unless it has been diminished significantly, it is probably not big enough for an attorney to take the property claim. You will also need an expert to give evidence how much the value was diminished. Please note that you are probably better off that it was fixed and not totaled. In Virginia, you would have only gotten its cash value as a used car. This amount is probably a lot less than the value of getting it fixed and keeping it as the value in a car is driving it not selling it. If you also have personal injuries then you should be able to schedule a free consult to discuss both issues. I encourage you to do so. Good luck!

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