My family was in a wreck on Sunday and vehicle is totaled. My insurance company provided their estimated Actual Cash Value substantially below value based on CCC One, that provides an artificially deflated value based on negotiations and incentives with dealers or by set percentage if dealer does not participate. Under 120-2-52-.06 Total Loss Vehicle Claims for Georgia this clause almost seems legal however the values they calculate are below list or advertised price. I am awaiting the proposal from the at-fault drivers insurance however I have found the are also a customer of CCC One. There will also be medical settlements involved as well since everyone was injured from mild to moderate. Should I inform them I will be hiring an attorney.
You should certainly consult with one before you talk to the insurance company, and in most cases it will make sense to retain someone. Our office, and many others, do not charge any fee on recovery of any property damage claims. I advise you find an attorney who operates similarly. There are also professional appraisers who specialize in these claims and they are very reasonable to work with. Glad nobody was seriously hurt and talk to an experienced attorney to get maximum compensation. Good luck
Interesting question about the total loss and your research into CCC. I deal exclusively with injury claims but occasionally help client's out with property damage claims when the insurance company is being a problem. From what I've seen, CCC is typically pretty good at calculating the total loss. They go by actual sales price of like vehicles as opposed to what you see listed. That said, if you press them many insurers will go ahead and expand their CCC search into additional states which can sometimes drive the value up.
As you have already seen, insurance companies don't have your best interests in mind - they are interested in maximizing profits. Unfortunately, all too often I see where a person thought they could handle their claim on their own and when the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation they seek our help - frequently by this time we must decline the case. Best thing for you to do is consult a personal injury lawyer in your area to handle your injury claims and ask them to review the total loss paperwork.
p.s. The total loss should settlement needs to reimburse you for taxes and title fees for a comparable vehicle. Be certain this is included in the estimate.
Your main focus right now should be getting proper medical treatment for everyone that was injured.
Although you didn't state it outright, you mentioned the "at-fault drivers insurance" so this answer is given along the lines that there was another driver who is liable for the collision. If your car was a total loss your insurer should provide you with a rental (provided your policy provided for it) for a limited time. As for value of your totaled car, try Kelly Blue Book or even talk with a local car dealer who should be happy to provide you with additional information in hopes of you buying a new car from him. Speaking frankly, you are in over your head with all of this (especially the personal injury claims) and I strongly recommend you hire a good personal injury attorney with substantial experience in auto accidents. You could call any of the AVVO attorneys who will take the time to respond to your questions and who may be more local. As for me, I travel the entire state so Columbus isn't that big a deal. Whatever you do, cooperate fully with your insurer (you are required to) but politely, but firmly, do not provide anything to the at-fault driver's adjuster until after you have consulted with an attorney. I wish you the best.
You should NOT talk to the insurer at all. Every word you say will be recorded and used against you, and they already have a lawyer ready to go. Studies show that unrepresented people generally receive 70-80% less than represented parties.
Let me focus on the part of the question you glossed over. It is very possible that the personal injury claims will significantly exceed the car claim. This is the area where attorneys make all the difference in the world. It is vital that you seek medical care with no gap in treatment, and if you have not sought care, do that TODAY. Gaps in treatment will diminish your claim and may also hurt your health.
As to the car, you are entitled to the actual fair market value, and many insurers will initially try to cheat you on this also. Make sure you research the NADA and other reputable sources for real numbers. While your PI lawyer doesn't focus mostly on the property damage claim, having a PI lawyer involved tends can give the extra push you need there.
My clients find it comforting and beneficial to have an expert speaking for them through the claims process, whether it is the property damage or bodily injury claim. I would without hesitation recommend that you engage a car accident attorney to represent you under these circumstances.
As you can see, everyone here is highly recommending you retain a personal injury lawyer. The reality is that these cases are complicated when it comes to injuries and valuation. Lawyers spend years training and learning the best techniques to help you maximize your recovery. A good personal injury lawyer will take care of all of this for you.
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