When you’re in a motor vehicle accident, you may be injured and are dealing with property damage. To worsen the impact of your accident, a new or leased car may result in additional expenses and paying the remaining balance on your car loan, even if it is totaled during the accident.

What is a Totaled Car?

The term “totaled” regarding motor vehicle accidents may differ in states depending on the specific damage threshold. In Nevada, a totaled vehicle is defined by damage exceeding 65% of the car’s fair market value.1 In a motor vehicle accident resulting in a totaled car, the cost of the repair is 65% or more of the actual value of your car. If the number is less than 65% of the actual value of your vehicle, before the accident, you’ll be offered a vehicle repair. If the number is equal to or greater than 65% of the actual value of your vehicle, your car will be declared “a total loss” or totaled. The value of your car is calculated by looking at the value of your car right before the accident, not what was paid, the car loan amount or cost of a replacement. Don’t stress thinking this calculation is your responsibility, this will be determined by your insurance company. A roll-over accident might incur this type of damages.

What Will My Insurance Company Do?

In the instance of a total loss, your insurance company will offer you a settlement check, but whether the amount is fair or not is a different issue at hand. A personal injury lawyer can be your go-to partner in moments that are uncertain or confusing when dealing with your insurance company.

With Nevada’s minimum required insurance coverage for drivers, your coverage may only cover the damage that you cause to others’ vehicles or people. If you are liable and at fault in a motor vehicle accident, the required insurance coverage doesn’t include payment for you and your injuries. If you have a more robust insurance coverage plan, such as collision and comprehensive coverage, your insurance company should pay for any damages up to your policy limit, but you may have a deductible you must pay and meet prior to receiving the compensation you deserve from your insurance company.

What if it is a Leased Car or Purchased with Financing?

Unfortunately, if your leased car or car purchased with a car loan and financing plan, you are still responsible for paying off the remaining balance you owe on the vehicle.

When Should I File A Lawsuit?

If you or a loved one were involved in a motor vehicle accident in which the other driver was clearly at fault, you may receive a phone call or correspondence from the driver’s insurance company. Here, they may ask to hear your side of the story and what was the cause of the accident, how you are feeling and other information relevant to the accident. It is important to know that you are under no obligation to provide a detailed or official statement. Insurance companies take into account what is best for them and the premiums paid by a client involved in a car accident, so they can be tricky and look for excuses to compensate you early, paying less than what you may be able to receive for your claim. Fast resolutions can be enticing, but not if it’s far less than you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage – they can be dangerous.

Is What the Insurance Company is Offering a Fair Settlement?

It’s important to determine if your insurance company is giving you a fair and reasonable amount of compensation for your totaled vehicle. Online search tools are a way to roughly estimate the value of your vehicle prior to the accident, including vehicle modifications and upgrades, but it is always safer to have a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer on your side during these uncertain and life-altering times. An online calculation tool may be a good place to start and helpful in solely working with your insurance company, but a skilled lawyer will be your key partner in facing any lawsuit or the courts.

If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, we’re here for you. Not only are they worrisome and daunting to face alone, but when property damages and totaled vehicles play a role in the scenario, it can be a sticky situation to try to navigate alone. We always recommend finding a trusted and experienced personal injury lawyer who knows the ins and outs of dealing with insurance companies every day, as they can be very helpful in determining if the compensation they are offering is worthwhile for you. You should never feel like you have to go through it alone. Turn to our team of experienced lawyers and we will work with you to get the compensation you deserve.

1 N.R.S. § 487.790(1)(b) – NRS 487.790  ”Total loss vehicle” defined. (https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/NRS-487.html)