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When is a Car Considered “Totaled” After an Accident in Pennsylvania?

A collision between automotive vehicles could result in injuries. However, a minor crash will result in some physical damage to the cars involved. Even if you were not hurt, you could be looking at expensive repair costs. One question that must be addressed at this time is whether the cost of repairing a car makes sense. If the cost of repairing a car is more than what the vehicle is worth, it is sometimes referred to as “totaled.”

Under Pennsylvania law, totaled is determined by a very specific calculation. If your car’s cash value is less than the cost of repairs plus the salvage value, your car is considered totaled. Therefore, if your car is totaled under Pennsylvania law, you should receive the car’s actual cash value.

After an unexpected accident, you could be facing a number of expenses and bills. Our Philadelphia car accident attorneys are here to help you through this difficult time. Whether it is being compensated for your medical expenses or repair costs, the Reiff Law Firm has the resources and staff to provide the legal representation you need. Call (215) 709-6940 to discuss your case.

What Totaled Means in Pennsylvania

Typically, when people hear the word totaled, they understand it to mean that it is not economically advisable to repair the vehicle. Under Pennsylvania law, totaled is defined by a very specific equation.

The first thing to establish is what was the vehicle’s “actual cash value.” Actual cash value is simply how much your car was worth immediately before the accident occurred. Actual value depends on the make, model, year, and condition of the car. Additionally, the car’s features, mileage, and any other damage will also be taken into consideration when establishing a value.

The next thing to determine is the car’s salvage value. Salvage value is the car’s worth in the damaged state. This value is usually determined by the value of parts that could be used in the future.

Finally, there is the cost of the repairs. How much will it cost to fix the damage that was done? This amount obviously depends on the extent of the damage.

To illustrate how this works, imagine your car’s actual cash value was $10,000. The cost to repair your vehicle is $5,000. However, the salvage value of your damaged car is $6,000. Therefore, the cost of repairs plus the salvage value equals $11,000. Because this amount is $1,000 more than the pre-crash value of your car, under Pennsylvania law, it is completely totaled.

It should be noted that the actual cash or pre-crash value is usually substantially lower than the vehicle’s original purchase price. Our Pennsylvania car accident lawyers will help you understand this calculation and how it applies to insurance negotiations.

Insurance Companies and Totaled Cars in Pennsylvania

In certain situations, it is possible that your insurance company could consider your car totaled even if it is not considered a total loss under Pennsylvania’s formula. Several factors could influence an insurance company’s decision.

The Vehicle’s Age

The older your car is, the more likely it is to be considered totaled after an accident. Even if you kept the car in tiptop shape, a car would still generally continue to depreciate in value over time. Even if a minor repair could result in a determination that repairing the vehicle is not economically feasible.

Classic Cars

At some point, a car stops becoming old and is considered a “classic.” Classic cars are often maintained by collectors and are usually worth a substantial amount of money. However, classic cars usually require specialty parts and service that comes at a considerable expense. Depending on the extent of the damage, an insurance company might be quicker to consider a classic vehicle totaled.

Expensive Cars

Many expensive cars are costly to repair. Even though a car might not be considered totaled under the Pennsylvania formula, the cost of repair could exceed the policy limits. When this happens, an insurance company might opt to reimburse the driver to the policy limit and let the owner decide how to proceed.

Before speaking with an insurance company after a car accident, you should review your case with one of our experienced West Chester car accident attorneys.

How Our Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You if Your Car Was Totaled

An insurance adjuster will always act like they have your best interests in mind. However, the only thing an adjuster is attempting to do is limit their company’s liability. This includes trying to lower the amount they are required to pay to repair your vehicle. If another person was responsible for the crash, their insurance company could be held responsible. Most states have either fault or no-fault laws regarding insurance coverage after a car accident. Pennsylvania is a unique hybrid, offering drivers a choice. Because of these complex insurance laws, it is important to have our experienced Allentown car accident attorneys advocating for your rights.

If your car was totaled, you or your passengers likely also suffered an injury. You should concentrate on your medical care and let our knowledgeable lawyers deal with any insurance providers.

Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorneys Providing Professional Legal Representation

Car accidents are serious events. If you were involved in a crash, you need to know your rights and legal options. At the Reiff Law Firm, our team of experienced Hershey, PA car crash lawyers is prepared to assist you in all aspects following an unfortunate accident. Whether you need to negotiate with an insurance company or sue a reckless driver, our attorneys will aggressively advocate for your rights and just compensation. Call (215) 709-6940 to see what types of cases our law offices handle.

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