Total Vehicle Loss Claims in Alabama
The risk of suffering a car crash may surprise you. According to data published by the Alabama Department of Transportation, during the 10-year period from 2010 to 2019, the number of crashes in Alabama rose by a whopping 23 percent. As of 2020, a traffic crash is reported in Alabama every 3 minutes and 55 seconds. The probability of any given Alabama driver being involved in a crash of any severity during their lifetime is greater than 90 percent.
Total Loss and Auto Insurance
Many car accidents result in serious damage to the vehicles involved. Even seemingly minor auto crashes can have traumatic consequences. When your car has been severely damaged in a crash, you may be forced to deal with the added stress of personal and financial problems. Auto insurance is intended to protect you from financial risk, loss, and stress.
When you buy insurance, you do so with the expectation that if you must make a claim, your insurer will treat you fairly and will pay the claim in conformance with the law. Too often, however, especially when a car is rendered a “total loss,” insurance companies fail to do so. What then?
What Happens When Your Insurance Company Declares Your Car a Total Loss
If your car is severely damaged in an accident, your insurer may declare it a “total loss.” In the state of Alabama, your vehicle is considered a total loss if the cost of repairs is more than 75 percent of the vehicle’s “fair retail value” of the vehicle prior to being damaged. The fair retail value is to be determined based on “a current edition of a nationally recognized compilation of retail values, including automated data bases.”
The amount of money you receive from insurance is determined by state law and the terms of your policy.
If your vehicle is declared a total loss, under Alabama law, your insurance company is required to replace the vehicle or pay you the actual cost, less any deductible provided in the policy, to purchase a comparable automobile by the same manufacturer, same model year, with similar body style and condition, similar options and mileage, including all applicable taxes, license fees and other fees incident to the transfer of ownership of a comparable automobile. The amount payable for taxes, license fees, and transfer fees is limited to the amount that would have been paid on the totaled, insured vehicle at the time of settlement.
However, some insurance companies fail to properly calculate the settlement payments they make to claimants in total-loss claims. They often neglect to include some or all of the following costs and fees:
- Sales tax
- Title transfer fees
- Vehicle registration fees
- License plate transfer fees
- Other mandatory Alabama fees
If your settlement does not include these costs and fees associated with your total loss, you are entitled to bring a claim against the insurer for those unpaid amounts. Where it appears that the insurance company has failed to include these items as a general practice, moreover, a class action lawsuit may be appropriate to recover on your behalf and for all other persons similarly affected. And for that, Anderson + Wanca can help.
Call Anderson + Wanca for Total Loss Vehicle Claims in Alabama
Anderson + Wanca is a boutique class action litigation law firm. Our consumer rights attorneys at Anderson + Wanca have years of experience with class action litigation, including fighting for the rights of insured whose total loss claims have been improperly underpaid. If you believe you have been wronged by an insurance company in connection with your total loss claim, or if you just want to be sure you have been offered a proper settlement, contact our attorneys at Anderson + Wanca. We will review your insurance policy, settlement documents, and the invoice for your replacement vehicle to see if you are being offered a fair settlement and, if not, to determine if there is a potential for a class action claim that our firm could advance on your behalf at no monetary cost to you.
Anderson + Wanca works with licensed attorneys in Alabama and throughout the United States.