Total Vehicle Loss in Georgia
You may be surprised to learn that the risk of suffering a car crash is much greater than most people realize. According to data published by the Georgia Department of Transportation, during the 5-year period from 2017 to 2021, there were a total of 1,929,354 vehicle crashes in Georgia. A total of 387,444 crashes occurred in the state during 2021 alone.
Many car accidents cause significant damage to the vehicles involved. But even minor auto crashes can be traumatic events. When your vehicle sustains major damage in a car crash, you’ll experience additional stress from both personal and financial issues. Auto insurance is designed to protect you from the financial risks and stresses.
Car Insurance and Total Loss
When you buy an insurance policy, you expect that if you must make a claim, the insurer will treat you fairly and pay your claim in accordance with the law. However, when an insurance company declares a car a “total loss” and is required to pay the full value of the car, it often neglects to do so. What then?
What happens when your insurance company declares your car a total loss?
If your car is severely damaged in a crash, your insurer may declare it a “total loss.” What constitutes a “total loss” of a vehicle is subject to varying policy definitions, and it does not appear to be specifically defined in Georgia law, but generally occurs when the cost of repairs exceeds the actual cash value of the vehicle minus its salvage value in its damaged state.
Insurance policies specify that the ultimate amount you are entitled to receive from insurance is based on the requirements of state law and the terms of the policy.
If your vehicle is declared a total loss, under Georgia 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, 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 on 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, when settling claims for total loss, insurance companies often fail to properly calculate the settlement payment, neglecting 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 Georgia fees
If these costs and fees are not factored into the settlement for your total loss, you may be entitled to pursue a claim against the insurer to receive those additional 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 Georgia
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 Georgia and throughout the United States.