Total Vehicle Loss in Virginia
The extent of the risk of suffering a car crash may surprise you. According to data published by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, from 2016 to 2020, there were 621,520 vehicle crashes in Virginia, an average of more than 124,000 crashes each year. A total of 105,600 crashes occurred in the Commonwealth during 2020 alone.
Many car accidents result in serious damage to the vehicle. But even auto crashes that do not result in serious damages can be traumatic experiences. The stress of dealing with a car crash can be compounded if your vehicle is totaled. Auto insurance is designed to protect you from the financial consequences of an accident.
Total Loss Claims and Car Insurance in Virginia
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 Insurance “Totals” Your Vehicle?
If your car is in a serious accident, your insurance company may declare it a “total loss.” Virginia law defines a threshold for deeming a car to be a total loss – a vehicle may be declared a total loss if the cost of repairing the damage is greater than 75 percent of the car’s pre-crash “actual cash value,” which is the retail cash value of the vehicle prior to damage, determined using recognized valuation sources.
State law and the terms of the applicable insurance policy determine the amount you can receive from an insurance policy.
If your vehicle is declared a total loss, under Virginia law, your insurance company is required to replace the vehicle or pay you the fair market value of the vehicle, less any applicable deductible. A proper total loss settlement also must include applicable state and local sales and use taxes and applicable titling and license transfer fees incurred in obtaining a replacement vehicle.
However, when settling total loss claims, some insurance companies 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 Virginia fees
If the insurance company has not added those costs and fees to your settlement, you may be able to take legal action against them to recover the costs. 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 Virginia
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 Virginia and throughout the United States.