State Farm considers a vehicle a total loss if:
- The cost of repairs exceeds the vehicle’s Actual Cash Value (ACV)
- The car cannot be fixed safely
- State regulations mandate a total loss declaration
Florida declares a vehicle a total loss if the cost of repairs is more than 80 percent of the vehicle’s ACV. ACV is the fair market value of the car immediately before the accident.
How does State Farm Calculate Actual Cash Value?
According to State Farm, to figure ACV, the company considers your vehicle’s overall condition, make, model, mileage, age, and options package. After determining the value, State Farm will subtract your deductible, applicable taxes and fees, and pay your lender. The remaining sum is your settlement.
In Florida, Florida Statute § 626.9743 mandates that insurance companies consider the cost of comparable replacement vehicles in your area. The statute states that when calculating ACV, insurers must use one of the following methods to prove fair market value:
- The cost of two or more comparable replacement vehicles available in your market during the previous 90 days
- The retail value as determined by a generally recognized used motor vehicle retailer, including:
- An electronic used-car sales database
- A guidebook, such as the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) guide or Kelley Blue Book
- The retail cost based on two or more quotes from licensed, local car dealers
The statute also states that a settlement for the cash value of a vehicle must include sales tax.
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What If You Disagree With State Farm’s Settlement Offer?
You do not have to accept the first offer for ACV from State Farm or any other insurance company. You can negotiate your settlement if you believe your car is worth more, but you will need to prove that the car’s fair market value is higher than their estimates. A lawyer with our firm can help you gather:
- Alternative estimates from local and online car dealers
- An appraisal
- Estimates/opinions from a mechanic
- Proof that you added stereo equipment, special lighting, or other features to your vehicle that increased its ACV
We can also assist with insurance negotiations and help file your claims and paperwork. Once you reach an agreement with the insurance company, we can help you with the “red tape” of paying off your loan paperwork, transferring your title, and legally preparing your vehicle for salvage.
Can You Seek Additional Compensation for Your Car Accident?
If the impact of your accident was enough to total your vehicle, you may have also suffered physical injuries. If you have medical bills resulting from your crash, an attorney with our firm can help you with a personal injury protection (PIP) insurance claim.
According to Florida Statutes § 627.736, drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP to pay for accident-related medical care, no matter who is at fault. PIP pays for 80 percent of all reasonable treatment as long as you seek care within 14 days of your crash. Covered treatment includes but is not limited to:
- Ambulance fees
- Hospital bills
- Nursing services
- Dental care
Florida drivers must also have $10,000 in property damage liability insurance (PDL). If another driver caused your crash due to negligence or recklessness, we can help you seek compensation for your vehicle from their insurance provider.
The state does not require that drivers carry bodily injury liability, though some motorists may choose to do so. If you have severe injuries, you may be eligible to step outside the no-fault system and seek compensation from a liable party. We can help you do this via an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. You could recover awards for:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages, earnings, and benefits
- Future lost income
- The total loss value of your vehicle
- Physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional anguish
- Loss of quality of life
- Wrongful death compensation if your loved one suffered a fatal injury
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Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to Insurance Claims?
Strictly speaking, insurance claims are not bound by the statute of limitations. However, you should still get started on your claim as soon as possible. If you cannot work out a satisfactory settlement agreement, you want to ensure you leave time to take legal action. An expired statute can also work against you during negotiations.
According to Florida Statute § 95.11, you have four years to file a personal injury or property damage case and two years to sue for wrongful death.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for Help With Your Car Accident Case
An attorney with our firm can represent you throughout the process of seeking an insurance settlement or pursuing legal action. We have more than 15 years of experience helping accident victims from across Florida. Reach out today for your free consultation.
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