What does It Mean When You Total Your Car?

Motor vehicle accidents can change any person’s life in an instant. However, if you were involved in a crash that totaled your motor vehicle, not only can this collision leave you dealing with debilitating injuries, but the extensive medical bills and property expenses that result can forever change your family’s life as well. That is why, following this catastrophic car accident, it is normal for victims and their loved ones to have numerous questions regarding their possible legal remedies.

Yet, until you are able to go over these specific concerns with a knowledgeable accident attorney, we have prepared responses to some of the frequently asked questions that our clients often have after a ‘totaled’ car accident. We hope with these answers, we can help clarify some of your concerns and provide you with further information regarding the legal steps you need to take next so that you can pursue the monetary damages you require.

When Is a Motor Vehicle Considered Totaled After an Accident?

In Florida, a car is considered totaled when the damages to the vehicle are greater than 80% of its fair market value. This means that if the cost to repair your car exceeds 80% of the Actual Cash Value of your vehicle, it is likely the insurer will declare it a total loss. Actual Cash Value generally refers to how much the motor vehicle was worth immediately before it sustained damages.

Will Insurance Cover a Totaled Car After an Accident?

Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means that anyone involved in an accident will have to turn to their own insurance company for coverage for their injuries. However, when it comes to property damage, the liable party’s insurance carrier will be responsible for covering these damages.

Yet, it is important to note that because the minimum property damage liability coverage required in the state is only $10,000, in most instances, if you were involved in a totaled car accident, this amount will barely cover any of your costs. Consequently, in these situations, you may have to hold the at-fault party personally liable for the damages that resulted from a personal injury lawsuit. 

How Much Money You Can Recover for a Totaled Motor Vehicle

If your car is considered a total loss following an accident, you may be entitled to be paid its fair market value or what it would have been sold for before the accident. That is why, in these instances, it is a good idea to consult the Kelley Blue Book to educate yourself about the worth of your car. 

In addition, your recovery can also include payment for losses resulting from damaged contents inside the vehicle, towing and rental car expenses, and other costs associated with the loss of your automobile. 

However, because there are numerous elements that can impact this recovery, it is often in your best interest to reach out to an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney who can help you not only figure out whether you have a viable claim but the amount of compensation you can pursue.

If You Owe Money on the Car, Can You Still Recover Compensation After a Totaled Car Accident?

When a car is totaled, and it is determined that there is a total loss, issues may arise regarding compensation if the car is financed. This is because the person driving this vehicle has likely not made their final payment on it yet and still owes money to the bank or the lender.

What usually ends up happening in these situations is if you obtain compensation for your totaled car, the bank or the lender will usually be reimbursed first, and then the rest of the money will come to you. Yet, if the car’s value is less than what is owed, you will be responsible for paying the remainder of the loan unless you have special insurance that will cover the rest of this amount.

However, due to these complex issues that can arise following a totaled car accident, it may be best to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your potential legal options. 

How an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Fight for Damages After a Totaled Car Accident

If you have been involved in a car accident due to another person’s wrongful actions, you will likely want to pursue maximum compensation, especially if the crash resulted in a totaled car. Fortunately, when you have an experienced car accident attorney on your team, you will not have to handle this complex legal battle alone. Rather, these attorneys can work hard on your behalf to secure the money you need and fight for the justice you deserve. 

To try to get you this outcome, these attorneys can: 

  • Go over the car accident with you in detail, evaluate your case, and determine if you have a viable claim
  • Answer all the questions you have and figure out what legal options you can pursue
  • Investigate the automobile accident and obtain the evidence needed to show what happened and who was at fault for the crash
  • Bring in experts to validate your claim, including accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, and financial specialists
  • Handle all the negotiations and discussions with the other side and the insurance company and pursue a fair settlement amount
  • Head to trial if the other side is not willing to settle your case fairly and fight relentlessly for a successful outcome

Fight for the Compensation You Need with Eltringham Law Group

If you were involved in an accident that resulted in a totaled car, do not wait to get the legal help you need. Instead, contact an experienced car accident attorney at Eltringham Law Group today for a free case consultation and find out how these lawyers can help you fight for the financial recovery you are entitled to. 

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I usually never leave reviews, good or bad, but for this instance, I most definitely had to. David and Marnie were both AMAZING. They made me feel comfortable and confident in their ability to resolve my case. I was walking in a crosswalk and was hit by a vehicle resulting in having to go to the hospital. I sustained injuries from this that I am still in the midst of dealing with. I contacted the firm and was able to speak with them via zoom immediately. I decided to sign with them on a Monday evening (3 days after my accident) and by Tuesday afternoon (the very next day) my case was settled. And settled for the very max that was able to be obtained. I attribute a lot of this to not only the expertise of the firm, but the relationships that Marnie has built with her experience working as a lawyer within a major insurance provider, which just so happened to be the insurance provider involved in my case. This is incredibly atypical for a case to be settled this quickly, especially with this outcome. It has been two weeks to the day today that my accident has happened and my case has already been resolved. I am blessed and more than happy that I decided to hire this firm. Every case is different, but I can bet that this firm will handle your case with care and the utmost professionalism. I pray I never have to go through a situation like this again, but if I did, I wouldn’t hesitate to call this law firm. Thank you guys very much!!


I highly recommend Eltringham Law Group to anyone seeking legal advice after having a car accident. David Eltringham and his entire staff gave me the personal attention I needed during a very difficult and painful time. David took the extra steps needed to ensure that I received the medical care I needed as well as the financial compensation I deserved. Harold Torres, Paralegal updated me every step of the way. Thank you Eltringham Law Group!

Laura Lauri

I had such a great experience with Eltringham Law Group! I was always kept in the loop and the experience was so personal. I was always in close contact with Teresa who was an absolute pleasure to work with. I would definitely recommend Eltringham Law Group again and again – I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!!!

Alex Peacock

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Working With Us

Lighthouse™ is a system unique to Eltringham Law Group – Personal Injury & Car Accident Attorneys, it’s what makes us different from other personal injury attorneys. We built this program to hold our own attorneys accountable and make sure our clients are getting the care and consideration they deserve.


Client Onboarding
Client Onboarding

The client meets with our Lighthouse Concierge Team to discuss the details of their potential case. A dedicated Lighthouse Team Member is assigned to the case to gather information and maintain constant communication with the client.


Investigation Case Analyzer
Investigation Case Analyzer

The assigned Lighthouse Team Member gathers and assess all information related to the case. A majority of the information is processed, paperwork is submitted and any questions/concerns the Lighthouse Team has for the client are clearly communicated and addressed.


Client Success Maximizer
Client Success Maximizer

The client meets with their Lighthouse Concierge Team Members to conduct a full review and explanation of the process. Both legal and medical records are reviewed and our team sets realistic and achievable expectations for the client.


Phase 1 Medical
Phase 1 Medical

The client is undergoing treatment at this point of the process and the Lighthouse Concierge Team maintains consistent communication to monitor the treatment scheduled. Additional medical referrals and testing may be required at this point if recommended by the current medical provider.


Phase 2 Medical
Phase 2 Medical

The client finalizes initial medical treatments that may include referrals to specialists, medical procedures, further testing and/or additional treatment recommendations by their medical providers.


Resolution or Litigation
Resolution or Litigation

The Lighthouse Concierge Team is in communication with those involved with and/or responsible for the damages incurred in your case. Two possible outcomes at this stage are 1) an achieved settlement agreement or 2) the inability to achieve a fair settlement that will result in the Eltringham Law Group filing a law suit on your behalf.


Post-Settlement Process
Post-Settlement Process

The case has completed and an agreement/resolution has been achieved with maximum in the best interest of the client. The Lighthouse Concierge Team meets with the client to fully explain the results and work diligently to finalize their case.