When auto accidents occur, one of the first elements drivers will investigate is the specific details of insurance coverage for their vehicle. The amount of damage the vehicle suffered in the collision can be central to any claim, and the insurance provider has a few options based on this damage determination and the conditions of the policy. One of those options is “totaling out” a vehicle if the repair bills are estimated to exceed a certain percentage of the vehicle’s total value, also known as the Blue Book value. In some instances, insurance providers may want to pay the possible book value on the claim and then take the vehicle as their property to have it repaired after the fact. An experienced car crash law firm will always be on the lookout for ways in which an insurance company might handle a claim that isn’t in the best financial interests of the policy holder.

Determining the Value of a Wrecked VehicleDetermining the value of a car wreck - car accident attorney

There are certain criteria that insurance claims adjusters evaluate when determining the value of a wrecked vehicle. The first two primary factors in determining value is the year and model of the vehicle. This information provides a basis for valuation. Claims adjusters then inspect for any special features that may enhance the vehicle value. Third is the actual condition of the vehicle before the accident occurred, and finally, they total all of the repair estimates and compare that total to the valuation of the vehicle if the accident had not happened. The resulting figure will determine if the adjuster claims it as a total loss or accept and pay for the repair. 

Evaluating a Physical Property Settlement

It is important for auto accident claimants to understand that the physical property element of their claim is not necessarily connected to the personal injury elements. The problem is that the physical property claim will typically be offered before settling injury claims. Insurance adjusters will typically want the claimant to sign some sort of documentation when accepting the physical property payout. It is vital to read all details of the agreement, especially the fine print. Many times the adjuster will attempt to include a full release of personal injury responsibilities without disclosing the particular clause in the agreement. Once an agreement of this type is signed, it is very difficult to obtain any damages for personal injuries. An experienced attorney from our car accident law firm will be on guard for any unscrupulous attempts from insurance company claims adjusters. 

What a Car Crash Law Firm Can Do

auto accident settlement offerHaving a car crash law firm representing the case from the very beginning means that each tactic attempted by the insurance company claims adjuster will be scrutinized completely for potential issues that may reduce the value of a settlement. Insureres look at each element of a claim as an opportunity to reduce the value of the payout, especially with vehicle coverage. There can be negotiations focused on the actual condition and value of the vehicle immediately before the accident occurred, which may be a case for an evaluation that exceed the minimum Blue Book value. There may also be a negotiation concerning the location at which any repairs are performed and the use of aftermarket parts versus genuine manufacturer’s parts in the repair process. As already stated, it is not uncommon for an insurance companies to salvage a vehicle based on a much lower amount than the Blue Book price and have it repaired and resold after purchase. An experienced car accident attorney can address all of these claim value points in settlement negotiation while ensuring that the personal injury claim is still open for recovery. 


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Never let an insurance claims agent convince you that your vehicle was not as valuable as claimed following an auto accident. Anyone in North Carolina having difficulty with a salvage title issue in an accident case should call our office and let us put our experience to work for you.

For additional information on car accident claims, please consult the following articles:

  1. 5 Questions For a Car Accident Lawyer In A Free Consultation
  2. I’ve Received A Fast Settlement Offer – Should I Accept It? 
  3. Avoid Delays When Filing Your Auto Accident Claim – Here’s Why 
  4. Car Accident Lawyer Looks At SUV Accidents 
  5. 5 Things a Car Accident Attorney Can Do that You Can’t
  6. Car Accident Claims – Why Settle Out of Court? 
  7. Five Common Car Accident Injuries With Delayed Symptoms 
  8. Reckless Driving Vs. Distracted Driving in North Carolina 

The articles and resources on our website are provided to help you understand the basics of the claims process and what you might expect as you pursue a claim, but they are in no way a substitute for professional legal representation. Please contact our offices today to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. Call 1-800-ACCIDENT any time, day or night.