What Does it Mean When a Vehicle is a Total Loss in a North Carolina Car Accident?

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “Should I take photographs of the property damage sustained to my car, of the accident scene, or of my visible injuries following an accident?”


Damage to a vehicle is the most common type of damage as a result of car accidents in North Carolina. Even if your crash does not involve any bodily injury, it could leave your vehicle damaged.

wrecked-car-Charlotte-Mooresville-Waxhaw-total-loss-vehicle-attorney-300x225Depending on the severity of the car crash and the extent of damage to your vehicle, the insurance company could either make a settlement offer to cover the cost of repairing your car or declare your vehicle “a total loss.”

What does it mean when an insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss following a car accident in North Carolina? Consult with our North Carolina car accident attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to discuss your options if your vehicle was declared totaled following the crash.


What is a Total Loss?

Whether or not a car will be declared a total loss depends on the extent of the property damage and the cost of repairing the damaged or destroyed vehicle following a car crash.

When the damage is not significant or manageable and adequate repairs can restore your car, you will most likely receive a settlement offer to cover the cost of repairs.

However, when the cost of repairing your motor vehicle is too high, your car can be declared a total loss.


How Do Insurance Companies Declare Vehicles a Total Loss?

Insurance companies typically use two industry-standard methods when determining whether a damaged motor vehicle is totaled:

  • Actual Cash Value (ACV). This term refers to your vehicle’s market value before the collision. Experts will assess a variety of factors to determine the ACV of your motor vehicle, including the model and make of your vehicle, model year, mileage, and its overall condition prior to the crash.
  • Total Loss Threshold (TLT). Each state has a different Total Loss Threshold, which is essentially a percentage of your vehicle’s ACV. Insurance companies declare vehicles totaled when a certain threshold is exceeded. In North Carolina, the TLT is 75%. For example, if your car’s ACV was $5,000 before the accident and it would cost $4,000 to make the repairs, your vehicle will be declared a total loss.


Why You Need a North Carolina Car Accident Attorney

When your car has been severely damaged in a vehicle crash, it might not be immediately clear whether the insurance company would make a settlement offer to repair the vehicle or declare it a total loss.

Keep in mind that insurance companies protect their own bottom line. They are not looking out for your best interests. That is why you should get help from a skilled car accident attorney in North Carolina to assess the extent of your damages following the crash.

An insurance company may determine your car’s ACV to be lower than it actually is. For this reason, it is best to be represented by a knowledgeable lawyer to help you protect your interests when negotiating a settlement.

Contact our car accident attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to review your particular case and help you get a fair settlement with the insurance company. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video or phone consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.






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