Advantages to Knowing How Total Losses Are Decided in Texas Knowing whether the insurance company will be totaling your car after an accident in Texas is helpful for many reasons. First, it gives you the opportunity to get an early jump start on researching comparable vehicles to present to the insurance company in order to increase your offer on the actual cash value of the car. Second, it will give you more time to shop for a replacement vehicle while the insurance company performs their investigation and estimate of the damages. Third, it may help to avoid accruing additional costs such as storage fees that the insurance company may refuse to pay if you failed to properly mitigate your damages by leaving your car at a storage facility for an unreasonable amount of time. Texas Law on When a Car is Totaled Texas law mandates how insurance companies determine when to total a vehicle and provides a formula, as indicated in the Texas Transportation Code. According to Texas Transportation Code Section 501.091(15), a salvage or “totaled” vehicle has damage to or is missing a major component part to the extent that the cost of repairs, including parts and labor other than the cost of materials and labor for repainting the motor vehicle and excluding sales tax on the total cost of repairs, exceeds the actual cash value of the motor vehicle immediately before the damage. In other words, the Texas total loss formula to determine whether a damaged vehicle is a total loss is: Cost of Repair + Salvage Value > Actual Cash Value If the total cost of repairs plus the salvage value is greater than the actual cash value (ACV) or market value of car, then the insurance company decides to total the car. For example, if your 2008 Honda Accord has an actual cash value of $5,000 and the cost to repair it is $4,500 and the salvage value is $1,000, then your car would be totaled. $4,500 + $1,000 > $5,000 For tips on how to handle your own car accident property damage case in Texas, click here.Read More
Insurance Attorneys Serving All of Texas
Unfortunately, automobile accidents can happen to anyone. From a fender bender to a catastrophic accident, Texas roads experience some of the highest numbers of traffic accidents in the country. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 254,415 persons were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2017. Of those accidents, there were 14,282 serious injury crashes with 17,535 people sustaining a serious injury. When you are hurt in an automobile accident which is caused by the carelessness of another person or business, it is their legal duty to make you whole either by seeking compensation through their insurance company or directly through the responsible party.
Not only will your injuries affect the value of your case, where the accident happened and where you and the responsible party live will impact the value, as well. A plaintiff may file their lawsuit in any county that is proper according to Texas law, which usually means either where the accident occurred, where the defendant lives, or where the plaintiff resides. This is called “venue.” Where you are potentially filing a lawsuit and negotiating a settlement with an insurance company or where you actually file a lawsuit has an effect on the value of your claim.
Some counties are more favorable to the plaintiff, some are more favorable to the defendant, and some are right down the middle. Factors such as local judicial profile, demographics, and political climate determine whether you’re in a county that may be more or less favorable to your case.
Generally, many of the southern counties such as Nueces, Hidalgo, and Cameron are more plaintiff-friendly. In addition, many eastern counties such as Jefferson, Nacogdoches, and Liberty are either plaintiff-friendly or neutral to both parties. On the other hand, much of the panhandle of Texas, except Gray and Wheeler counties, is either neutral or more defendant-friendly. The larger counties such as Harris, Fort Bend, Travis, and Bexar seem to be in the middle, except Dallas county, which is now considered a more plaintiff-friendly venue. Nevertheless, juries in the Rio Grande Valley and Gulf Coast are the best venues for bringing a car accident lawsuit. These juries tend to be more sympathetic to injured parties and award larger settlements and, in effect, the settlements in these areas tend to be larger.
Whether you live in El Paso, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Beaumont or somewhere in between, we can help.