Georgia Personal Injury Trial Attorneys

How is a Car Determined to be Totaled After an Accident?

By: Fry | Goehring

The day you buy your car at the dealership is a happy one. There’s a good chance you even took a picture of yourself smiling in front of your car before you drove it off the lot. On that day you signed your lease or purchase agreement, it’s likely that you never thought about a day where you’d get into an accident so severe that the car was almost unrecognizable.

While injuries are your first concern after you get into an accident, your car is still certainly a major source of worry. A car is often your only mode of transportation and trying to figure out how to commute to work or pick up your kids from school will be a concern after you have recovered from the accident.

When your car has major damage, there’s a good chance it could be totaled. But how do insurance companies determine whether a car is totaled after an accident? Is there a formula they use? And what do you do if they tell you your car is totaled?

Let’s learn more about what a totaled car is and how to deal with the aftermath of a totaled car.


You might have heard the term “totaled” before and were uncertain of what it meant. Essentially, when an insurer deems your car “totaled” it means that the car is a total loss after the accident and that the cost of repairs wouldn’t justify fixing the car. For example, if your car is worth $7,000 but your repairs would come to a total of $4,000, then it likely won’t be worth the money to fix it.

Generally, an older model of a car is more likely to be totaled because the value is lower, and the parts will be outdated and harder/more expensive to replace. If the car is totaled (and assuming it is covered by insurance), then your insurance company should cut you a check for the value of the car (pre-accident). If you still owe money on your car, your insurance company will pay the money owed to the financing company and the rest will be paid to you. If you leased your car, then the full amount will go back to the leasing company.

If you own the car free and clear, then when you receive your check may depend on how complicated the car accident was.

If you were involved in a car accident in Georgia and you were not at fault, you may be able to pursue compensation for repairing or replacing your vehicle. Contact the Fry Law Team at (404) 948-3571 to see if pursuing legal action will be in your best interest.