What if I totaled a leased car?

If you were driving a leased car, and you damaged it enough for it to be totaled, there may be several steps you could take. Contact our car accident attorneys for more information and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your specific case. Although everybody’s circumstances are different, below is an article that discusses the different steps you can take if you have totaled a leased car.

A leased car is a car that is essentially “rented.” This means that at the end of a certain number of years (usually 3 or 5), you must return the vehicle. You do not own the vehicle, but you make monthly payments on it to keep the vehicle. This is a great way for drivers to change out their cars every couple of years to avoid used vehicle maintenance. But this means that if you were to ever damage or get your leased car totaled, you essentially might have to pay it out.

Can you purchase car insurance for a leased vehicle?

Every vehicle that is driven on the road needs to have car insurance. California law requires that every driver have car insurance. Failing to have car insurance could result in hefty fines, possibly even license suspension. In the case of an accident, you will not be able to receive any compensation if you drove your vehicle without car insurance.

You must purchase car insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements. This means that although there are minimum requirements, you could go above those minimum requirements, which is usually a higher premium. If your car insurance only pays out a portion of the damage, then you most likely will have to pay the rest out of pocket. Any damage done to a vehicle falls under “property damage.”

Gap Coverage

Gap coverage is a common category of insurance offered to those who have a leased vehicle. Gap coverage is meant to compensate the lessee for the difference in the lease. For example, if you totaled your vehicle, and it was worth $30,000 at the time of the accident, and you have $35,000 left on the lease, you should only pay the $5,000 difference. For more information on gap coverage policies, get in touch with our top-rated car accident attorneys today.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is another type of category that car insurance policies may cover that include repairs or a replacement to your vehicle in the case that your leased car was totaled or damaged in an accident. However, several insurance policies may have specific exceptions, especially if you caused the accident.

Do I have to repair or replace my leased car?

As soon as an accident occurs, make sure that your car is assessed for damage. After a police report is written up, and you have gotten all the medical assistance you need, you then should take your car to get examined by a mechanic. A mechanic may be able to tell you whether your car is totaled, or it could be repaired. If the damage is severe, then your car is most likely totaled. A totaled vehicle is usually a car that needs repairs of more than 65% of the car’s actual worth.

How can I determine fault in a car accident?

After a car accident, especially if there are multiple vehicles involved, it could be very difficult to determine who the liable party may be. It is very important that after an accident you refrain from making any statements or admitting liability. Sometimes, many people may think they are liable, when they in fact are not.

After you have been involved in an accident, you should:

  1. Contact the police to have a police report written up. Sometimes, the police officer could go into detail and explain how the accident occurred, and who the potential liable parties are.
  2. Gather evidence about the accident. This includes taking photos of the property damage, along with taking photos of the accident scene.
  3. Hire a car accident attorney. An attorney will be able to determine who was liable and caused the accident. This is very important when filing a claim with your insurance company, because if you were determined to be liable, then your insurance may not pay out.

What will my insurance company do?

After you have been involved in a car accident, you most likely will have to file a claim with your insurance company that details the accident. The insurance company will then initiate an investigation into the car accident. This includes taking a look at all of the accident photos, and interviewing any witnesses who may have seen the accident.

What if I was also responsible for the accident?

If you were only partially responsible for the accident, you may be able to receive partial compensation from the at-fault party. In California, even if you were more than 50% at fault, you may still recover the percentage from the other party. For example, if you were at fault 80%, you may still be able to recover 20% of the damages from the other party.

Who will have to pay for the car accident?

After liability is determined, then the parties will have to pay depending on their percentage. It can take several months for all parties to investigate the claim and determine liability.

What if I totaled my car and did not have insurance?

Since having insurance is required, you may be required to pay the entire amount of the vehicle’s worth at the time of returning the vehicle. You will have to take on all of the monetary costs associated with the vehicle damage simply because you did not have insurance at the time of the accident.

Do I have to take responsibility?

When you initially signed your lease vehicle contract, you took the responsibility of taking on all the damage associated with your negligence. Meaning that you must return the car back in operable condition. If you were to completely total the vehicle, then you must pay the company the remaining balance of the car. This is when the insurance company steps in.

What if someone hit my leased car?

If you are not responsible at all for the accident, you may be able to hold the other party responsible for your entire damages.  You then may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. Personal injury law is a type of law that occurs when a negligent party causes bodily injury or property damage to another party. Other than medical bills, you may also be able to recover lost wages and emotional distress associated with the injuries involved in the car accident.

Have you damaged your leased car? Contact our car accident attorneys today.

For specific information, our experienced car accident attorneys advise that you take a look at your lease contract you initially signed when you first got the car. If you need assistance, we are available 24/7 via phone and email, and have several offices located in Los Angeles County to better serve you. Our highly qualified legal professional team is on standby in the case that you need any assistance.

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