Is my car Totaled and what do I do next?

Is my car Totaled?

When the cost to repair the car damage to its pre-damaged state exceeds the cost of the vehicle’s worth or actual cash value your vehicle will be declared a total loss (“Totaled”). The insurance company may decide your damaged car is a total loss if:

  • It cannot be repaired safely;
  • Repairs would cost more than the car is worth; or
  • State laws require the company to call it a total loss due to the amount of damage. This can vary from 60 percent – 100 percent of the car’s pre-accident value in Texas.

What do I do when my car is Totaled?

When the insurance company declares your car total they will offer you an Actual Cash Value or in Texas called a Fair Market Value. You have the right to keep your vehicle or do a cash settlement with the insurance company. If you are using your own insurance there is usually a deductible associated with using your own coverage. The deductible is deducted from the value of your vehicle. However, if there is someone else who is at fault for your accident you can ask your insurance company to waive your deductible and subrogate the money. (What does subrogation mean?)

Insurance companies want to make you believe that you are

What does “Fair Market Value” mean?

The insurance companies, adjuster, will make note of your mileage, the condition of the body, interior and tires, and any additional parts or equipment you’ve added. Based on the pre-accident condition of your car, your adjuster will find similar models that are for sale in your area and will base the total loss estimate on these comparable cars. This is one method of determining your vehicles “Fair Market Value.”

Also, you always want to make sure to ask for a valuation report. The valuation report will determine the value of your car compared to the other vehicle in your area. A few sites you’ll want to take a look at as you determine your vehicle’s fair market value include:

Autotrader

Compares your vehicle to other similar make and models in your area by using:

  • Average asking prices from private sellers and dealers in your area.
    • Edmunds
    • Kelley Blue Book

    Uses surveys from nationwide vehicle sales to calculate market value.
    Provides data for:
    Retail value.
    Trade-in value.
    Private party pricing.
    Known as an industry leader for accurate new and used vehicle pricing.

    National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Guides
    Known for a wide variety of pricing guides for vehicles such as:
    Used cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.

    Most companies will issue payment within a few days of finalizing the Fair Market Value of your car. If you leased the car, payment goes directly to the leasing company. If you financed the car, the payoff amount goes to the finance company or bank and you get the rest. Of course, if you owned the car yourself, you get the full check. The insurance company must add to the Fair Market Value and any applicable taxes, license fees and other fees required to transfer ownership.

    What do I do when the insurance company’s offer is lower than my lien amount?

    Most vehicles in America never appreciate in value. Additionally, the dealerships have a huge markup and finance charges. Therefore, often times, the fair market value doesn’t cover the difference between what the vehicle’s actual worth and the amount left on the loan or lease. This is where gap insurance comes in.

    Guaranteed Auto Protection

    GAP insurance, protects you from having to pay the difference between your car’s Fair Market Value and the amount remaining on your vehicle loan or lease.

    The insurance company totaled my car, can I keep my car?

    The quick answer is yes you may, however, this option I never recommend to anyone for several reasons.
    1. Most likely the cost of repairing the vehicle will exceed the value of the car.
    2. Most States require that you finish the repairs before you can register the vehicle and once registered they will most likely issue you a “Salvage Title”
    3. I have seen cases where it causes a lot of problems with insurance companies if you were to be involved in another collision.

LOCS Cinco de Mayo 2017

Location

600 W Jefferson Blvd.
Dallas TX 75208
(Close to El Rancho supermarket)

Phone

469-657-4090

Neighborhood

North Oak Cliff

Category

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Rush Hour Dallas Car Accident Guide

Comments From A Personal Injury Lawyer

The Joys of Traffic in Dallas

The DFW metropolis is one of the fastest growing cities in the country with a population of over 6
million people and growing. This means more cars on the roads and more congestion on highways and interstates.

When you get off work and can’t wait to get home, chances are, you will be stuck in the joys of traffic. We’ve all been there and it is not fun. But even worse, you get rear ended and you think it can’t get any worse from there. You want to be prepared in situations like this so that when you do come this awful moment that everyone dreads, you can be on top of it.

At the Law Office of Sean Chalaki, we want to be here to help. So we have come up with a Step-by-Step guide to help assist you in an accident that was not your fault.

1. Call 911 and Request a police officer and an ambulance for any injured person.
2. Ask and insist they make a report.
3. Do not leave the scene of the accident.
4. Take pictures of the accident scene and the vehicles before moving the vehicles.
5. Write the names and phone numbers of any witnesses and all others involved in the accident.
6. Do not discuss the accident with the other drivers.
7. Obtain the accident report number from the investigating police officer.

Call Chalaki Law at 972-793-8500 and we will be happy to assist you with your accident.

Dallas Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

A Personal Injury Lawyer Explains

Personal Injury Explained

The practice of Personal Injury Law protects your rights after you suffer injuries to your person due to another person’s act or omission of an act of negligence or wrongdoing. Your injuries could be caused by car accidents, slip and fall, product defects, dog bites, or other factors. In these situations and others you have the right to be compensated for your damages including your pain and suffering. People can be injured at home, work, job sites, on the road, at the stores, or anywhere they may travel.

There are several other factors that need to be taken in consideration when making your personal injury claim. First, all parties responsible for the accident needs to be identified and held liable.

Second, you may have a claim against your own insurance depending on the policy you have.

Read more: Understanding Your Auto Insurance Policy

Third, you may have other legal options in recovering more than just your damages if the individual was grossly negligent or violated the law while committing the tort. Moreover, there are other factors that need to be taken in consideration which you can further consult with DFW personal injury lawyer who have the proper experience in handling such cases.

Liability is a key factor in handling personal injury cases. Liability can be determined by proving that the individual who caused the harm did so because he/she did not act as a reasonable person would have in the same circumstances. If the opposing party fails to properly investigate the case and denies liability you may be entitled to file a lawsuit and recover your damages.

It is important to note that many personal injury cases never make it to the courts. Out-of-court settlements are often chosen to resolve the issue because they are not as lengthy or costly. If a settlement cannot be reached then the case will be presented to the court of proper jurisdiction for litigation.

When you are injured in any form of accident, there are actions that must be taken. First and foremost, inform the police. Seek medical help for your injuries immediately. Lastly, gather evidence, photos, and information on the accident and injuries. This includes talking to witnesses and taking down their names and addresses. You should also write a personal account of the incident while the details are fresh in your mind.

Please refer to our step by step instructions: Car Accident Help Guide

If you have been injured in a car accident, truck accident, death in the family, slip and fall or suffered any other injuries contact our office and let us assist you. At the Law Offices of Sean Chalaki, our goal is to protect you and your loved ones before the incident and protect your rights after the incident. For more information, call DFW Personal Injury Attorney Sean Chalaki at (972) 793-8500 for a free consultation.

Sean Chalaki was recognized for his outstanding legal achievements and continued excellence in his practice of law by making the Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars list for 2016

Sean Chalaki – Personal Injury Lawyer

2016 Rising Stars by Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multi-phase process that includes peer nominations, independent research by Super Lawyers, and evaluations from a highly credentialed panel of attorneys. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for referring attorneys, as well as individuals and businesses seeking legal representation. Ultimately, only 5% of Texas Lawyers are selected.

Read: Sean Chalaki Profile on Super Lawyers’ Website

The Rising Stars selection process mirrors the Super Lawyers selection process with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. However, whereas up to 5% of Texas lawyers are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5% are named to the Rising Stars list.

Sean Chalaki exhibits exceptional legal skills and unwavering commitment to clients. Mr. Chalaki’s primary focus is personal injury litigation. However, Mr. Chalaki has the ability to take control of any situation and assist clients with an array of legal matters. Notability, Mr. Chalaki is distinguished in the legal community for implementing innovative technology into the litigation process. By creating a digital office, Mr. Chalaki and his firm uses the most advanced technology to research and process cases. Additionally, Mr. Chalaki’s digital innovations and integration resulted in dynamic advances for presenting evidence in the court room. The combination of implementing advanced technology and maintaining a steadfast commitment to clients has made Mr. Chalaki a leader among his peers.

We are proud to announce that Sean Chalaki was recognized for his outstanding legal achievements and continued excellence in his practice of law by making the Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars list for 2016.

Please join us in congratulating Sean Chalaki for his honorable achievement.

Insurance Premiums Dallas Lawyer

Why are my insurance premiums so high?

The Factors That Contribute to Insurance Premiums Going Up!

Insurance companies set their rates based on how likely they believe a person is to file a claim. If they believe you are more likely to file a claim, then your insurance premium will be higher. If the insurance company believes you are less likely to file a claim, then your insurance premium is lower. Some factors insurance companies consider are obvious such as person’s driving record for vehicle insurance and a person’s medical history for life and health insurance.  But other factors might not be so obvious.

Here are some factors which may make your insurance premium higher:

Credit Score: Statistics show that people with lower credit scores are more likely to get into vehicle accidents than people with higher credit scores. Therefore, lower credit scores will likely get you a higher insurance premium.

Household Claim History: When looking for home insurance, insurers have access to seven years’ worth of insurance claims for that particular house through the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). Even if you didn’t live at the home during the time the claims were made, your insurance premiums can go up if there is a history of claims for that home. For example, if there have been several mold-related claims made against the home, the chances are higher there could be mold-related claims in the future.

Car’s Horsepower: If your vehicle is a six-cylinder model, rather than a four-cylinder model, it is likely your insurance premium will be higher. The higher the horsepower of your vehicle, the higher the insurance premium.

Driving Record: If you have had several driving violations, you are a higher risk to cause vehicle accidents with other drivers. Therefore, your insurance rates will be higher because you are a higher risk for the insurance company. Generally, more than two moving violations in the last three years will usually put a driver in a higher premium.

Co-Workers: If you receive your health insurance through your job, then the premium is determined by the collective risk of the group. Therefore, if you work with older people who are more susceptible to sickness, your premium may be higher, regardless of how young and healthy you may be. However, if you work with a lot of healthy, young people, your premium will likely be lower, even if you are older and more prone to illness.

Body Mass Index: Your weight also has a big impact on your health insurance premiums since obesity puts any person at a greater risk for injury, sickness and life threatening diseases. Generally, if you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, you will pay an average of 22 percent more than someone with a BMI of 25. Even if you have lost weight, you may have to prove you have kept the weight off for at least a year before your premiums will go down.

Education Level: Statistically, insurance companies know there is a connection between the level of education you have and the number of insurance claims you make. In fact, people with higher educations, tend to make fewer insurance claims. Therefore, with each level of education you complete, make sure you let your insurance company know because it could lower your premium. Similarly, your job itself could lower your insurance premium or make it higher. People in careers such as corporate executive, attorneys or teachers tend to receive lower premiums, while blue collar workers tend to have higher insurance premiums because they tend to make more insurance claims.

Family Health History: Even if you have no history of sickness or illness, your insurance premiums may be higher if your parents or siblings died or even were diagnosed with heart disease or cancer before age 60. That kind of family history makes you a higher risk to also have that illness making your medical costs higher.

Zip Code: Where you live can also impact your insurance premium. If you live in an area where a lot of insurance claims are made, even if you never made one yourself, your insurance premium will be higher. Likewise, if you live in an area with a low number of insurance claims, then your premium will likely be lower. Insurance companies study all the statistics possible to find out what kind of risk you are.

Hobbies: Insurance companies also want to know about your hobbies. If you are one who enjoys adrenaline or adventure sports such as skydiving, bull riding or race car driving, then your insurance rates will generally be higher. Also, if you are planning a lot of international travel, especially to risky areas such as Afghanistan, then you could also see higher insurance premiums.

Top 40 Under 40 National Trial Lawyers – Sean Chalaki

Sean Chalaki Recognized By The National Trial Lawyers As Top 40 Under 40 in 2015

Sean Chalaki is consistently recognized for his dedication to practice of law.  Progressive and innovative, Mr. Chalaki has earned a reputation as a pioneer in combining technology, outstanding strategic thinking, and execution to maximize jury communication and persuasion.  Moreover, Sean is well known in the community to be comfortable in any legal environment including complicated business, negotiations and civil litigation. In addition to his extensive legal experience, Mr. Chalaki also serves as member of several community organization and is an invaluable business advisor to several DFW’s leading entrepreneurs and business organizations. Accordingly, it is fitting that the National Trial Lawyers would recognized Sean Chalaki among their ranks in the Top 40 under 40 list for 2015.

The National Trial Lawyers is a member-driven organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from across the country who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff trial lawyers. Through educational publications, training, and networking opportunities, The National Trail Lawyers organization strives to catalog and promote excellence in the practice of law.  Each year The National Trial Lawyers compose a list of the Top 40 under 40.  This list is a professionally recognized, coveted and prestigious acknowledgement of legal excellence. Composed of the top trial lawyers from each state or regions of certain highly-populated states who are younger than the age of 40, membership into The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40 is by invitation only and is extended exclusively to those trial lawyers practicing civil plaintiff law.  Invitees must exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer under the age of 40 and excellence in the practice of law. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

In 2014 Mr. Chalaki decided to focus strictly on litigation.  When asked what is the strategy behind the success his law firm, Chalaki said, intelligence, innovation and invested. We have knowledgeable and professional attorneys that are ready to assist our clients, whether circumstances require knowledge in the areas of Personal and Catastrophic Injury, Family Law, Business and Corporate Litigation, Real Estate, Estate Planning, Probateor general Civil Litigation. In addition, I care to assemble a team that is invested in our clients and their individual situations.  It is their duty to relate to clients with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy.  Furthermore, our firm has the ability to take control of the situation and assist our clients with an array of legal matters with the respect, understanding, and commitment, they deserve.

Each of the distinguished Top 40 under 40 members strives to encompass the knowledge, skill, experience and success held by only the best lawyers in America.  The National Trial Lawyers’ mission to promote a unique and professional networking opportunity for young lawyers, while developing progressive ideas to pursue justice for those injured by the negligence of others, to educate the public about the importance of access to courts that are free of bias and undue influence, and to protect the right of trial by jury.

Chalaki Law Defends Dog Bite Victims

Dog Bite Liability

Personal Injury Lawyer explains

Dogs are commonly known as man’s best friend. They provide us with comfort, happiness, and safety. Despite this, they can also cause unforeseeable harm. Dog bites are a serious issue and affect many people in Texas on a daily basis. Many people may not realize the severity or damage a dog bite can incur. Victims of dog bites may experience lasting mental and physical wounds. Liability may be imposed to dog owners for unprovoked attacks on individuals. However, dog owners and victims of dog bites can both protect themselves by staying up to date on current animal laws.

Texas does not generally impose liability on dog owners for the first time a dog bites. In Texas a dog owner is not held liable for the first bite under the “one bite rule”, unless the owner knew or had reason to know the dog had a dangerous propensity. The second bite does impose liability on dog owners since the owner knew the dog had a dangerous ability to hurt someone. Dog owners have a duty to warn people and try to avoid any possible injury. The Texas Supreme Court decided that it is the dog owner’s duty to attempt to stop their dog from attacking a person after the attack has begun. This is a civil duty, meaning that the victim can sue if the dog owner fails to attempt to stop the attack.

A victim can also base their claim on negligence when it is not possible to prove that the dog owner had prior knowledge of the dog’s dangerous tendency to bite people. A specific form of negligence, ‘negligence per se’, is when a dog owner or dog handler violates an animal control law in the municipal code or county code, such as a leash law.

The Leash law and Dangerous Dog Act helps prevent such accidents from occurring. Most cities or counties have leash laws generally stating that dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet at all times when off the owner’s property. Legal liability for a dog bite is based on:

(a) the owner knew that the dog had bitten someone previously or had the dangerous propensity to bite a person.

(b) the accident was caused by the negligence of the person handling the dog.

(c) the accident was caused by a violation of a leash law, prohibition against dogs trespassing or running at large, or a similar animal control law.

(d) the injury was caused intentionally by the person handling the dog.

A dangerous dog is any dog that makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept. This could be a park, field, street, or any other public property. Dog owners should not tie their dogs up to trees, since this causes the animals to become aggressive and act out many times.

Bodily injury means any injury that is characterized by bites or scratch wounds. This term includes any type of injury that would cause a reasonably sensible person to seek treatment from a medical professional or veterinarian without regard to whether the person actually sought the treatment. Within 30 days of the dog owner learning of an attack or being notified by court or animal control, the owner must register the dog as a dangerous dog, obtain $100,000.00 in liability insurance, and comply with local regulations and ordinances or deliver the dog to animal control.

If you were injured by an animal or have any questions concerning dog bites, contact our office. At the Law Offices of Sean Chalaki, our goal is to protect you and your loved ones before the incident and protect your rights after the incident. For more information, call our office at 972-793-8500 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Insurance Coverage - Dallas Injury Lawyer

I Am An Ice Day Victim….What Should I Do Now??? Does My Insurance Cover it?

Insurance Coverage – What to do, What to do, Whaaaat to do!!!

My Vehicle was damaged but it was not my fault:

If your vehicle was damaged because of your garage or covered parking collapsing:

  1. “If you have comprehensive auto coverage” you can simply claim it with your auto insurance.
  2. “If you only have liability insurance and live in an apartment complex”, get ready for a headache.  Get the apartment complex’s insurance information at all cost.  They will try to tell you that they are not liable and for you to claim it on your own auto insurance. Tell them you still have the right to report and claim the incident with their insurance company.  Your claim should be the apartment complex failed to properly maintain the premises prior and after the ice storm.
  3. “If your roof or garage clasped on your vehicle and you only have auto liability insurance:” Depending on your homeowner’s policy, your vehicle may be covered as a property damage under your homeowner’s insurance.
  4. “What if my vehicle was parked outside, someone hit it and ran away, and I only have Liability Insurance?” Unfortunately, if you don’t have comprehensive or collision coverage your solutions may be limited to your homeowners insurance depending on your coverage.

Slip and Fall:

“I fell inside or outside the store because it was wet or icy:”  Slip and fall cases are complicated cases to cover in a single blog therefore, call me on case by case basis and I will do a free initial consultation with you.  However, if you are injured please get the appropriate medical treatment.
Collisions:

  1. “I was involved in a car accident because someone cut me off:”   Unless, you have a police report or a witness that can testify to the other person’s fault, it is difficult to prove your case without having contact with the other vehicle.  Therefore, your collision coverage under your own auto insurance is your best bet.  As far as your bodily injuries, under Texas law you will have a difficult time claiming your injuries under UM/UIM coverage because there was no contact.  However, there are various cases where contact can be established through other methods, call the office for a free initial consultation and I will discuss your options.
  2. “I was involved in a car accident with median, wall, or a pole:” Collision coverage claim under your own auto insurance is your best option unless you feel like there was a default on the premises.
  3. “I was involved in a car accident while at work or in the scope of my employment:”  You can make a worker’s compensation claim with a worker’s compensation attorney.  Call our office and we will discuss your rights.
  4. “I was in a car accident with another vehicle and it was not my fault:” go to www.chalakilaw.com to obtain additional information.  Read our previous blogs.  Or Simply call the office at 972-793-8500 for a free initial consultation with the Dallas Car Accident Lawyer.  The injury lawyer of Dallas is here to evaluate your case appropriately and discuss your rights and options.  You can also email us with additional questions from our website.

What Happens in a Litigation Case?

If you have been hurt in an accident, Dallas personal injury attorney Sean Chalaki can help you as you attempt to recover compensation for your losses, which can include expenses such as medical bills, lost wages and even pain and suffering.

In the majority of cases, a settlement will be reached outside of the courtroom. However, there are some cases where a fair settlement cannot be reached out of court and therefore must move into litigation. Litigation is the resolution of disputes through the court system.

What happens in litigation?

Litigation basically consists of four main stages: (1) information gathering, (2) pleading, (3) discovery and motions and (4) trial and post-trial proceedings.

Information Gathering

The first stage of litigation is information gathering. Before filing a lawsuit, your attorney will spend time with you gathering all the information necessary to build your case. For example, if your case involves a car accident, information will be gathered about all drivers involved. Also part of the information gathering is finding out the extent of your injuries and how they will impact you and your life.

After sufficient facts are gathered, the lawsuit will begin by filing a complaint. The complaint, along with a summons to appear in court, is served to the defendant—the party responsible for your injuries.

Pleading

After the defendant has been served with the lawsuit, the defendant has a specific amount of time to officially respond to the lawsuit. If the defendant believes there is a particular problem with the lawsuit, such as the facts are insufficient to justify the lawsuit or there is some other defect with the complaint, the defendant can file a motion. A “motion” is a request to the court for an order or a ruling. For example, the defendant could file a motion to dismiss, asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit altogether.

If the defendant does not file a motion or if the motion is denied, then the defendant will answer the complaint. The “answer” is the defendant’s response to the lawsuit’s allegations. Once the defendant files the answer, then the pleading stage is complete.

Discovery and Motions

The third stage is the discovery and motions phase. Both sides conduct interviews and share facts and information regarding the case. During this stage, there could also be pre-trial motions made to the court. These motions can include any number of things such as asking the court to enter a judgment in the case without an actual trial. If the case ends up settling before it goes to trial, it will usually be during this phase.

Trial and Post-Trial Proceedings

The final stage of litigation is the trial and post-trial proceedings. In the trial, both sides of the case have the opportunity to present and argue their cases in front of a judge and/or jury. After arguments are presented, a verdict is reached and handed down. Post-trial proceedings can include an appeal from the losing party. To win the appeal, the losing party must prove there was an error in the court that affected the outcome of the case.

Litigation can be very complicated. If you or a loved one has been injured, Dallas personal injury lawyer Sean Chalaki can help you navigate the complex waters of personal injury law. Contact Sean Chalaki at the Law Office of Sean Chalaki at 972-793-8500.