To dispel the myth that the physical appearance of a damaged vehicle is a reliable indicator of the dollar value or salvage value of the vehicle.
|SUBJECT:||The "Totaled" Vs. "Totally Destroyed" Vehicle|
|TOPIC:||Understanding the dollar value of damaged vehicles|
|OBJECTIVE:||To dispel the myth that the physical appearance of a damaged vehicle is a reliable indicator of the dollar value or salvage value of the vehicle|
|TASK:||Explain the difference between a 'totaled' vehicle at an accident scene and one that is 'totally' destroyed|
How many times have you maneuvered a patient out the driver's door onto a longboard and had to fight with the open front door? No one on the scene widened the door beyond it's normal range of motion because they didn't want to cause any extra damage to the car. Have you ever compromised your sense of what's right and moved a patient a bit more than you wanted to because the B-post was in the way or the dash was too close? Again, rescuers hesitated to cut or move metal because the car didn't look 'totaled' and they didn't want to further damage someone else's property.
In this modern day as the rescue tools we work with become increasing more sophisticated and the vehicles we work on change to resemble melted jelly beans, one thing still remains the same. Rescue personnel continue to hesitate to do anything they believe will cause "unnecessary" damage to wrecked vehicles that will be 'totaled' by the insurance company.
Today, the reality of vehicle rescue is that vehicles are designed by the manufacturer to be disposable. When people are trapped in a vehicle, that car or van or pickup truck is worth nothing no matter how little apparent damage there is to the vehicle. Extrication personnel should do all that is necessary to safely and efficiently remove the vehicle from the victim without concern of causing any further damage to the vehicle.
To further illustrate this important point, this University of Extrication lesson depicts several views of a damaged 1994 Ford Taurus automobile. The automobile was involved in a head-on collision, typical of many of the thousands of head-on collisions that occur each year.
Surveying the exterior of the vehicle as we would do when arriving at the scene of this accident, collision damage to the body exterior, engine compartment area, and structural components is evident. Inspection of the interior of the Taurus reveals very minor damage; a broken rearview mirror, damaged cruise controls and a loose headliner. The dual airbag deployment did not damage the dashboard or the windshield as is generally the case. We also see that the airbag system activated during the collision and deployed both dual front airbags.
Through the outstanding cooperation of Mr. John Long, manager of Lewis Paint and Body Center, Inc., (Plano, TX) an actual collision damage repair report was provided so we may truly see the damage in terms of actual repair costs. for a moment, let's all pretend we work as insurance adjusters. They have a different outlook on collisions that we do a emergency response personnel.
According to the collision damage repair report, at the front of the vehicle we'll need replacement of the bumper, energy absorbing assembly, and side marker lights at a cost of $1,173.86. Under the hood, replacement of the air conditioner and heater unit, condenser, accumulator, cooling fan, battery, and all related hardware will cost $1,505.79 more.
Replacement costs for body damage to the hood and fender, side accent panels, splash shield, and trim panels totals another $1,266.68. (The hood alone costs over $400).
Repairs to the windshield fluid reservoir and replacement of the broken inside mirror amount to $97.32. Close examination of the headliner inside reveals that it too has been damaged during the collision and will need to be replaced at a cost of $398.80.