As you can see just looking at a vehicle you can not determine why a vehicle may or may not have a salvage title. If the vehicle had full coverage insurance at the time of the accident that will make a difference, opposed to liability only. As a general rule when a vehicle has been in a accident and the repair cost is over a certain percentage of the total value of the vehicle, (The most standard is 75 percent) the insurance company will declare it a total loss, when that happens the the motor vehicle angency issues the car a salvage title, some states will call it a salvage certificate and those records will stay with the vehicle the rest of its life. At this point the vehicle can not be driven on public roads legally, insured or licensed. After the car is repaired most states require a safety inspection before you can apply for a rebuilt title.
You will hear the wording "branded title" if a vehicle has a clean title there of course is no brand. The brand will always be on the face of the title, A salvage title will have one of several brands, Flood, Hail, Theft and Non-Repairable. All brands can be replaced with repaired except Non-Repairable. The Non-Repairable vehicle must be dismantled. (There will be some one that wants to argue with me over that statment, you can build a custom vehicle and apply for a shop built title.)