Texas Car Accidents

Accident Terms

Texas Car Accidents


Accident Terms

If you want to pursue a legal case for your Texas car accident, then there are plenty of terms you’re going to need to familiarize yourself with. These terms are more than just needing to spit out the right legalese at the right time or keep up with lawyerly jargon--many of these concepts are key to understanding what your rights are as a Texas driver and citizen and what you need to be aware of to pursue compensation. Let’s dive in!

Legal Terms

Legal Terms


Depending on the circumstances of your particular accident, these are terms that you’ll hear fairly regularly… especially if you have a law firm assist you with your claim. You’ll want to make sure you understand these forwards and backwards if you plan on being heavily involved with the proceedings of your claim and case.

LAWSUIT

LAWSUIT

A claim or dispute brought to a court of law for adjudication. For example, if you file a claim against the offending driver’s insurance company and you believe the insurance company is not being fair or reasonable with regard to a settlement offer, you can file a lawsuit against the driver and the insurance company.

BODILY INJURY DAMAGES

BODILY INJURY DAMAGES

This term refers to the categories you can be compensated for under a Bodily Injury Claim. The three types of damages you are entitled to are economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages. Click here to learn more about Damages.

CLAIMANT

CLAIMANT

A person making a claim, especially in a lawsuit or for a government-sponsored benefit. In this case, the person seeking compensation for their injury or hardship.

DEFENDANT

DEFENDANT

An individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law by a claimant.

DEPRECIATION

DEPRECIATION

A reduction in the value of an asset with the passage of time, due to wear and tear. For example, if you have a newer vehicle that was involved in an accident, even with the vehicle being repaired, it has still lost value due to it being in an accident and in certain circumstances you can receive compensation for it.

HIPAA

HIPAA

An abbreviation for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a US law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients' medical records and other health information. The law firm that represents you and/or the insurance company will ask you to sign one so they can review your medical records to determine Bodily Injury Damages.

LOP

LOP

An abbreviation for Letter of Protection. A Letter of Protection guarantees payment for medical treatment from a future lawsuit settlement or verdict award. For example, if you are represented by a law firm, the firm will give an LOP to the medical facility you are receiving treatment from. The firm guarantees the doctor(s) that their bills will be paid back through the settlement from your case. This also means you do not have to pay the medical facility up front.

MITIGATE DAMAGES

MITIGATE DAMAGES

A phrase that means “to take reasonable action, where possible, to avoid additional injury and/or property damages.” This is typically seen when dealing with storage fees. The insurance company requires the claimant to remove their vehicle from the storage lot (if a reasonable amount of time has passed) before they accept responsibility. If a claimant does not do so, it is possible the insurance company will subtract storage fees from the property damage offer they will give you.

TRIAL

TRIAL

Formal examination of evidence before a judge, and typically before a jury, in order to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings. This is always a last resort in a personal injury case. Attempts to settle the case will occur before trial ever happens.

WITNESS AFFIDAVIT

WITNESS AFFIDAVIT

An oath that what an individual is saying is the truth. An affidavit is used along with witness statements to prove the truthfulness of a certain statement in court. Witness Affidavits can help with the insurance company in determining liability.

CONTRACT

CONTRACT

A formal and legally binding agreement. For example, if you hire a law firm to represent you in your personal injury case, you would sign a contract with that firm.

Insurance Terms

Insurance Terms


Whether you’re pursuing a legal resolution or not, many of these insurance terms are things you should know and understand. Almost all of us have insurance… in a perfect world, we’d never have to use it. But familiarizing yourself with your policy and the nitty-gritty of the details will help you be a prepared Texas citizen if you ever deal with a claim on your policy or submit a claim to someone else’s.

INSURANCE POLICY

INSURANCE POLICY

A means of financial protection where you agree to pay an insurance company a predetermined amount for them to assume the responsibility of paying out claims either by you or brought against you, limited to the amount of coverage on the policy. For example, if you are involved in an accident where you have $40,000 in property damage, but only have $25,000 in available property damage coverage, the auto insurance policy only has to pay the maximum amount on the policy.

COVERAGE

COVERAGE

A term used to describe if the insurance carrier has a valid policy for a claimant to go after. This is not to be mistaken with Liability.

LIABILITY

LIABILITY

This term is used to describe if the insurance carrier accepts and agrees that the driver holding a policy with them is responsible for the accident.

DEDUCTIBLE

DEDUCTIBLE

The amount of money you must pay toward repairs before your insurance covers the rest.

EXCESS LIABILITY POLICY

EXCESS LIABILITY POLICY

This is a type of policy that provides limits that exceed the underlying liability policy. For example, if you pursue a settlement and you are awarded damages that max out the primary policy, you may be able to go after an Excess Liability policy that can provide even more compensation depending on the severity of your suffering.

UMBRELLA POLICY

UMBRELLA POLICY

Excess liability insurance. For example, a policy holder is sued for damages that exceed the liability limits of car insurance, an umbrella policy could potentially cover the excess damages.

EXCLUDED DRIVER

EXCLUDED DRIVER

Someone you intentionally remove from your auto insurance policy. For example, if that person uses your car, either with or without your permission, and has an accident, your car insurance won't provide coverage for them.

GAP COVERAGE

GAP COVERAGE

Covers the remaining balance in the event of a total loss on your vehicle where you owe money to the loan holder of the vehicle.

LAPSED POLICY

LAPSED POLICY

Policy for which all benefits to the policy holder cease and are terminated due to non-payment of premium amount on the due date or even after the grace period. For example, if you cause an accident under a lapsed policy, your insurance company is not required to pay any damages or claims brought against you. Always stay on top of your insurance payments!

SUBROGATION

SUBROGATION

This is the substitution of one person or group by another in respect of a debt or insurance claim, accompanied by the transfer of any associated rights and duties. For example, if you are in an accident, your insurance may pay your property damage claim and then send the bill to the other driver’s insurance company for reimbursement.

TOTAL LOSS

TOTAL LOSS

This is the term for when an insurance company determines a vehicle is beyond repair. In insurance claims, insurance companies have the option of Totaling your vehicle or repairing it. If your vehicle is Totaled, the insurance company needs to compensate you for the amount your vehicle is worth, not what your loan amount is.

Injury & Loss Terms

Injury & Loss Terms


These terms could really be a sub-category of Legal Terms, but they deserve their own section just to highlight the importance they have to the individual. Some of these terms may be the foundation to pursuing extremely important compensation in unusually damaging or difficult cases.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI)

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY (TBI)

A specific injury resulting from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object that penetrates brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury. TBIs are a type of injury that happens in car accidents.

LOSS OF USE

LOSS OF USE

Losing the use of your personal property during a reasonable period. For example, if you are not able to drive your vehicle due to the accident, the at-fault party’s insurance is responsible for paying you for the cost to rent a vehicle.

LOSS OF VALUE

LOSS OF VALUE

Difference between a car's pre-accident value and its value after repairs. Another word to describe this is depreciation.

LOST JOYS

LOST JOYS

Lost Joys is an entitled damage through a bodily injury claim. It refers to the quality of life and someone’s general well-being and ability to enjoy normal life activities, like taking care of someone else or participating in recreational activities. Intangibles like loss of joy of living, damage to reputation, and feelings of disgrace also diminish quality of life in the wake of an injury.

1

Do you or did you experience any physical pain in any way from this accident?

Did the other driver admit fault or were they placed at fault by law enforcement or insurance company?

Does the at-fault driver in the accident have auto insurance?

What type of accident were you involved in?

What is your contact info & the date of the accident?

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