10 Terms Commonly Used in a Car Accident Settlement

by Christopher Hoffmann on Nov. 10, 2022

Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Car Accident Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: We've outlined some of the most common terms used in car accident settlements, as well as their meanings.

When it comes to car accidents, several legal terms may come up during a settlement. Understanding these terms can help you navigate the process and make informed decisions about your case. Below, we've outlined some of the most common terms used in car accident settlements, as well as their meanings.



Negligence: Negligence is a legal term that refers to carelessness that results in harm to another person. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show that the at-fault party owed them a duty of care, breached that duty and that the breach caused their injuries.



Negligence Per Se: Negligence per se is a legal term that refers to a situation in which a person violates a law and, as a result, harms another person. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits another car, they would generally be considered negligent per se.



Tortfeasor: A tortfeasor is a legal term that refers to a person who has committed a tort, which is a civil wrong. In this context, a tortfeasor is the at-fault driver or, put simply, someone who has caused an accident through their negligence.



Duty: Duty is a legal term that refers to the responsibility one person has for another. All drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and reasonably.



Actual Cash Value: Actual Cash Value, or ACV, is the actual value of your property, in this case, your car at the time it was damaged. This is usually determined by looking at comparable properties in the area, considering things like age, wear and tear, and market conditions.



Replacement Cost Value: Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is the cost to replace your car with another of a similar kind and quality. This is usually higher than the ACV because it takes into account things like inflation and the current market value of comparable properties.


Compensatory Damages: Compensatory damages are a type of damage meant to compensate the victim for their losses. These include medical bills, property damage, loss of income, and pain and suffering.



Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are a financial penalty imposed on the at-fault party to deter future negligence. These are typically only awarded when the responsible party's behavior was unusually careless. Examples of this would be if the guilty driver was intoxicated or speeding at the time of the accident.



Subrogation: Subrogation is a legal term that refers to the right of one party to recover damages from another party. In car accidents, this typically applies to insurance companies. For example, if your insurance company pays for your damages, they may have the right to recover those damages from the at-fault driver's insurance company.



Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) is a type of insurance coverage that protects you if you're in an accident with a driver who doesn't have enough insurance to cover your losses.



These are just some of the terms that you may come across during your car accident settlement. It's important to consult with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney who can help you understand the specific details of your case and what you can expect. At the Hoffman Law Firm, we have over 20 years of experience handling car accident cases, and we're here to help. Call us today at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

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