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Basic Terms to Know for Car Accident Insurance Claims

If you have been in an auto accident and are preparing to file a claim with an insurance provider, you will likely come across some terms with which you are unfamiliar. In an effort to prepare you for your upcoming claim, we have compiled a list of terms you will need to know:

Actual cash value: This is the “market value” of your vehicle, measured by what it would have been sold for before it was damaged. This is usually relevant if the vehicle is considered a total loss.

Burden of proof is the responsibility of proving what happened in the accident. The person bringing the claim or lawsuit typically has the burden of proof to show that the other party involved in the crash was liable.

Comparative negligence: This is a term covering shared fault in an accident — also referred to as “contributory negligence.” If both parties were at fault, insurance adjusters in Florida may assign a percentage of fault.

Liability refers to fault for the accident and any resulting damages.

Negligence is a failure to comply with the law or a duty of care. If a person’s negligence results in damages, he or she may be considered liable for those damages.

Settlement: This is a monetary payment outside of the court system that resolves all accident claims, in terms of both personal injuries and vehicle damage. Signing a settlement waives your right to continue pursuing legal claims related to the accident.

Total loss: This is when a vehicle is unable to be repaired, or if the cost of repairs is greater than about 80% of the vehicle’s total value.

Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage is a part of an auto insurance policy covering drivers in situations in which the other at-fault driver involved in the crash either does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the damage caused.

Dimunition of value: This is the difference in the actual cash value of your vehicle before the accident minus the cash value of your vehicle after the accident. Almost always, your vehicle will be worthless even after being fully repaired. While you do not generally have a right to collect damages for diminution of value from your own insurance policy’s collision or comprehensive coverage, the at-fault party, if they have adequate insurance coverage, if your car is not totaled, is responsible not just for paying for the cost of repairing your vehicle, plus the diminution of value.

For more information on filing an auto insurance claim after a car accident, speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer at Combs Greene, PA.

Attorney Mark Link contributed to this blog post.

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