Car Accident Case Terms: What you need to know

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Car Accident Case Terms: What you need to know

The personal injury lawsuit process is complicated and time-consuming. We at The Beattie Law Firm have more than four decades experience with car accident cases; however, those who have little to know background in law may find the process even more difficult to understand.

Our law team comes across many terms on a daily basis that isn’t used too often (if at all) by the general public. These terms have specific meanings, and allow us to do our job diligently.

Whether dealing with insurance companies or lawyers regarding your case, knowing these terms yourself may help alleviate any stress that is encountered following an accident. We’ve put together a list of common terms that are used in car accident cases.

In this section we’ll go through terms from A-D:


Action describes the commencement of a legal claim through the civil courts against the party responsible for your car accident and/or injuries.

An affidavit is a written document in which the signer swears under oath before a notary public or someone authorized to take oaths (like a County Clerk), that the statements in the document are true.

Actual cash value, or market value is used in the context of auto insurance claims and is a method of valuing your vehicle or that of another driver. If your car needs to be repaired after a car accident, its actual cash value will be measured by what the car could have been sold for right before it was damaged or destroyed.

An Adjuster this is an individual who acts on behalf of an insurance company to gather information following a car accident.

Personal automobile liability insurance protects you and others in the event of a car accident. If others hold you legally responsible for property damage or bodily injuries following a car accident, your automobile liability insurance typically covers all or part of the damages.


Bodily injury liability insurance provides coverage in the event of an accident in which you or another person is hurt. It covers injuries that you are responsible for, and offers legal protection if someone who was injured in a car accident sues you for damages.

In a car accident lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to establish that that the other party should be held legally responsible (liable) for causing the accident.


Cancellation refers to the termination of an insurance policy contract before the end of the policy period, by either the insurance company (the insurer) or the policyholder (the insured).


Damage refers to loss or harm to a person or property.

Damages is another term for money. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you ask that a court find in your favor and order the defendant to pay damages. In a personal injury case, there are several types of damages that may arise, including:

· pain and suffering damages

· compensatory damages, and

· punitive damages


Deductible refers to the out-of-pocket expenses you agree to pay as part of your insurance coverage up to a set amount.


How the Beattie Law Firm can help

The Beattie Law Firm has been assisting car crash injury victims throughout Iowa for nearly four decades. If you or someone you love has been a victim of a serious accident, call us at 515-263-1000 for a free consultation.

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