Personal Injury Blog

Speaking in car accident lingo can seem like an entirely different language at times. Luckily, if you’re unsure about the verbiage involved with car accidents, we’re here to help.

From the moment of impact to when you get a settlement, there are a multitude of things you are expected to be aware of, and it’s difficult to do so while you’re injured, disoriented and confused. In this article, we are going to cover some key car accident terms to know.

person driving a car

It doesn’t matter if it’s you or a loved one—having this information can be invaluable when confronted with a police report, and insurance adjusters calling and heckling you. Be aware these are foundational terms, which means they can be paired together with other things and talked about with different connotations.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. Anything taken from this blog should be considered an introductory look into personal injury and its terminology. For guidance about your accident case, make sure you contact an attorney.

Car Accident Terms to Know


A tort is basically a wrongful act committed not from a contract and is not a crime. This is the whole grounding of a plaintiff’s case, in which he or she seeks damages (usually in the form of compensation) to be made whole from the wrongful act.


Negligence is a type of tort, and a fancy way of saying a driver was careless, and failed to act with reasonable care for another. For example, if a driver runs a red light while going over the speed limit and causes an accident with injuries, it could be said that the driver was negligent in the operation of his vehicle.

While in some cases negligence falls directly on one person, this can oftentimes occur as comparative negligence, in which both drivers had a degree of carelessness in the accident. Be prepared to hear this word get thrown around a lot.

florida hit and run car accident


No-fault can be complicated to understand, and it varies from state to state. In essence, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning everyone is required to have PIP coverage on their auto insurance. Before suing someone outright, you must recover from your own insurance company (and the other person’s insurance company) to recover damages.

Emergency Medical Condition (EMC)

EMC is an issue you may run into in a no-fault state like Florida. An EMC essentially describes the severity of the injury that your doctor must diagnose crash victims with, and then it must be approved by an insurance company before they will make payments for medical expenses.

This ties in directly with your PIP, or Personal Injury Protection. Florida law states that every auto insurance policy is required to have PIP, which is 80% of $10,000 of injuries related to your accident. With changed laws, in order to be eligible to receive the full $10,000, you must get clearance from a qualified physician (chiropractors aren’t considered “qualified” to give an EMC). We have some detailed content on this if you want to learn more here.


Burden of Proof

Explaining the burden of proof is much simpler than no-fault or some of the above terms: as the plaintiff (or person suffering damages), you must prove that the defendant is liable for the injuries and damages incurred. While explaining this may sound simple on the surface, this can be tricky to wrap your mind around when put into practice. An experienced attorney is pivotal in helping explain the burden of proof and providing a clear-cut connection to your damages being most likely caused by the other party.

What to Do If You’re Hurt in a Car Accident

If you or a loved one are the injured party in a car accident, then there are a few steps you should take as soon as you can.

Call 911

When you’re involved in a car crash, you should call 911 immediately. Not only will the police come and document the scene, but they may also call for EMTs, who an provide medical attention if needed.

Document Everything

Even if it doesn’t seem important at the time, any piece of evidence can be helpful when battling an insurance company or another party. Documenting the date, time, location and weather can be beneficial for proving your case. This documentation can help with your insurance claim and your car accident case.


Get Medical Assistance

If you’re the injured person in a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately for your physical injuries. Not only will this help treat any injuries you have sustained but it will also provide documentation of the severity of your damages.

Some serious injuries aren't inherently visible, like an internal injury or concussion, after the accident occurred, so it's important to check for car accident injuries with a medical professional as soon as possible. In Florida, you only have fourteen days from the time of the accident to seek treatment for your crash-related injuries. With your PIP insurance coverage, your medical bills will be covered so long as you visit a doctor within that 14-day time frame.

Call a Hernando County Car Accident Lawyer

While you may not think you need it right away, having a qualified attorney on your side is very important when dealing with car accidents. They are the best resource to refer to in terms of understanding legal terminology and how it applies to you or a loved one’s case.


If you’re wondering about anything else concerning an accident claim, regardless of what kind of vehicle it was, make sure you contact an attorney right away. Doing so can make a huge difference in your case.

At Lowman Law Firm, your hometown team of car accident attorneys is here to help car accident victims. If you've been in an auto accident, our personal injury law firm is here to help you recover compensation for any medical expenses from serious injuries, pain and suffering, lost income, and other expenses you may accrue as a result of your car accident. Contact us today for a free consultation on your car accident case and injury claims.

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