An ongoing personal injury case is not an easy experience. This is especially true if you are still healing from sustained injuries or suffering from the residual trauma from the whole ordeal. It may be difficult to put your head and attention into your case. Furthermore, it may be your first time reading and hearing legal jargon. These words are strange, daunting, and confusing.
However, you need to know these terms to understand what is going on with your case. Don’t worry. We’ve compiled some of the most common legal terms along with their definitions for you. Read the list, educate yourself, and be ready to fight for your case.
A written statement or a document of an incident created by an authority figure (I.e., police officers, hospital staff manager, manager). Accident reports are also otherwise called incident reports.
An event due to natural causes and without any human intervention. Often, these events cannot be prevented even with precaution. Acts of God include floods, earthquakes, etc.
A person appointed by the court to represent the interests of a diseased person without a will.
These are pieces of evidence accepted to be used in a court of law.
It is a written statement confirmed by a declaration. It is legally binding and admissible in a court of law. Anyone who lies in an affidavit can be tried for perjury. The process for creating the affidavit is simple.
An appeal is applying a change of decision to a higher court when the case has already been tried and decided in a lower court. It is a legal request to review the legal decision made by the lower court. The purpose is to change the judgment or reduce the penalty.
It is a hearing for a lawsuit between the plaintiff and the defendant without any trial, jury, or court proceeding. It can be done with a neutral third-party arbitrator.
A person with state authorization to practice law and represent clients before a judge.
A lawsuit was filed against the insurance provider for denying, delaying, or refusing to pay for the claim with reasonable cause.
When an accused pays a certain amount set by the court to be released. The bail is refunded when the defendant shows up to court.
It's where the judge sits. Attorneys approach the bench when called by the judge. They may also approach the bench if they need to talk to the judge while in the session.
A person in the will or trust to receive properties or benefits.
It's the legal obligation of the plaintiff/defendant to provide proof in favor of his/her claim.
A cash advance is a sum of money a party owes another and is to be paid out on a future date. However, with a cash advance, the payor pays you ahead of schedule.
In a personal injury case, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant caused the injury by either his actions or inactions.
Civil cases don't have criminal charges. The penalty is always monetary in nature. Divorce and personal injury cases are examples of civil cases.
Claim adjusters evaluate and oversee the claim on behalf of the insurance company. They work and protect the interest of the insurance company, not the insured of the person injured.
It is the person making a claim against another. The claimant is called the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit.
It's a law for negligence cases applicable in some states. The law determines responsibilities and damages based on the percentage of negligence. A plaintiff with 40% at fault will only get 60% of the settlement award.
This is compensation given to the plaintiffs due to injury, loss of income, property damage, emotional pain, and more. The goal is for compensation to restore the quality of life of the victims before they are injured.
A document filed by the party claiming legal rights against another. This document begins the lawsuit, and it states the claim and the basic theory of the case.
It works like Comparative Negligence, but unlike the former, where the compensation is reduced, contributory negligence completely bars plaintiffs from getting damages if they are partially at fault in the accident. This law is applicable in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
A contingency fee is a contingent upon success. Some states require this fee for accident-type cases. It's what a lawyer agrees to get and what the client agrees to pay from the percentage of the settlement award. This fee is only paid if the case is won.
A person designated by the court to take care of an item or a child.
Damages in personal injury lawsuits are often in financial form. The monetary payment is given to the victims or those who suffered from any kind of damage, may it be physical, financial, or emotional.
This is the money that the insured person pays toward the insurance claim. Once the deductibles are paid, the insurance company covers the rest of the settlement cost.
The defendant is the one sued by the plaintiff. The defendant is the one accused of the crime.
It's an outside court session under oath. The testimonies are taken under oath, recorded, and documented by a court stenographer. In other cases, depositions are also referred to as Examination Before Trial (EBT). Additionally, a deposition is also a declaration used to determine if the witness is reliable or not.
It's a legal process where the opposing party requests evidence from the other and vice versa. This may include documents, interviews, documents, medical exam results, and more.
When a person drives while engaged in another activity, this is often the cause of vehicular accidents.
It's a list of cases for trial or a list of people with pending cases. The docket holds the history of every case arranged in chronological order. You can also find summaries of proceedings here.
This is when a person operates a moving vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any chemical substance.
An act required for a person towards other people or the public to be watchful, careful, and prudent to avoid causing harm.
This is the person stated in the Last Will and Testament to represent the interest of the individual when he/she dies.
This means that all the money reserved for a certain benefit has run out or has been depleted.
A failure to act through negligence.
It is a serious crime with a minimum amount in prison. This includes murder, and arson, among other things.
Most of their jobs are outside the office, hence the fieldwork. They do face-to-face meetings with claimants, damage inspectors, and scene investigators. They negotiate to ensure that the claim is settled.
A danger that should be anticipated because of one's actions. In negligence lawsuits, the defendants offer foreseeable risk as an affirmative defense. This means arguing that the accident was not foreseeable.
An act of deception for financial gain.
These are non-economic damages and are more difficult to quantify. This includes pain and suffering, loss of companionship, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment, and others.
A display of reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others. It is a conscious decision to violate other people's right to safety.
A person designated by the court is responsible for taking care of another person and/or their property.
It's a dangerous condition that increases the chances of damage or injuries. Examples are wet floors, cracks in the sidewalk, and others.
Acronym for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a US law that provides the standards to protect patients' medical records and health information. The document requires the patient's or his/her authorized person's approval to gain records of a person's medical information.
With immunity, an individual/entity cannot be prosecuted.
Money to replace the lost income one typically gets from working. This is usually paid for by the insurance company.
The defendant/insurance company requests this in case of a personal injury lawsuit. It's a medical opinion required by the law. The defense pays for the approved physician to do the exam. IMEs are also referred to as Compulsory Medical Examinations.
It is a formal charge for a serious crime issued by the grand jury. It's a statement explaining to the grand jury that there is evidence to move to trial.
It is a court order to stop a party from doing something or acting on something. Failure to do so results in civil or criminal penalties.
In the legal sense, injury includes harm done by a person to another person or entity. Injury may be physical harm or harm to one's reputation or dignity.
These are questions submitted to the plaintiff asking for more information about the accident.
Happens when a person sides without a last will. If so, the court appoints a person/representative to look after the deceased's estate and other properties. Intestacy lets the law set the arrangement of and the order of priorities in distributing the proceeds of the estate.
It is a resolution of a dispute between two parties in a lawsuit.
Is a person legally authorized to execute a contract on your behalf.
A legal claim against property or funds for payment of a debt. It can also be the amount a person owes for services.
A letter from a personal injury lawyer to a medical professional for permission to obtain medical care for injured people who cannot afford medical attention or care. This is on credit and on a promissory basis to be paid from the future settlement.
Responsibility or accountability because one's action caused injuries or losses.
A person with a lawsuit and used for both the defendant and the plaintiff. It also includes the co-defendant and the co-plaintiff. However, the term doesn't include the witnesses or attorney.
This is a third party that pays the cost and other expenses related to the dispute. The party provides funding to the party to be used for the case. This third party then gets a share of the proceeds of the dispute. However, if the case is lost, the receiver of the funding doesn't have to pay for the advances. Litigation funding has contexts: consumer legal financing and commercial legal financing.
The probability of winning a personal injury lawsuit in court. The legal representatives evaluate the case and assess if a settlement is viable. The lawyers also consider the strength of the case and other factors, including the character of the judge, the witness presentation, the death of a witness, etc.
This is the monetary value assigned to an injury or damage. Examples of these are medical costs, loss of past and future income, future medical care costs, or any resulting hardship from the accident/injury.
This is an example of negligence filed against a professional, including doctors, lawyers, dentists, engineers, etc. It's filed when these professionals have caused a personal injury.
It is a way of solving a dispute before a case is tried in court.
Any injury sustained by the injured person is documented by a healthcare professional. This is the medical report that documents the plaintiff's diagnoses, injuries, and treatments.
These are emotional and physical pain that a person experiences caused by an injury.
A person under the age of 18. He/she cannot be sued by his/her name, and a guardian must represent the minor in all legal proceedings. The settlement award is placed in a Trust Account and cannot be withdrawn unless the minor turns legal age.
It is a legal defense typical in tort cases. The law states that the injured party cannot recover expenses related to the injury when the person could have avoided such expenses.
Happens when there's an error in the trial. The case must start again with a new
Negligence doesn't need intent. It's just neglect, action, or lack thereof that caused injury or harm to another.
A type of negligence when the standard of care isn't obeyed. For example, overspending.
A term for personal injury protection in some states. It's insurance coverage to pay for medical expenses, exchange for the loss of income, and other expenses due to injury. The party isn't required to prove fault or negligence to receive benefits.
Funding that the recipient doesn't have to pay when the outcome isn't the desired one. It's only paid through the lawsuit proceeds. Legal funding companies offer nonrecourse funding to personal injury plaintiffs.
This is written notice given to the insurance company regarding the incident on which the claim is based. The policyholder needs to provide the notice to get compensation or coverage.
No contest means that the defendant doesn't admit or deny the crime. They accept the suit as it is.
An agreement between the plaintiff and defendant to settle takes place before the lawsuit is tried in court. It's also famously referred to as a settlement on the courthouse steps.
In a personal injury lawsuit, this refers to the money spent by the injured party to fund any costs relating to their injuries. For example, are medications, physical therapy, assistive devices, and other things that the injured party paid for due to his/her injury.
This is damage to a person and includes physical and emotional stress. Other pain and suffering damage aspects in a personal injury lawsuit are losses due to injuries.
This refers to economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
An injury to the person due to the acts or lack thereof of a person or an entity.
It is the victim in a civil lawsuit and the one who initiates the lawsuit against the offender. In some cases, the state can also file a case against an offender.
Financial aid is provided when the case is settled, but the payment isn't paid or hasn't been received yet. Often, there's a gap of months to years before the payment happens.
A request by the plaintiff for remedies/damages to be paid if the case is won.
A precedent is a rule already published or established. Thus, it is already binding and can be used in a court of law to determine the outcome of a case. Precedents from higher courts hold the most weight.
This is financial aid to assist an injured plaintiff with an ongoing personal injury lawsuit. The financial assistance can be used for any purpose and is only paid back when the case is won.
A merchant, business, or manufacturer's legal accountability if they caused injury due to product defects.
It's an expected chance of recovery from an injury based on symptoms. It's a physician's educated prediction of a person's medical condition, may it be an injury or a disease.
In a personal injury case, punitive damages are awarded when the judge believes that the compensatory damages are inadequate compensation for all the injuries caused to the plaintiff.
This includes changes in one's quality of life after sustaining an injury. It's also called subjective well-being.
Service by a healthcare professional or provider given to a patient.
Treatments and other programs are provided by health insurance to help the injured person get back to normal or heal from the injuries sustained. The goal is to let the injured person restore the quality of life he/she had before the injury.
These are contracts allowing plaintiffs to get funds, when necessary, instead of getting their settlement in one lump sum payment.
Getting money compensation through a lawsuit or settlement for injuries, damages, or losses.
A negotiation between two opposing parties to solve the disputes at hand.
It's a time frame that a person must adhere to in case of filing a personal injury case. This usually begins when the plaintiff discovers the injury.
These are also known as economic damages and include medical costs, loss of income/wages, property damage, and others.
A document issued by the court. It's served to an individual to appear before the court to give his/her testimony. It may also be documents requested by the court in the discovery part of the lawsuit.
This is a legal document that signals the start of a civil lawsuit and typically explains the complaint. It's served to the defendant.
When a person dies and has left a will. The properties and assets are then given to the person as stated in the deceased's will.
It's a claim filed against a person or a company (insurance) in lieu of someone who caused an injury.
It is a French term meaning wrong, a wrong act, maybe intentional or accidental, which caused injury to another. The person who was wronged can bring the case to court to determine liability legally.
An individual who saw events, actions, or lack thereof, which led to the plaintiff's injuries.
A system that employees provide their employers. It is state mandated for employers to give their workers compensation in case of injuries sustained while on the job.
An intentional act of a person that caused the death of another. The definition from in every state, but it often includes assault, traffic accidents, medical malpractice, and others.