Personal injury cases can seem very complex and confusing to those who are not familiar with the law. Although knowing the legal terminology is part of your lawyer’s job, it is important to understand some of them. Here is a short list of the most common terms you may encounter in personal injury cases:
Here is a list of the most common terms you may encounter in personal injury cases:
- Plaintiff. The plaintiff is the person who files a claim. For example, if you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you would be the party filing the lawsuit, making you the plaintiff.
- Defendant. The person, group of people, or company, who caused the victim’s accident, and against whom a lawsuit or legal action is initiated.
- Liability. Being legally responsible for causing an accident or causing harm to another person. In personal injury cases, lawyers have to prove that the person who caused the accident acted negligently to determine liability.
- Negligence. Refers to acting carelessly or lacking the care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the same situation. Acts like speeding, drunk driving, failing to maintain a property creating hazards for visitors, distracted driving, or eating while driving are all examples of negligent behavior.
- Damage. Damages that resulted from an accident, and for which the victim is seeking financial compensation. In legal terms, damages equal the amount of money the victim needs to return to their life before the accident. Within a personal injury lawsuit, damages can be considered economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to anything that can be quantified in monetary terms, such as medical bills, car repairs, surgeries, rehabilitation, etc. Non-economic damages refer to everything that cannot be quantified with a monetary figure, such as the pain and suffering of the victim, emotional stress, and other psychological injuries.
- Statute of Limitations. The personal injury statute of limitations refers to the time period during which you can file a lawsuit. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state, so it is crucial to talk to your attorney about the time that you may have to file a lawsuit.
- Settlement. In legal terms, this term refers to an agreement or commitment between the parties involved in a lawsuit process to resolve the situation at hand and end the litigation.