To ensure you understand all aspects of your personal injury case, start acquainting yourself with the legal terms often used in these types of cases. There are several commonalities that all personal injury claims share, and knowledge of the more generic legal terms will help you help yourself. Once you establish familiarity with these commonly used legal phrases, you’ll have a better foundation for understanding what you’re up against and what needs to happen for your case to succeed.
In order to prepare for your upcoming case, make sure you know the definitions of the terms and phrases you’re likely to hear your attorney use; or, you’ll hear them in the courtroom.
Below, we’ve defined 10 of the most common personal injury terms:
- Claim: If you were injured (physically, mentally, or emotionally), you may file a claim against the liable party. This claim is the first step in a personal injury case.
- Statute of Limitations: The filing of all civil actions is governed by time limitations. The statute of limitations refers to the time limit a plaintiff has to file a claim against the defendant. If the statute has expired, then the claim may no longer be valid. These statutes vary from state to state, and depend on the nature of the personal injury case and the age of the plaintiff.
- Plaintiff: Also called the complainant, the plaintiff is the individual or party who files the lawsuit or brings legal action against the other party.
- Defendant: A defendant is the individual or party against whom the claim has been filed. In other words, they are the party allegedly responsible for the injury.
- Duty of Care: The phrase “duty of care” or simply “duty” refers to a party’s obligation to provide a certain standard or type of care to the injured party. By failing to provide that standard or type of care, the party may have failed in their duty, and could be found liable for the resulting damage.
- Damages: The term “damages” refers to the type of injuries you have sustained. You can have physical damages, emotional damages or economic damages.
- Discovery: Discovery is the process through which both parties, the defendant and the plaintiff, investigate and gather evidence to support their claims. It is governed by the Rules of Civil Procedure.
- Fault / Liability: In any personal injury case, one of the most important steps is determining fault or liability. Liability means “responsible or answerable” as a matter of law. Determining liability is often the focus of the discovery process.
- Settlement: A settlement is one of the ways a personal injury claim can be resolved. Through this method, the parties typically reach an agreement about monetary compensation for injuries and other important issues in a case.
- Verdict: Like a settlement, a verdict is another resolution that can effectively end a personal injury lawsuit. Unlike a settlement, the verdict is not an agreement reached by both sides. Rather, a verdict refers to the final judgment of a judge or jury at the conclusion of trial.
If you or someone you love was injured due to another party’s negligence or mistake, such as a car accident or defective product, Wilson Law, P.A. is here to offer help. Our team at Wilson Law, P.A. has vast experience working on complicated personal injury cases, and can assist you with securing fair compensation for your injuries.
Need help with a personal injury case? Contact Wilson Law, P.A. to discuss your situation with our attorneys.