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Personal Injury Legal Terms

If you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit, you may encounter some legal terminology that you are unfamiliar with, which can be frustrating. In this article, we will outline and define some of the terms you will come across throughout your case.

Commonly Used Personal Injury Terms

Some of the common terms you’ll hear during your case include but are not limited to:

  • Witness, a person who testifies under oath concerning their first-hand experience or expert opinions.
  • Verdict, a judge or jury’s decision at the conclusion of a trial.
  • Testimony, oral evidence given by a witness under oath during a deposition or trial.
  • Summons, a legal document that is prepared by the plaintiff that is given to the defendant to inform them of the lawsuit.
  • Summary judgment, the judge’s decision concerning the case’s resolution that is given before a full trial.
  • Statute of limitations, the time limits placed on when a plaintiff can bring a suit forward.
  • Settlement, an agreement made between the plaintiff and defendant concerning the resolution of the lawsuit.
  • Power of attorney, a legal document that allows someone to have the legal authority to act on another person’s behalf.
  • Plaintiff, the party that filed or initiated the lawsuit.
  • Negligence, a person’s failure to act or conduct themselves in a reasonable manner that leads to another person being harmed.
  • Motion, a request by either party (or their legal counsel) for the judge to rule on an issue on which the plaintiff and defendant cannot agree.
  • Loss of consortium, the damages that a family member can be awarded for the loss of companionship in a wrongful death suit.
  • Expert witness, a person who acts as a witness during the case and who has training and expertise in a certain field.
  • Docket, the schedule of actions that will be heard in court.
  • Discovery, the investigation of the incident and case by both parties that is later written or orated and outlines each party’s discoveries.
  • Deposition, the oral testimony take under oath that involves one party questioning the opposition as well as relevant witnesses.
  • Defendant, the person whom the lawsuit is being brought against.
  • Damages, the monetary or other types of compensation that a person can recover in their claim.
  • Contingency fee basis, a way in which attorneys bill their clients that involves the attorney taking a percentage of the settlement award rather than an upfront fee; if the case is unsuccessful, the client is not charged at all.
  • Complaint, a legal document that is filed in court to initiate a civil lawsuit and that states what the plaintiff’s allegations are against the defendant.
  • Comparative negligence, the percentage of fault that a plaintiff is for the accident; if a plaintiff is partially at fault, their settlement award will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
  • Affidavit, a written statement that is declared under oath that typically outlines what a person knows about the case. A witness or plaintiff may complete an affidavit during their case.

Get Legal Help

At Eliot Reiner, APLC, our attorneys have over three decades of legal experience, and we are known for providing our clients with high-quality, aggressive legal representation. Once you retain our services, we can not only help you understand your legal rights but also the legal terms and jargon, and our attorneys will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Our firm handles a range of personal injury matters, including:

  • Bicycle accidents
  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Boat accidents
  • Catastrophic injury cases (i.e. burns, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, etc.)
  • Commercial vehicle accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Premises liability claims
  • Product liability cases

To schedule a case consultation with our firm, call (916) 778-3228 or complete this online form today.

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