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Personal Injury Terms You Ought to Know

If ever you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing a Personal Injury lawyer, there are a few terms that you should get familiar with. Most of these are used throughout your case and can be used by both sides. Which is why it is crucial that you brush up on your legal lexicon. No need to worry, however, as most people that have been in your shoes of needing a personal injury lawyer have never dealt with this sort of situation before and as a result have never heard of any of these terms.

The list that will help you understand what you are getting into and how to communicate effectively with your lawyer.

  • Affidavit: A written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence in court.
  • Answer: Defendants file a formal answer to the complaint, which serves to notify the plaintiff and the court of the defendant’s position regarding the allegations.
  • Complaint: First document filed with a court by a person or entity claiming legal rights against another. States the factual as well as the legal basis for a claim.
  • Contingency Fee: A sum of money that a lawyer receives as a fee only if the case is won.
  • Damages: What a plaintiff is seeking to recover in a lawsuit. There are two categories: economic, such as medical expenses, wage loss, replacement services, and auto repair bills. The other is non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
  • Defendant: The party allegedly liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Deposition: Involves a witness being asked questions about the case. To find out what the witness knows and to preserve that witness’ testimony. To learn all facts before going to trial.
  • Discovery: Pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each party can obtain evidence from the other party or parties by means of discovery devices such as request for answers to interrogatories, request for production of documents, request for admissions and depositions.
  • Negligence: A failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances.
  • Litigation: The act of bringing a case to court to settle a dispute. The actual legal process where parties argue their case against each other in our court system.
  • Plaintiff: The party or group of parties bringing the lawsuit.
  • PIP: Stands for personal insurance protection. An extension of car insurance that covers medical expenses and lost wages. Often referred to as “no-fault” coverage.
  • Power of Attorney: The authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.
  • Prayer for Relief: A portion of the complaint in which the plaintiff describes the remedies that the plaintiff seeks from the court.
  • Statute of Limitations: a statute prescribing a period of limitation for the bringing of certain kinds of legal action. In other words, the time allowed to pass between the arising of a legal claim and the filing of a suit.
  • Tort: A civil wrong that unfairly causes someone else to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act, called a tortfeasor.

The list provided is but a small sample of some of the terms used in personal injury law. Yet by knowing the above-mentioned terms you can at least feel more comfortable when speaking with an attorney and have the confidence to proceed with your case.

If you have been injured please call 361-882-4357 for a free consultation and to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.