A Layman’s Explanation of Personal Injury Legal Terms

Personal Injury Legal Term Explanations

terminology-legal-termsA personal injury can put you in a precarious position. The other party should be held liable, and you deserve to be compensated, but the legal terminology is holding you back. You may have no clue as to what your attorney is saying, let alone know the first thing about finding lawsuit funding.

Whether you are considering a lawsuit, about to file a claim, or if you’ve already filed a suit and opened a case, here are some terms to know:

  • Appeal: A request to review a legal decision by a higher court, which can reverse or reduce the penalty or charge.
  • Arbitration: An arbitrator, or independent party, helps settle a dispute or disagreement.
  • Attorney: A lawyer, or person who has federal or state authorization to practice law and represent clients.
  • Beneficiary: The individual mentioned in a will or trust, entitled to receive property or certain benefits.
  • Cause: Decided in court, an action that produced the result/effect that led to the lawsuit.
  • Claim: Your declaration of a legal right to seek compensation (money/benefits) due to injuries or losses.
  • Comparative negligence: A method used to proportionally assign liability and damages to more than one at-fault party.
  • Damages: The monetary compensation you, the plaintiff, receive for losses, ordered by the court.
  • Defendant: The individual/entity you accuse of an action that caused your injury or loss.
  • Fault: Can be intentional or a failure to act through negligence, and in accordance with the law.
  • Guardian: A court-designated individual whose responsibility it is to care for another person and their property.
  • Immunity: If granted immunity, an individual or entity cannot be sued or prosecuted.
  • Injury: May be physical harm, a loss, or damages caused by another person’s negligence.
  • Liability: A form of responsibility, or accountability, for acting in a way that causes someone’s injuries or losses.
  • Loss: Can involve property, physical ability, or emotional well-being, expressed as a monetary value.
  • Maine Liquor Liability Act: Limits an individual’s ability to take legal action against a bar/restaurant/server for over serving a visibly intoxicated person.
  • Maine Tort Claims Act: Limits a person’s right of legal recourse to seek monetary damages from a state/municipal agency.
  • Malpractice: A form of negligence on the part of a professional, via lack of skill or breach of duty, which causes a personal injury.
  • Mediation: A method of resolving a dispute before a case is heard in court.
  • Mental anguish: The emotional suffering an individual experiences due to an injury or loss.
  • Negligence: A failure to practice reasonable care to prevent another individual’s harm.
  • Recover: To get monetary compensation, via the lawsuit or negotiated settlement, for injuries or losses.
  • Settlement: An agreement, negotiated by a personal injury lawyer, between opposing parties to resolve the dispute.
  • Statute of limitation: The window of time a person has to sue an at-fault party for their injury or loss, typically starting when the plaintiff discovered such.
  • Witness: A person who saw the events, actions, or lack thereof that led to a plaintiff’s injuries or losses, and subsequently the lawsuit.

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