A Comprehensive Legal Terms Glossary by Senft Injury Advocates

Apr 24 - 6 min

Navigating the complex terrain of personal injury law can often seem daunting, especially when confronted with the legal jargon that populates documents, courtrooms, and discussions. To demystify this language and empower those seeking justice, we’ve compiled a comprehensive legal terms glossary.

Legal Terms Glossary

Comparative Negligence

A principle of tort law that compares the fault of each party involved in an accident. It reduces the amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover based on the degree of fault.

Compensatory Damages

A sum of money awarded in a civil action by a court to indemnify a victim for actual losses suffered as accurately as possible.

Defendant

An individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law.

Economic Damages

Monetary compensation awarded to cover financial losses directly resulting from an incident. These damages are quantifiable and include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Fault Insurance

A system of insurance where the party responsible for an accident is also liable for covering the damages incurred. The at-fault party’s insurance company typically pays for medical expenses, property damage, and other costs to the not-at-fault party, based on the degree of fault determined.

Liability

Legal responsibility for one’s actions or omissions. In personal injury cases, liability determines who is at fault for causing the injury.

Litigation

The process of taking legal action; the process of suing someone or trying them for a criminal act.

Negligence

Failure to exercise the care that a reasonably cautious person would under similar circumstances, leading to injury or harm to another person. Negligence is the basis for most personal injury claims, where the injured party must prove that another’s lack of reasonable care was the direct cause of their injury.

No-Fault Insurance

A type of car insurance where, after an accident involving a motor vehicle, each driver’s insurance coverage pays for their medical expenses and lost earnings, regardless of who was at fault.

Non-Economic Damages

Compensation for losses that are not financial in nature and more difficult to quantify. These include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.

Personal Injury

Harm caused to a person’s body, mind, or emotional well-being, as opposed to property damage.

Plaintiff

The person who brings a case against another in a court of law.

Premises Liability

This legal concept holds property owners and occupiers responsible for injuries that occur due to unsafe or defective conditions on their property. Owners must ensure their premises are safe for visitors, and failure to do so can lead to legal liability if someone is injured as a result. This includes a range of incidents, from slip and fall accidents to injuries caused by inadequate security.

Punitive Damages

Monetary compensation awarded in a lawsuit that goes beyond what is necessary to compensate the plaintiff for losses and is intended to punish the defendant for particularly wrongful acts. This is awarded in addition to actual damages when the defendant’s behavior is found to be especially harmful, malicious, or recklessly indifferent to the rights of others.

Settlement

An agreement between both parties in a lawsuit to resolve the case before it goes to trial or a final judgment is made.

Statute of Limitations

The deadline for filing a lawsuit, which varies by type of harm and state law. If the lawsuit is not filed within this period, the injured party forfeits the right to sue.

Tort

A civil wrong that causes someone else to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the wrongful act.

Legal Terms Glossary: Conclusion

This glossary serves as a foundation for those embarking on this journey, offering clarity and insight into the legal process. For more information or if you need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact Senft Injury Advocates. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing the support and guidance necessary to navigate your case successfully and ensure you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Have any questions regarding a personal injury accident? Give us a call anytime for a free consult. Call to ring a lawyer. It’s that simple.

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A Comprehensive Legal Terms Glossary by Senft Injury Advocates