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Personal Injury Terms Defined In Plain English

The majority of accident victims find the legal process to be very complicated. The legal industry is known to use jargon that the average person doesn’t understand.

It’s bad enough to be injured in a car accident, or any accident, but then to not understand what your lawyer is talking about can be very frustrating.

We have put together a list of terms that can easily be confused or forgotten.

Here are the common personal injury terms that you will need to know if you are injured in a personal injury claim.

  • Abuse: Physical or emotional ill-treatment of a person resulting in physical or emotional injury. Includes sexual abuse, child abuse and nursing home abuse.
  • Accident: An undesirable and unexpected incident that causes economic or non-economic harm. It can be the result of a mistake, negligence and misconduct.
  • Appeal: A legal process that allows you to ask a higher court to review the decision in order to have it reversed or changed.
  • Arbitration: The use an arbitrator to settle a dispute.
  • Attorney: A person authorized by a federal and state court to practice law and represent clients in legal matters.
  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive property or benefits in a will or trust.
  • Claim: A declaration of your legal right to seek compensation after you have sustained injuries or losses.
  • Comparative negligence: A method by which liability and damages are proportionally assigned amongst the parties at fault.
  • Compensation: A payment issued to make up for a loss or injury. For personal injuries, it can be made for injuries that are physical or emotional, economic loss, or loss of consortium.
  • Contributory negligence: A way to assign liability and damages taking into consideration the plaintiff’s actions or behavior that contributed to the harm.
  • Damages: Financial compensation awarded to the plaintiff by the court for losses they endured.
  • Decision: A written decision given by a court based on the facts presented in the case.
  • Defendant: An individual or entity who is accused of causing an injury.
  • Disability: A physical or medical condition -or injury – that limits a persons ability to earn a living.
  • Dispute: A disagreement between the plaintiff and the defendant to be settled in court.
  • Fault: A failure to act reasonably.
  • Guardian: A person designated by court to look after another person and their property.
  • Income: Money received by an individual on a regular basis.
  • Injury: Harm or damages caused to an individual.
  • Judgment: The final ruling or decision of a court in a lawsuit.
  • Juvenile: A young individual said by law to be too young to be prosecuted as an adult.
  • Lawyer: A person who practices and studies law.
  • Liability: the state of being responsible for causing injuries or loss to another individual.
  • Loss: The monetary value given to an injury or damage (emotional, physical or property) caused to an individual by anothers negligence.
  • Maine Tort Claims Act: A statute that gives an individual a limited right of legal recourse to collect monetary damages.
  • Malpractice: An improper or negligent act by a professional resulting in injury to an individual.
  • Mediation: An intervention in a dispute between the plaintiff and defendant, typically before the case ends up in court.
  • Mental anguish: Emotional suffering to include distress, anxiety, etc. inflicted on an individual.
  • Negligence: Failure of an individual or entity to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another.
  • Personal injury: A physical injury inflicted on an individual. It may be physical or emotional.
  • Premises liability: The liability for injuries arising from an unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property.
  • Product liability: The liability of a seller for injuries arising from a product’s defect.
  • Proof: Evidence or arguments that are presented in court to establish fact.
  • Property: The material possession of an individual, like land, building or products.
  • Property damage: The damage or destruction done to an individual’s personal property or real property by another persons negligence.
  • Recover: To get compensation for injuries and losses as a result of a lawsuit or negotiated settlement.
  • Risk: A known chance of an injury or loss.
  • Settlement: An official agreement made between opposing parties to resolve a dispute.
  • Statute of limitation: The amount of time during which an individual can file a lawsuit against another individual for causing injury or loss.
  • Witness: An individual who saw what happened at the accident scene.
  • Wrongful death: A death of an individual caused by the negligence, wrongful act or willful act of another person or entity.

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