The A-Z Guide for Legal Terms
- Accident – An unexpected and unforeseen event that causes injury or harm to a person.
- Assumption of Risk – A legal defense that a defendant may raise in a personal injury lawsuit, claiming that the plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily accepted the risk of injury.
- Catastrophic Injury – A severe and life-changing injury that results in long-term or permanent disability, such as brain or spinal cord injuries.
- Comparative Negligence – A legal principle that apportions damages in proportion to the degree of fault of each party involved in the accident.
- Contributory Negligence – A legal doctrine that bars recovery for the injured party if he or she was even slightly at fault for the accident.
- Cross-Examination – The questioning of a witness by the opposing party in a trial or deposition.
- Damages Cap – A legal limit on the amount of damages that a plaintiff can recover in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Discovery – The pre-trial process of exchanging information and evidence between the parties involved in a lawsuit.
- Deposition – A formal interview of a witness or party to a lawsuit under oath, which is recorded and transcribed.
- Expert Witness – A professional who is called to testify in a personal injury trial to provide specialized knowledge and opinion on a particular issue.
- Intentional Tort – A deliberate and willful act that causes harm or injury to another person, such as assault or battery.
- Joint and Several Liability – A legal doctrine that allows the injured party to recover the full amount of damages from any or all defendants who are found to be at fault, regardless of the degree of fault.
- Lien – A legal claim against a portion of the settlement or judgment awarded in a personal injury lawsuit, typically filed by a healthcare provider or insurance company to recover expenses paid on behalf of the injured party.
- Mediation – A non-binding process in which a neutral third-party mediator facilitates a settlement agreement between the parties involved in a lawsuit.
- Motion – A formal request made by one party to a lawsuit to the court to rule on a specific issue or matter.
- Negligence Per Se – A legal doctrine that presumes the defendant’s negligence based on a violation of a statute or regulation.
- Non-Economic Damages – Damages awarded for losses that are not tangible or measurable, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Plaintiff – The party who initiates a lawsuit in a personal injury case.
- Preponderance of Evidence – The standard of proof required in a civil lawsuit, which means that the evidence presented must be more convincing than the evidence presented by the opposing party.
- Punitive Damages – Additional damages awarded to punish the defendant for intentional or reckless behavior.
- Third-Party Claim – A legal claim filed against a party who is not directly involved in the accident or injury, but who may be legally responsible for the harm caused.
- Tort – A civil wrong that results in harm or injury to another person, for which the injured party may seek compensation.
- Trial – A legal proceeding in which evidence is presented and a decision is made by a judge or jury.
- Verdict – The decision rendered by a judge or jury in a trial.