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Glossary of Personal Injury Terms to Know
During the personal injury claims process, there may be many terms you hear and do not understand. Complicated legal jargon can make it difficult for Injury victims and their families to get through some of the most trying times in their lives.
At KNR, we want you to be informed and confident in seeking compensation for your injuries. This glossary of personal injury terms can help, but do not hesitate to contact our team for a free consultation with no obligation or upfront fees. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW or contact us online.
Personal Injury Glossary
Personal Injury – A
- Accident Report – An accident report details the scene of an accident by a law enforcement officer, hospital staff, or another authority figure.
- Attorney-Client Privilege – This is a law that protects anything said between a client and their attorney. This information cannot be forced to disclose at trial.
Personal Injury – B
- Bad Faith Claim – A bad faith claim may be filed when you file a claim with an insurance company, and they delay the processing of your claim or deny your claim without just cause to further their financial interests.
- Burden of Proof – The burden of proof refers to the obligation to prove that your claims are true in court. The burden of proof in civil claims is based on a preponderance of the evidence, whereas the burden of proof in criminal court is beyond a reasonable doubt.
Personal Injury – C
- Causation – Causation refers to the act or event that caused something. In your personal injury claim, your attorney must show that the defendant is responsible for causing your injuries or damages for your claim to be successful.
- Contingency Fee – Many personal injury lawyers are willing to work with injury victims on contingency. Your lawyer will cover all the upfront and out-of-pocket expenses of pursuing your case. You will only be responsible for paying attorney fees if they win your personal injury claim.
Personal Injury – D
- Damages – Damages refer to the different ways your life has been affected that you are seeking compensation for. Damages can be compensatory, a loss you are entitled to, or punitive, a loss meant to punish the defendant.
- Discovery – Discovery is an important part of the personal injury claims process, where both parties will obtain and exchange evidence, including depositions, affidavits, interviews, medical records, financial statements, and more.
Personal Injury – E
- Evidence– This information and documentation supports your argument or version of events. Examples include video, photos, medical records regarding your injuries, receipts for expenses you incurred, and other documents that prove your claim.
- Expert Witness– This describes a witness who lends their professional expertise to support a party’s Examples include doctors, accident reconstructionists, engineers, and financial professionals.
- Excess Judgments – A judgment that exceeds the limits of their insurance. A defendant is personally liable for an excess judgment.
Personal Injury – F
- Fault –This describes a party’s failure to act as would be reasonably expected. When someone is at fault, there are deemed responsible for causing a personal injury.
- First-Party Claims – Claims made to one’s insurance company (as opposed to another liable insurance policy).
- Federal Tort Claims Act– This law provides a legal remedy to an injured party if the harm was due to the negligence of a federal employee. Specifically, in cases involving injury, death, or property damage, the victim can seek damages from the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946.
Personal Injury – G
- Gross Negligence: – This term describes the intentional failure to perform a duty standard by recklessly disregarding another’s health or property. Also called willful negligence, it is a requirement to recover punitive damages.
Personal Injury – H
- Health Care Expenses – These refer to the totality of your medical expenses, including co-pays, ambulance bills, hospital fees, medical equipment costs, costs of accommodations to your home, mental health counseling, physical and occupational therapy fees, transportation costs, surgical fees, and any future medical care you may require.
- Hit & Run – This term describes the criminal act of someone striking a person or vehicle with their car and fleeing the scene. This attempt to avoid responsibility complicates the victim’s ability to secure sufficient compensation for their losses.
Personal Injury – I
- Insurance – An insurance policy protects the insured when they file a claim. One party pays the insurance company a premium, and the insurance company then covers certain types of amounts of damages when injury or loss occurs.
- Independent Medical Exam – This is a second medical opinion usually requested by the at-fault party’s insurance company or to confirm the occurrence of medical malpractice.
Personal Injury – J
- Judgment: – The final amount of damages awarded in a lawsuit by either a judge or jury. Distinct from a personal injury settlement, a judgment is a court-ordered outcome.
- Jones Act– The Jones Act is a maritime personal injury law that provides unique protections to the crew members of a ship or vessel, who may otherwise not be eligible for workers’ compensation or other civil laws.
Personal Injury – K
- Known Loss Rule – This refers to the inability to seek insurance coverage for things already known to be damaged or lost. For example, a driver cannot claim compensation for dents that existed before having the car insured.
Personal Injury – L
- Liability – Liability refers to the legal responsibility and obligation to the injury victim. Generally, liable parties or individuals or entities found at fault for causing the victim’s damages will be compelled to compensate them accordingly.
- Litigation – The process of taking civil legal action or filing a lawsuit.
- Loss– Any monetary value that can be assigned to your injuries or harm resulting from your accident. This includes your pain and suffering, medical costs, and lost income.
- Lawsuit – A court action brought by an alleged harmed party (plaintiff), against another (the defendant), in hopes of recovering compensation for the harm inflicted.
- Loss of consortium – Damages awarded for the loss of companionship caused by a severe injury or wrongful death.
Personal Injury – M
- Malpractice – When a healthcare provider or other medical professional fails to meet the medical standard of care or otherwise breaches their duty of care to their patients, they can be accused of negligence or medical malpractice.
- Motion– A request by one party for the court’s ruling on a legal issue is in dispute as part of a lawsuit. Motions usually incorporate a written document outlining the party’s legal reasoning and oral arguments from the parties involved before a judge before a determination is made.
Personal Injury – N
- Negligence – Negligence refers to a duty of care, a breach in the duty of care, causation, and injuries or damages to a victim. A person can be accused of negligence when they fail to take reasonable action that another individual would have taken.
- Negligence per se: A defendant is assumed to have breached the duty of care and is, therefore, negligent as a matter of law if they violate a statute designed to protect against the type of accident or harm caused by their actions. As a result, the only thing that must be proven is whether the violation was the “cause in fact” and “proximate cause” of the plaintiff’s injury.
- Notice to the insurer: A formal, written notice sent to an insurance company about an incident that will form the basis of a claim.
Personal Injury – O
- Occupational Disease: An illness caused by long-term employment in a particular line of work, such as construction workers exposed to asbestos, who later develop cancer.
- Out-of-court settlement: A formal agreement arrived at without the involvement of a judge or court.
Personal Injury – P
- Premise Liability – Premises liability refers to the responsibility of a property owner to ensure the safety of their premises for invitees. They are obligated to ensure the property is marked as such if hazards are present, make necessary repairs, and otherwise keep their invitees reasonably safe.
- Product Liability – Product liability refers to the responsibility of a product designer, manufacturer, distributor, supplier, retailer, or a third party when their product is defective, malfunctioning, or otherwise causes serious bodily injury or illness.
- Plaintiff: The individual pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
- Pleading: Any document or statement formally filed with the court.
- Precedent: The legal standard in an area of law governed by previous decisions by higher courts.
- Proximate cause: The most direct reason something dangerous happened.
- Punitive damages: Rare in personal injury cases, this is compensation aimed at punishing someone for extremely negligent actions or intentional wrongdoing.
Personal Injury – Q
- Quality of Life – Your quality of life refers to several factors that allow you to live your life reasonably happy and contently. Some factors that may be considered include your mobility, your work activities, the activities you once participated in for joy, your social relationships, your regular daily living activities, and even future prospects.
Personal Injury – R
- Recklessness– This describes deliberate and unsafe actions that were not necessarily meant to cause harm. A distracted driver would be considered reckless if their inattention caused an accident.
Personal Injury – S
- Settlement – Before a civil lawsuit begins or filing an insurance claim, a settlement can be reached that allows the injury victim to receive compensation for their damages without going to court.
- Statute of Limitations – The law of limitation refers to the amount of time you have to file your claim before you lose your right to have your case heard in the Ohio civil court system. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Ohio is typically just two years.
- Standard of care: The accepted standard for a professional to reasonably follow in similar circumstances. For example, doctors must reach a minimum standard to protect patients from needless harm.
- Strict liability: Legal fault that does not depend on actual negligence or intent to harm.
Personal Injury – T
- Third-Party Claims: This describes a claim against another person’s insurance company. In third-party claims, the insured person is the first party, the insurance carrier is the second party, and the injured person is the third party.
- Tort: The biggest category of civil litigation, encompassing a wide range of personal injury cases from car accidents to class actions. A tort claim happens when a wrongful act occurs and causes harm to another.
- Trial – The official legal process by which the court rules on a personal injury case.
Personal Injury – U
- Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM): A supplemental auto insurance policy that extends coverage to include damage caused by a motorist without enough insurance coverage.
Personal Injury – V
- Verdict: A final decision about a personal injury case made by a judge or jury.
- Vicarious liability: The legal standard by which someone is responsible for another person’s actions. This standard applies when an employer or parent is liable for their employee or child’s negligence.
- Voir Dire: Commonly known as “jury selection,” vior dire happens during the lawsuit process and involves both sides making sections and objections to impanel the jury in your case.
Personal Injury – W
- Witness– A person who testifies under oath during legal proceedings, including depositions, offering their account of what happened or expert opinion.
- Wrongful Death – When an injury victim succumbs to their fatal injuries, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may be able to pursue a wrongful death action against the liable party to recover compensation and damages for the decedents surviving family members and beneficiaries. Such damages could include the loss of the decedent’s financial contributions, the costs of the decedent’s medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of guidance, advice, and support.
Why Work with a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Working with a personal injury attorney could make a difference in your insurance claims or personal injury lawsuit. Cases of this nature are often complex, but with an experienced Ohio personal injury lawyer, you can protect yourself and ensure you are properly compensated.
With KNR’s experience, ability to streamline your case, and insight into the insurance claim and litigation process, you can rely on us to:
- Investigate, collect evidence, and find those at fault for your accident.
- Interview witnesses, medical professionals, and experts to show how your life was impacted.
- Communicate with the insurer, clarify liability, and pursue max compensation.
- Determine your car accident’s full and fair value – what you lost and deserve.
- Keep you informed and involved. KNR is available by phone, text, email, or Zoom.
- Protect your rights and, if necessary, take your case to court.
- Never charge you upfront. If there’s no recovery, there’s no cost.
Need Help from a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ohio? Call KNR
These are only a few of the more common personal injury terms you should be aware of as you navigate the insurance and civil claims process. Ensure you have an experienced and knowledgeable Ohio personal injury attorney to provide clarity and answers.
Learn more by contacting Kisling, Nestico & Redick for a free, no-risk consultation. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW or contact us online. We’ll explain your options and use every available resource so you recover – physically and financially.