Filing a Personal Injury Claim: Terms You Need to Know

If you have never filed a personal injury claim before, chances are you will hear a bunch of terms thrown around that you do not know the meaning of. You are not expected to know every legal term in the book, but there are certain terms you should be familiar with before proceeding.

Below are definitions of some of the most common phrases and terms that used in any personal injury claim, from slip-and-falls to medical malpractice.

Complaint: The plaintiff initiates a lawsuit by first filing a complaint with the appropriate court

Defendant: The person or party against whom the lawsuit has been filed (by the plaintiff).

Damages: Payment, usually monetary, recovered in a civil court case for an injury or loss caused by another person’s negligence. Damages include both economic and non-economic, such as pain and suffering.

Negligence: A tort arising from carelessness or the failure to act with reasonable care, when such conduct causes damage to the person or property of another. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove negligence.

Plaintiff: The person or party who brings the legal action or files the lawsuit; also called a complainant.

Settlement: An agreement between both parties in a lawsuit. In a personal injury case, an initial offer will generally be made in an attempt to settle. If a settlement is not reached, a lawsuit will then be filed.

Standard of Care: The degree of care which a reasonable person would have applied under the same or similar circumstances.

Statute of Limitations: The amount of time prescribed by law for a plaintiff to file a lawsuit. Statutes vary by case type and the location (state) of the injury. Personal injury cases tend to have statute of limitations in the area of 2-3 years.

Tort: Any wrongful act that is not a crime and does not arise from a contract.

We would be happy to sit down and explain any terms you are unfamiliar with, along with the details of your case. Call the experienced lawyers at The Cochran Firm today (1-800-843-3476) for a free consultation.

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