Every personal injury case is different from the other. However, there are certain terms that are used the same way in many of these cases whether it is a car accident or a slip and fall case. Therefore, it is better to know about what these terms mean if you are planning to fight in a personal injury case. These terms help you understand the case better as you are going to hear about them time and again from attorneys.
To help you all, we have made here a glossary of important personal injury lingo you should know.
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, these are the terms you are most likely to come across.
You are the plaintiff if you are bringing the lawsuit. It can be a party or a group of parties. If you face a slip and fall injury in a departmental store and sue it for the personal injury, you are going to be the plaintiff in this case.
A lawsuit is initiated by the plaintiff by filing a formal complaint with the appropriate court of law. A personal injury claim is actually a formal expression for the pain and grievances you are going through because of the mistake of someone else.
3. Prayer for Relief
A prayer of relief is a term that is often included in the complaint of the plaintiff. It is a fancy word for what you are expecting to be paid for your personal injury by the other party you are suing.
The complaint is served by the plaintiff upon the defendant. A defendant is the party who is being alleged by the plaintiff for their injuries. In case of the above example of the departmental store, the departmental store is the defendant.
Defendants are going to file a formal answer to the complaint made by the plaintiff. This answer entails the position of the defendant in the case regarding the allegation made on them by the plaintiff. It is very important on the part of the defendant and their case will be based on this answer.
Nature and Validity Terms
Here are the terms that appear in personal injury cases related to their nature and validity.
1. Statute of Limitations
It is the time period which is set by law during which the plaintiff can file a lawsuit against the defendant for the damages inflicted upon them. This time limit can vary from state to state and from case to case. In case of civil suits, it ranges from one year to ten years, depending on the circumstances.
If the personal injury case is based on the issue of negligence, the statute of limitations is limited to two to three years. There are some exceptions for the cases of malpractice.
2. Torts and Intentional Torts
A tort is defined as a wrongful act that doesn't arise from a contract and is not a crime. Almost all of the causes of action in a civil lawsuit fall under the category of tort. It includes personal injury cases as well. Intentional torts, on the other hand, are the wrongful acts that are committed by someone on purpose. Many of these intentional torts fall under the category of crimes as well.
Any tort that arises from the negligence or carelessness of the being unable to act with reasonable care, falls under negligence.There are four things that need to be proved by the plaintiff when they are filing for negligence. These include
1. Defendant had an obligation or duty to the plaintiff
2. There was a violation or breach of that duty by the defendant
3. The breach or violation of the duty caused a damage to the plaintiff
4. There are actual damages
Breach, duty, damages and causation are the backbone of all personal injury cases.
4. Burden of Proof
It refers to the obligation of the plaintiff to prove that their allegations are true. There are many thresholds of proof depending on different personal injury cases. The defendant should be proved liable though a preponderance of the evidence. The plaintiff needs to prove that the actions of the defendant are the most likable reason for their personal injuries.
Damages usually refer to the money that the plaintiff is seeking to recover by filing a lawsuit against the defendant. They are separated into two main groups: non-economic damages and economic damages. Non-economic damages are not quantifiable such as humiliation, pain and suffering. Economic damages, on the other hand, are quantifiable such as wage loss, medical expenses, auto repair bills, replacement services etc.
This is one of the most commonly applied legal theories in the personal injury cases that involve auto accidents. Many states have adopted the no-fault laws that require every auto owner in the state to have a minimum amount of personal injury protection insurance. In most of the cases, the injured party is to collect from their own insurance company as opposed to filing a lawsuit. The idea of no-fault can be confusing. To keep things simple, here is how you should understand it: an injured party may not sue the defendant unless the personal injury reaches a certain fixed financial limit. They can recover the amount from their insurance company instead regardless of who's fault it was that resulted in the accident and hence the injuries.
If you are looking for experienced personal injury attorneys in Ohio, get in touch with us at Christopher Jackson Law. We have experienced and seasoned attorneys who will handle your case in the best and the most professional manner.