When it comes to filing a personal injury claim, there are some terms you should familiarize yourself with to improve your understanding of both the claim and legal process. Commonly used terms in personal injury claims include:
Plaintiff is the term used to describe the person who initiates a personal injury lawsuit. They are the injured party seeking compensation for their damages.
Defendant refers to the person or entity who is being sued in a personal injury lawsuit. They are the alleged party responsible for causing the plaintiff’s injuries.
Negligence describes the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person. In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused your injuries.
Liability is a party’s legal responsibility. As a plaintiff in a personal injury claim, you must establish that the defendant is legally responsible for your injuries due to their negligent actions or failure to act.
Damages are the losses you’ve suffered because of the accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. It’s important to accurately calculate and document these damages to seek appropriate compensation.
Statute of Limitations is the timeframe within which you must file a personal injury claim. Each state has its own statute of limitations, so it’s crucial to be aware of the deadline to avoid losing your right to seek compensation. In California, the statute of limitations on a personal injury claim is two years. In New York, you have three years from the date of accident or injury discovery to file a claim.
Preponderance of Evidence means that you must show that the evidence you present is more likely to be true than not true.
Settlements are agreements reached between the parties involved in a personal injury claim, usually outside of court. It typically involves the injured party receiving a certain amount of compensation in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.
Contingency Fees are paid to personal injury lawyers if they successfully recover compensation for you. If they win your case, they will take a percentage of the settlement or court award as their contingency fee. If they don’t win your case, you do not have to pay any contingency fees.
Mediation resolves an alternative dispute where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps the parties in a personal injury claim negotiate a settlement outside of court.
Litigation refers to the process of taking a personal injury claim to court. It involves filing a lawsuit, gathering evidence, presenting arguments, and ultimately having a judge or jury decide the outcome of the case.
Comparative Negligence assigns fault and damages based on the degree of each party’s negligence. If you are found to be partially at fault for your injuries, your compensation may be reduced accordingly.
Fault State is a term used in personal injury law to describe a state where the party at fault for an accident is responsible for compensating the injured party. In fault states, the injured party can file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company to seek compensation for their damages.
No-Fault State describes a state where drivers involved in accidents are typically required to seek compensation for their injuries and damages from their own insurance companies, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. In no-fault states, individuals are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which covers their own medical expenses and lost wages in the event of an accident.
Understanding these terms will be helpful to you when navigating the personal injury claim process. By familiarizing yourself with these legal terms, you can make informed decisions and effectively communicate with a personal injury lawyer at The Barnes Firm. To speak with an experienced personal injury attorney, call The Barnes Firm today at (800) 800-0000.