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Understanding the Legal Vocabulary in Personal Injury Suits

Posted on: April 12, 2017

personal injury suits

With the law being broken up into so many areas of practice, it is good to know that not all verbiage will be the same. For instance, for personal injury suits, there are distinct words that describe such cases, these include the following:

#1 “Strict Liability” in Personal Injury Suits

Strict liability in personal injury suits is defined as a person or persons being responsible for everything that concerns the injury without the need for any proof of fault. Generally, this applies to a defendant who was negligent, such as DUI/DWI.

#2 “At-Fault”

At-fault is defined as the person found to have caused an injury and is normally held as liable/guilty.

#3 “Prayer for Relief”

Prayer for relief is a term used to describe how much the victim would like to be compensated in their personal injury suits. Prayer for Relief is the process of the defendant asking the court for damages to be paid by the defendant.

#4 “Negligence”

In Tort law, negligence is defined as conduct which puts another person at risk of harm and failure to protect others from such negligent conduct. The person who is judged negligent is held responsible and liable for any injuries incurred.

To prove personal injury negligence, you must be able to show that there was a legal duty between both parties, a breach occurred of said duty and damage or injury was sustained due to the “breach of the duty”. In a motor vehicle accident, all drivers have a “duty of care” to all other drivers and pedestrians on the road.

#5 “Statute of Limitations”

Personal injury cases are all governed by time limits called statutes of limitations. This is the date and time before which a plaintiff must file a lawsuit. This also becomes beneficial for the plaintiff to defend their lawsuit. It gives enough time to gather all witnesses and ensure witness information is still fresh. If the lawsuit statute of limitations expires, unless there are unusual circumstances and the judge grants an extension, then the lawsuit is thrown out and the plaintiff becomes barred from refiling another lawsuit.

#6 Burden of Proof

The term burden of proof can be defined as who is responsible for proving a legal point, such as the burden of proof lies with the victim to prove they were not at-fault for the accident. This is defined as the responsibility of each party to prove claims being made in a lawsuit. In personal injury cases, the plaintiff (normally the injured party) is charged with the suits “burden of proof.” This is because he is the party making the claim of injuries due to the actions of the defendant. The plaintiff isn’t the only party with the burden of proof, though. The defendant receives burden of proof when presenting their defense. Therefore, whoever makes a claim in a lawsuit is laden with the burden of proving it in court.

This is just a sample of some of the terms you will hear in discussions about personal injury suits that you should be familiar with to better understand your conversations with an attorney pertaining to your personal injury claim.

The personal injury attorneys at Edwards & Patterson make every attempt to speak in plain English about the details of your claim and the negotiation process. However, sometimes English is a “second language” for us because we spend our days in the courtroom and reading trial papers and witness statements, so don’t hesitate to stop us and ask for clarification on any point about your personal injury. Give us a call today, 877-402-7308 and see for yourself how easy it is to talk to us.

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