Personal Injury Glossary

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Appeal:

A request submitted to a court to review or reconsider a prior decision made on a case

 

Beneficiary:

A person who is to receive settlement benefits or insurance policy payments

 

Contingency Fee:

The percentage of a settlement or award paid to a lawyer when a case or trial is decided

 

Damages:

The monetary compensation that insurance companies pay or that which a court orders a defendant to pay in civil cases. Two types of damages can be ordered:

1. compensatory damages: compensation meant to repay for a loss or injury suffered by the plaintiff

2. punitive damages: compensation intended to punish the defendant

 

Defective Product:

A defective product is a product which causes injury and is dangerous due to its design or the way in which it was manufactured. An example of a defective product would be a seat belt that fails to operate correctly in an auto accident or a piece of clothing that fails to meet flammability standards set by the government, which leads to severe burns.

 

Distracted Driver:

A driver who is engaging in any activity outside of driving a vehicle or distracted by activity inside or outside of the vehicle that he or she is operating. Activities that commonly lead to auto accidents include texting while driving, talking on mobile phones, general cell phone usage, applying makeup, reading, adjusting the radio or eating. Common disruptions which lead to car crashes include boisterous or distracting pets or passengers, as well as flying insects that may enter an open window or appear suddenly.

 

Independent Medical Examination:

A medical exam required by insurance companies and conducted by a doctor who is not affiliated with a patient’s prior doctor or medical provider. The exam reviews any treatments and expenses. The examination considers impairment ratings (present and future), as well as anticipated future medical treatments

 

Insurance Claims Adjuster:

An insurance company employee who reviews claims, inspects property damages and medical records, in order to negotiate a settlement offer on behalf of the insurance company

 

Judgment:

The decision by the court (judge or jury) that makes final a lawsuit or legal claim

 

Liability:

Legal responsibility of a company, government or individual(s) for an accident that damages another person or property

 

Malpractice:

Misconduct of a professional, that causes injuries or illness and is the result of negligence, carelessness, or willful or malicious intent (usually involves medical professionals)

 

Negligence:

Failure to exercise necessary or expected care or precaution in a situation, which leads to injury or illness to another party

 

Plaintiff:

Party who brings legal action or a claim against another party (defendant) for an injury or damages

 

Preponderance of the Evidence:

“Preponderance of the Evidence” is a reference to the legal benchmark required for proof of negligence in a claim. The injured party must provide a convincing amount of evidence that shows with little doubt the likelihood that the defendant acted with negligence.

 

Settlement:

A form of monetary compensation for injuries that both defendant and plaintiff agree upon or without admission of guilt—which brings the proceedings of an injury claim to a close without the need for a trial

 

Statute of Limitations:

Period of time that a legal claim is valid and can be filed. Any claims that may exist after the statute of limitations has expired are not valid, hence damages or compensation are not attainable

 

Wrongful Death:

Claim against a party for negligence leading to the death

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