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Glossary of Personal Injury Cases

Glossary for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

What is an Accident Report

An accident report is a report prepared by law enforcement officers following an accident, which documents
the details of the incident.

What are Actual Damages?

The compensation awarded for the actual loss incurred by the injured party.

What is an Affidavit

A written statement made under oath.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

ADR refers to methods of resolving disputes outside of court, such as mediation or arbitration.

What is Arbitration?

A process in which a neutral third party listens to the arguments of both sides and makes a binding
decision.

What is Assumption of Risk?

A defense asserting that the injured party voluntarily accepted the risk associated with the activity that
caused the injury.

What is the At-Fault Party

The person or entity responsible for causing an accident or injury.

What is Attorney-Client Privilege?

The confidentiality of communication between a lawyer and a client.

What is Bad Faith?

When an insurance company fails to deal fairly and honestly with an insured party.

What is a Bench Trial?

A trial where a judge, rather than a jury, hears the case and makes a decision.

What is the Burden of Proof?

The responsibility of a party to prove the truth of their claims in a legal proceeding.

What is Causation?

The act or process that produces an effect or result.

What is a Civil Lawsuit?

A legal action filed by one party against another for monetary damages or other relief.

What is a Claim?

A demand for compensation made by an injured party.

What is Comparative Negligence?

A legal doctrine that apportions fault between parties based on their level of responsibility for an
accident or injury.

What is a Complaint?

The initial document filed by a plaintiff in a lawsuit, which sets forth the facts and legal basis for their
claims.

What are Compensatory Damages?

Monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff for their actual losses.

What is a Contingency Fee?

What is Contributory Negligence?

A legal doctrine that bars a plaintiff from recovering damages if they contributed to their own injury.

What is a Counterclaim?

A claim filed by a defendant against a plaintiff in response to the plaintiff’s original claim.

What is Cross-Examination?

The questioning of a witness by the opposing party during a trial or deposition.

What are Damages?

Damages refer to monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

Who is the Defendant in a Civil Lawsuit?

The defendant is the party against whom a lawsuit is filed.

What is a Deposition?

A pretrial process where a witness provides sworn testimony under oath, which can be used as evidence in a
trial.

What is Discovery in a Civil Lawsuit

The pretrial process of obtaining evidence from the opposing party.

What is the Dram Shop Act?

A law that holds establishments liable for serving alcohol to intoxicated patrons who subsequently cause
injury to others.

What is a Duty?

A legal obligation to act or refrain from acting in a certain manner.

What are Economic Damages?

Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages.

What is an Expert Witness?

A witness with specialized knowledge in a particular subject who provides testimony in a lawsuit.

What is Fault?

Fault refers to responsibility for causing an accident or injury.

What is Fiduciary Duty?

A fiduciary duty refers to a legal obligation to act in the best interest of another party.

What is Gross Negligence?

Gross negligence refers to a reckless or willful disregard for the safety or well-being of others.

What is Harm?

Harm refers to injury or damage suffered by a person or property.

What is Informed Consent?

A patient’s agreement to a medical procedure after receiving information about the risks and benefits.

What is an Insurance Adjuster?

An insurance adjuster is a person who investigates insurance claims and makes a liability determination.

What is an Insurance Claim?

An insurance claim is a formal request by an insured party for coverage or compensation under an insurance
policy.

What is an Insurance Policy?

An insurance policy is a contract between an insurance company and a policyholder that outlines the terms
and conditions of coverage.

What is the Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is a tort claim for emotional harm caused by extreme and
outrageous conduct.

What are Interrogatories?

Interrogatories are written questions submitted by one party to another during the discovery process, which
must be answered under oath.

What is Joint and Several Liability?

Joint and Several Liability is a legal doctrine that allows a plaintiff to recover damages from multiple
defendants, who are each responsible for the full amount of damages.

What is a Judgment?

A judgment is a court’s final decision in a lawsuit.

What is Jurisdiction?

Jurisdiction in a personal injury case is the legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case.

What is a Jury?

A jury is a group of people selected to hear evidence and determine the outcome of a trial.

What is Liability?

Liability refers to legal responsibility for one’s actions or inactions.

What is Litigation?

Litigation refers to the process of pursuing or defending a lawsuit.

What is Loss of Consortium?

A claim for damages suffered by a spouse or family member due to the injury or death of a loved one.

What is Mediation?

A process in which a neutral third party helps disputing parties reach a voluntary resolution.

What is Mitigation?

Mitigation refers to the duty of an injured party to minimize their losses following an injury.

What is a Motion?

A formal request made by a party for a court to take a specific action.

What is Negligence?

The failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person.

What are Non-economic damages?

Compensation for non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.

What is Notice?

A formal communication providing information or a request to another party.

What is an Opening Statement?

The initial presentation made by each party at the beginning of a trial, outlining their case.

What is Pain and Suffering in a Personal Injury Case?

Physical and emotional distress experienced by a plaintiff due to their injuries.

What is a Party?

A party is a person or entity involved in a lawsuit.

What is Considered Personal Injury?

Physical or emotional harm suffered by a person due to the actions or inactions of another.

Who is the Plaintiff in a Lawsuit?

The party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint.

What is a Pleading?

A formal written statement filed with the court that sets forth the claims and defenses of the parties in a
lawsuit.

What is the Preponderance of Evidence Standard?

The standard of proof required in most civil cases, meaning that a party’s claim is more likely true than
not.

What is Premises Liability?

The legal responsibility of a property owner for injuries that occur on their property.

What is a Pre-Trial Conference?

A meeting between the parties and the judge before trial to discuss the case and attempt to resolve any
outstanding issues.

What is Product Liability?

The legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers for harm caused by defective or dangerous products.

What is Proximate Cause?

A direct and foreseeable cause of an injury or harm.

What are Punitive Damages?

Monetary damages awarded to punish a defendant for particularly egregious conduct and deter similar behavior
in the future.

Reasonable Care

The level of care that a prudent person would exercise in similar circumstances.

What is a Rebuttal?

A response to evidence or arguments presented by the opposing party.

What is a Settlement?

A voluntary resolution of a dispute between parties, often involving payment of damages.

What is the Standard of Care?

The level of care that a reasonable person would exercise in a specific situation.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

A time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed, after which the claim is barred. For many claims in
Texas, that is two years.

What is Strict Liability?

A legal doctrine that holds a party responsible for damages without the need to prove negligence or fault.

What is a Subpoena?

A legal order requiring a person to testify or produce documents in a legal proceeding.

What is a Summary Judgment?

A court ruling that decides a case without a full trial, based on the evidence presented in the pleadings
and motions.

What is a Survival Action in Texas?

A claim brought by the estate of a deceased person for damages that the deceased could have recovered if
they had lived.

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