Being involved in an accident and suffering injuries can be an overwhelming situation. However, if your injuries were caused by another party, it is possible to file a personal injury claim.

For those who have never been in this situation before, the process can seem complicated and difficult to understand. While this is true, at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines, we are here to ensure our clients understand the legal process and what is going on with their cases.

Some of the terms to know and understand are found here.

1. Bodily Injury

A common term heard in personal injury cases is “bodily injury.” This term refers to damage to your body, including broken bones, lacerations, burns, bruises, and any related injuries. Bodily injuries can occur in accidents, be caused by negligence, or result from an intentional act.

2. Affidavit

An affidavit is a type of legal document. This document includes a written statement that is confirmed by affirmation or oath. It can be used as evidence during your court case.

3. Compensable Injury

A compensable injury is one in which you can recover damages. Put simply; compensable injuries include damage to a person’s body that can or will be compensated through a worker’s compensation claim.

4. Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations outlines the specific amount of time you must file legal action. If you fail to meet the statute of limitations, you will lose the right to file completely.

5. Burden of Proof

As the term implies, it means the plaintiff (the person filing the legal suit) must prove the claims or accusations against the defendant. For personal injury cases, the burden of proof refers to a plaintiff being able to prove that the damages were caused by the defendant.

6. Damages

The damages in a personal injury lawsuit refer to what a plaintiff is attempting to recover. In these cases, there are two categories of damages:

  1. Economic damages: These include things like wage loss, medical costs, auto repair bills, and replacement services.
  2. Non-economic damages: Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering and mental anguish.

7. Negligence

While negligence is often confused with causation, it isn’t always the same. Negligence occurs when an accident or damage is caused by carelessness or recklessness. Like other cases, to prove negligence, the plaintiff needs evidence that shows the defendant has violated their duty of care and that the violation caused damages.

8. Tort

This is a civil wrong that causes someone to suffer harm or a loss that results in legal liability for the individual who commits the act. This person is called the tortfeasor.

9. No-Fault

You will hear this term during auto accident cases that result in personal injury. When no-fault laws are used, all vehicle owners must carry a certain amount of personal injury protection in their insurance plan. However, this also means that the injured party can’t sue the at-fault party unless their damages or injuries exceed this insurance amount.

10. Discovery

In personal injury cases, a pre-trial procedure where all parties can gather evidence from the other is called discovery. During this process, it’s possible to get answers to interrogations, request for depositions, and request for certain documents.

11. Emergency Medical Condition

Sometimes, a personal injury case will result in an immediate need for medical treatment. If this is made known, it is called an emergency medical condition. These conditions are the ones that involve serious symptoms like severe trauma and pain. This term indicates that if the individual doesn’t receive care immediately, they may suffer permanent or extreme damage or death.

12. Causation

Causation is a term used when negligence is being highlighted in a personal injury case. This refers to the intentional act of causing something. When negligence is a factor, the plaintiff must provide evidence that shows the defendant did something intentionally that resulted in direct harm. This is true regardless of if they were successful in their act.

13. Assignment of Benefits

This occurs when the company transfers the benefits to the party that filed to receive compensation. Sometimes, this requires medical documents to prove that the individual who suffered damages requires coverage for medical costs and other related bills.

14. Complaint

The complaint is the first document filed with the court by an entity or person who claims legal rights against another party. It will include the factual and legal basis for any claim.

15. Answer

This is when the defendant files a formal answer to a complaint. It lets the plaintiff and the court know what the defendant’s position is related to the allegations that were made.

16. Contingency Fee

In a personal injury lawsuit, plaintiffs don’t pay their attorney upfront. Instead, they agree to a contingency fee, which is paid if the case is successful out of the settlement the plaintiff receives.

17. Defendant

The defendant is the party that is accused of causing a plaintiff’s injuries.

18. Litigation

Litigation is the term used to describe the act of bringing a case to court to settle an ongoing dispute. It is the legal process where the parties involved argue their case against one another in the court system.

19. Plaintiff

The plaintiff is the person who files a lawsuit. In personal injury parties, it would be the individual injured or experienced damages because of the other person or entity’s actions or failure to act.

20. Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document that provides authority for another person to handle financial or legal matters for an injured party.

Let an Experienced Attorney Help with Your Personal Injury Case

If you are involved in an accident caused by another party or entity, you have the right to file a lawsuit. It’s recommended that you seek the services of an experienced and reputable personal injury attorney in Atlanta. At the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines, our legal team is dedicated to helping clients get the maximum compensation possible for their claims. We can also answer any questions that you may have about your case or situation.

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