What Does That Mean? An Introduction To Personal Injury Terminology

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If you find yourself involved in any sort of legal situation, including a truck, car, or motorcycle wreck, there are some terms you may hear that will likely be unfamiliar to you. We’ve compiled a list of some commonly used legal terminology in order to help you understand what your attorney is talking about.

General Personal Injury Legal Terms

Tort – A tort constitutes a legal basis for a lawsuit stemming from physical, financial, or reputational harm done to an individual that isn’t connected to a criminal offense or a contractual agreement. The injured party can seek financial compensation from those responsible for the injury, along with any associated expenses and losses. Instances of torts encompass negligence, trespass, defamation, fraud, assault and battery, and wrongful death.

Negligence – The majority of personal injury claims stem from negligence. This occurs when someone fails to meet their legal duty of care or demonstrate reasonable care, leading to harm for another individual. In order to make a negligence claim successful, evidence must be presented that shows the existence of a duty of care owed to you by another party. This duty must have been breached through their actions or lack thereof, and their failure must have directly and reasonably led to your injuries and subsequent damages.

Strict Liability – Certain personal injury claims necessitate only the need to prove that an injury was sustained due to the actions or omissions of another party. This is without needing to establish any blame or fault on their part. Strict liability typically arises in the context of personal injury suits involving defective products. This is because state law mandates manufacturers are held strictly liable if their faulty products cause harm, as well as in cases related to dog bites.

Comparative Fault/Negligence – This concept refers to the legal rule that assigns liability for injuries proportionately based on the share of responsibility attributed to each party involved. Importantly, this rule enables injured parties who bear partial responsibility for their own injuries to still seek compensation as long as their degree of fault is lower than that of the other involved party or parties.

No-Fault – In the car accident claims process, injured individuals must utilize the no-fault insurance system by accessing their own insurance policies’ personal injury protection coverage. This allows them to obtain coverage for medical expenses and lost wages. A car accident victim may only bring a lawsuit against the driver responsible for the accident under specific circumstances, such as opting for the no-limitation option in their car insurance policy or suffering from a qualifying injury.

Litigation Specific Terminology

Plaintiff – This term refers to the individual filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you suffer an injury due to an accident, you will become the plaintiff upon filing your legal case.

Defendant – This party is held accountable for the damages and injuries sustained by the plaintiff. Any party, or multiple parties, that you file a case against will be designated as the defendant(s) in your personal injury lawsuit.

Complaint – The Complaint represents a legal document filed with the trial court and subsequently served on the defendant(s). It contains pertinent information related to your allegations, specifically outlining how your injuries came about due to the actions of the defendant(s).

Prayer for Relief – This section in a personal injury lawsuit is where you specifically ask for the compensation or outcomes you desire if you win your case. Typically, the prayer for relief outlines the damages caused by the defendant’s negligence. It may also include requests for any other appropriate relief the court deems necessary, such as future anticipated expenses and losses.

Answer – The answer is a legal document filed by the defendant(s) in response to your complaint. Within this document, the defendant will either confirm or dispute each allegation made in your complaint. In some cases, the defendant might raise counterclaims against you as part of their answer.

Statute of Limitations – This refers to the time limit imposed by state law within which you must file your personal injury lawsuit. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. However, unique circumstances may allow more flexibility with the time frame to bring forth a claim against liable parties. When dealing with certain entities (typically public entities), you may need to provide legal notice of your intention to sue within a much shorter time frame (usually 90 days) compared to the usual two-year Statute of Limitations. Therefore, it is crucial to consult and work with an experienced Dallas personal injury attorney as soon as possible following your accident.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, or need help understanding your legal situation, contact us today

Named one of the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Dallas” by Expertise.com, Brian Brunson is Dallas personal injury attorney who is dedicated to helping clients who have suffered a car, truck, or motorcycle injury through the negligent or wrongful conduct of other drivers. In addition, his professionalism is unmatched and the firms’ client reviews speak for themselves.

We proudly serve the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and surrounding areas, our office supports the legal needs of a wide variety of clients. Let the Law Office of Brian Brunson be your advocate in your time of need and help you put your life back together. If we can’t win or settle your case, you don’t pay a dime! We know it can be daunting to take that first step after you’ve been hurt. Contact Brian Brunson today via email or call us toll-free at 1-844-41-WRECK. We can help, when no one else will.

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