Essential Terminology for Personal Injury Claims

terminologyNavigating the world of personal injury claims can be daunting, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the legal jargon and terminology involved. Understanding key terms can help demystify the process and empower you to take informed steps toward seeking justice and compensation. At Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel, we’re committed to guiding you every step of the way. Here’s a breakdown of essential terminology you need to know when dealing with personal injury claims.


1. Plaintiff

The plaintiff is the person who brings a lawsuit against another party. In personal injury cases, the plaintiff is typically the injured party seeking compensation for their injuries and losses.



2. Defendant

The defendant is the individual, company, or entity being sued by the plaintiff. This party is alleged to have caused the plaintiff’s injury through negligence or wrongdoing.


3. Liability

Liability refers to legal responsibility for one’s actions or omissions. In personal injury cases, establishing liability is crucial for determining who is at fault and who should pay for the damages.


4. Negligence

Negligence is a failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. It is a key factor in most personal injury claims, as proving negligence is necessary to establish the defendant’s liability.


5. Damages Terminology

Damages are the monetary compensation sought or awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. They can be categorized into several types:


Economic Damages: Tangible losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.

Non-Economic Damages: Intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages: Awarded in cases of particularly egregious conduct, meant to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior.


6. Settlement

A settlement is an agreement between the plaintiff and defendant to resolve the case outside of court. It typically involves the defendant agreeing to pay a certain amount of money to the plaintiff in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.


7. Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the time limit within which a plaintiff must file a lawsuit. This period varies depending on the type of claim and the jurisdiction. Failing to file within this timeframe can bar the plaintiff from pursuing legal action.


8. Contingency Fee

A contingency fee arrangement means that the plaintiff’s attorney is only paid if the case is won or settled. The attorney’s fee is usually a percentage of the awarded damages. This arrangement can make legal services accessible to those who may not afford them otherwise.


9. Tort

A tort is a wrongful act or infringement of a right leading to civil legal liability. Personal injury law is a branch of tort law, which deals with cases where someone’s actions cause harm to another person.


10. Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a principle that reduces the plaintiff’s damages by the percentage of fault attributed to them. For example, if the plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault for the accident, their damages award will be reduced by 20%.


11. Contributory Negligence

In some jurisdictions, contributory negligence can completely bar a plaintiff from recovering any damages if they are found to be even partially at fault for the incident.


12. Demand Letter

A demand letter is a formal document sent by the plaintiff to the defendant outlining the plaintiff’s injuries, losses, and the compensation they seek. It often serves as a starting point for settlement negotiations.


13. Litigation

Litigation is the process of taking legal action through the courts. If a settlement cannot be reached, the plaintiff may decide to file a lawsuit and proceed with litigation to resolve the dispute.


14. Deposition

A deposition is a sworn, out-of-court testimony given by a witness or party involved in the case. It is part of the discovery process, where both sides gather evidence to build their arguments.


15. Mediation

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party, the mediator, facilitates negotiations between the plaintiff and defendant to help them reach a voluntary settlement.


Understanding these essential terms can make the process of pursuing a personal injury claim less intimidating. At Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel, we are dedicated to helping you navigate these complexities and fight for the compensation you deserve. If you have any questions or need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Remember, knowledge is power. Equip yourself with the right information and terminology to take confident steps toward securing your future.



Feel free to reach out to Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel for a consultation or further information. We’re here to support you every step of the way.