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Definitions

A

Accident Report – A formal document that contains a form that is usually filled out by management when an accident has occurred. This report usually contains information like the victims name, address, date and time of the incident, location, and information regarding the witnesses. This report is extremely important as it is used by insurance companies, and lawyers in the case of a lawsuit.

Alternative Dispute Resolution – This is known as the procedure of settling a dispute between two or more parties, without the need of of going into litigations.

Answer – A formal written pleading filed by a defendant to respond to a lawsuit filed and served upon the defendant. This written response generally responds to each allegation in the complaint, and the outcomes can vary as the person can plead guilty or innocent to the accusations made.

Appeal – The process of which the losing party in a trial court requests their case be re-tried, therefore, cases are reviewed to see if any formal changes to an official decision need to be made.

Arbitration – The hearing and settlement of a legal dispute between the plaintiff and defendant by a neutral third-party whose decision will be final. Often considered a mini-court case; often the third-party is an off-duty judge or attorney. The two parties enter a contract in which they agree that the arbitrators decision will be final. It is often considered a more efficient, faster, and cheaper route than litigation.

Assignment of Benefits – A term used regarding healthcare, which refers to an agreement between the plaintiff and the insurance company that often states or requests that the insurance pays for this medical bills directly to the physician or hospital.

Attorney-Client Privilege – A legal privilege that works to keep confidential communications between the attorney and the plaintiff a secret. In other words, the lawyer is legally allowed to protect the information the plaintiff provided.

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B

Bad-faith Claim – An assertion filed by an insured person against their insurance provider for unreasonably denying or delaying their claim, or for refusing to pay out a full insurance claim without cause.

Benefit – A benefit is known as financial assistance that a party  can receive from an employer, insurance company, or social program (such as social security) in a time of sickness, disability, or unemployment.

Bodily Injury – Any physical damage to a person’s body. Bodily injury may result from an accident, negligence, or an intentional act.

Burden of Proof – The obligation to prove one’s assertion. Whomever has the burden of proof must show their claim to be true. In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff has the burden of proof–to show the other party is responsible for the accident/damage.
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C

Causation – Known as the act or process of causing something. In a negligence case, the plaintiff must show that their injury was directly caused by something the defendant did (or failed to do).

Claim –A civil action relating to the physical or mental damage the defendant caused the plaintiff due to negligence .

Claim Adjuster – The insurance agent whom is responsible for assessing the amount of compensation that the plaintiff should receive  based on the evidence provided of the damages sustained due to someone else’s negligence.

Compensable Injury – An injury caused by an accident arising from a person’s employment and in the course of the employee’s work. Compensatory Damages – See Damages.

Complaint – The first document filed with the court by a person or entity claiming legal rights against another party; the official document that starts a lawsuit. Includes what wrongdoing the plaintiff feels the defendant did.

Compulsory Medical Examination – Known as an adversarial proceeding scheduled by the defense. Typically the doctor who will examine the plaintiff is hired by an insurance company to prove that the victim has indeed suffered the injuries they claimed the accident caused, and that the injuries were caused by the accident.

Contingency Fee – A sum of money that a lawyer receives as payment only if the case is won. The fee is dependent upon the attorney winning a settlement, and on the amount that is settled.

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D

Damages – Refers to the amount of money in which a plaintiff may be awarded in a lawsuit based on the physical injuries they suffered caused by the defendant.

  • Compensatory – Damages that cover actual losses and are intended to make the plaintiff “whole” again.
  • Exemplary –Often called punitive damages, which are the damages awarded in a lawsuit when the defendant’s willful acts were malicious, violent, etc.
  • General Damages – Monetary damages that are subjective in value, including pain and suffering, future problems and crippling effect of an injury, loss of ability to perform various acts, shortening of lifespan, mental anguish, loss of companionship, humiliation from scars, loss of anticipated business, and other harm that is not easily assessed a value. Still considered compensatory.
  • Punitive Damages – Damages that are intended to punish a defendant in order to assist them in learning their lesson. Rare in civil litigation, but does happen in extreme cases of negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
  • Special Damages – Monetary damages actually caused by the injury, including medical and hospital bills, ambulance charges, loss of wages, property repairs, and replacement costs. Considered compensatory.
  • Deductible – The amount of money the insured person is responsible for paying toward a claim. Once the deductible has been reached, the insurance company will cover the remainder of the costs.

Defective Medication – Medication that was provided by a medical practitioner that caused hard to the victim. Defective drug laws fall under product liability law, and are based on three defect categories:

  • Manufacturing defects: the pharmaceutical drug is manufactured improperly or the drug has become contaminated during the process and causes harm to the patient.
  • Design defects: the pharmaceutical drug was manufactured correctly, but the side effects caused by the drug cause harm or injury.
  • Failure to Warn: a failure to provide sufficient or appropriate instructions, warnings, or recommendations for the use of the drug or about the drug.

Defendant – Known are the person that is being sued in a civil lawsuit. In a Personal Injury case, the defendant is the person that is being accused of being at fault for the accident or damages.

Demand Letter – A formal letter sent to the opposing party formally requesting some action from them and usually with threat of legal action.

Deposition – Known as the taking and recording of a testimony of a witness to the accident under oath that is outside of the courthouse, however, a court reporter must be present.

Disclosure – The release of documents and other information requested or otherwise sought by the opposing party; to divulge information that is relevant to the case.

Discovery – The legal process by which the parties to a lawsuit and their attorneys request information before a trail through demands for productions of documents, depositions, potential witnesses, and more. These efforts are set to help have all the information needed before a trial to prove burden of prove.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – Also known as “drunk driving: which refers to operating a motor vehicle while having high levels of alcohol in their system. The amount of alcohol an individual is allowed to consume while being able to legally drive depends on every state, however, drunk driving is when the person has reached a higher level of alcohol than the legal limit set by statute  in the state they are in.

Duty of Care – A requirement that a person act toward others and the public with the watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would use. If a person’s actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for negligence.

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E

Emotional distress –  Originally damages for emotional distress were only awardable in conjunction with damages for actual physical harm.

Excess Judgement – Amount of additional damages that an insurer is required to pay above the policy limit, usually awarded by a judge if it is found that the insurance company acted in bad faith when settling a claim.

Exhaustion of Benefits – The running out of assistances payable to a party; all money allocated has been depleted.

Expert Witness – Known as  the specialist in a subject who may present his/her expert opinion without the need of being a witness to the accident relating to the lawsuit of criminal case. Often time, these witnesses are brought to court to give a testimony.
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F

Fault – An intentional or negligent failure to act reasonably or responsibly, however, according to law it is a wrong act or error that causes injury to another person. The wrong act or error can arise out of ignorance, carelessness, negligence, or even unskillfulness. This means that not knowing any better, not taking proper precautions, not taking into account those around you, or even lacking the skills necessary to perform a function can all be considered acts of fault if the result is injury to another.

First-Party Claims –Claims made towards one’s own insurance company (as opposed to against someone else’s insurance company).

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G

Good Faith – Honest intent to act without taking advantage over another person. The act of fulfilling a promise is also considered “Good Faith”.

General Denial – Refers to a  statement in an answer to a lawsuit or claim by a defendant in a lawsuit, in which the defendant denies everything alleged in the complaint without specifically denying any allegation.

Guest Statute – A state law which sets standards of care by the driver of a car to a non-paying passenger. Although state laws vary, the basic concept is that the social passenger can bring suit for negligence against the driver for gross negligence only if the driver could have foreseen that his/her actions or vehicle could put the passenger at risk.

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H

Hazard – Conditions that may increase the probability of damage or injury.

Health Care Expenses – The costs incurred by seeing a number of different healthcare providers, such as doctors, therapists, and specialists; the collective cost of all one’s medical care. In Personal Injury, these expenses are often claimed by the plaintiff to the defendant or insurance company for the injuries they sustained that require medical treatment.

HIPPA Act – Acronym that stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; a US law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information; requires patient’s or authorized person’s approval to gain medical information.

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I

Income Replacement Benefits (IRBs) – Money in place of the income one would usually make working; received by a person injured in a car accident who can no longer work, typically paid by the car insurance company.

Independent Medical Examination – Second medical opinion usually requested by the defendant/insurance company; plaintiff is required by law to gain this second opinion.

Insurance – A contractual relationship that exists when one party—the insurer—for a recurring fee (called a premium) agrees to reimburse another party—the insured—for damage or injury caused by certain hazards or dangers. (Sometimes called assurance.)

Insurer – The company or entity who provides coverage through an insurance policy.

Insured – The individual protected under an insurance policy.

Interrogatories – Written questions created by one party’s attorney for the opposing party to answer under oath within a specific amount of time. After the document is filled out, the plaintiff’s attorney reviews it then it is signed by the answered in front of a notary.

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J

Judgement – The final part of a court case which resolves all the contested issues and terminates the lawsuit; a final decision is made about the rights and claims of each side in a lawsuit.

Jury Instructions – Directions given to the jury before deliberation, including their instructions for reaching a verdict, the laws pertaining to the case, and what must be proven and by whom.

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K

Known Loss Rule – A rule stating that one may not obtain insurance coverage for a loss which has already occurred and which was known to the insured; prevents individuals from buying insurance to cover something that is already damaged, lost, or otherwise in need of coverage.

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L

Law – Known as any system of regulations to govern the conduct of the people of a community, society or nation, in response to the need for regularity, consistency and justice based upon collective human experience.

Law of the Case – When a judge has decided a legal question during the conduct of a lawsuit, they will unlikely  change their opinion and will respond that the ruling is the “law of the case.”

Lay a Foundation – in regards to providing evidence, this concepts refer to the act of providing the judge the qualification of a witness (particularly an expert witness) or a document or other piece of evidence which assures the court of the talent and experience of a witness or the authenticity of the document or article.

Leading Question – Often refers to a question asked to a witness by an attorney during a trial or a deposition (questioning under oath outside of court), suggesting an answer or putting words in the mouth of the witness.

Legal – When something is legal it means that it is according to law, or not in violation of law or anything related to the law.

Legal Age – Known as the age at which a person is responsible for his/her own actions, for damages they caused, for negligence or intentional wrongs without a parent being liable and for punishment as an adult for a crime. In the united States the legal age is 18+ unless emancipated.

Legal Action – known as any lawsuit, petition or prosecution.

Legal Duty – Known as the responsibility to others to act according to the law.

Legal Malpractice – When an attorney breaches their legal duty; which would involve going against four elements in the legal practice: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

Legal Services – Known as the work performed by a lawyer for a client.

Letter of Protection – A letter sent by an attorney  to a healthcare professional that gives permission for an injured person to obtain medical care they otherwise cannot afford on credit in exchange for a promise to pay for the services directly out of their settlement or judgment.

Liability – Known as the legal responsibility for one’s acts or omissions; an obligation one is bound to by law to perform.

Limitation of Risk – The maximum amount an insurer can be obligated to pay in any one loss event.

Litigant – Any party to a lawsuit, examples may include and are not limited to the plaintiff, defendant, the petitioner, respondent. However, an attorney or witness can not be recognized as a litigant.

Litigation – Any lawsuit or  other resort that must go into court to determine a legal question or matter.  In Personal Injury, often time it is a lawsuit that must go to court in order to reach a settlement.

Litigation Risk – The likelihood of winning a personal injury lawsuit in court usually assessed by an attorney.

>Loss – The monetary value assigned to an injury or damage in a personal injury claim. Often times this includes and is not limited to pain and suffering, past and future income, future medical care, at-home assistance, current medical bills, etc.

Loss of earnings – A situation where the victim had such severe injuries that they had to take time off work, change jobs, or give up work which negatively impacted their income by decreasing it or no income at all, impacting their financial situation.

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M

Malfeasance – Refers to intentionally doing something either illegally or morally wrong which one had no right to do.

Malpractice –Negligence or misconduct by a professional person who has failed to meet a standard of care or standard of conduct. This type of  situation becomes malpractice when a client or patient is injured or damaged because of error or negligence.

Mandate – Command from a court directing the enforcement of a judgment, sentence or decree.

Material witness – Known as a person who has information about the subject matter of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution that can be of extreme significance to essentially  affect the outcome of the case or trial.

Mediation – Known as the attempt to settle a legal dispute through active participation of a third party often known as a mediator to find points of agreement and potentially settle a case.

Medical Malpractice – Negligence by a professional healthcare provider, such as a doctor or hospital, who departs from the applicable standard of care, and by act or omission causes injury to a patient.

Minor -someone under legal age, which in most states is 18 years of age.

Mitigation of damages – Often refers to  the requirement that someone injured by another’s negligence or breach of contract must take reasonable steps to reduce the damages, injury or cost, and to prevent them from getting worse.

Motion – A formal request which involves a judge making a ruling or taking some action; this can result in the judge either denies or grants the request.

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N

Named Insured – Refers to the  individual whose name actually appears on the insurance policy, as opposed to those who may be covered, but are not specifically named on the documents. In car accidents, the passenger may not be in the policy.

Necessary Party – known as the person or entity whose interests will be affected by the outcome of a lawsuit, whose absence  may prevent a judgment on all issues, but who cannot be joined in the lawsuit because that would deny jurisdiction to the particular court.

Negligence –Failure to exercise the care towards others which a reasonable individual would do in the given circumstances. Negligence is considered accidental. The court recognizes these four elements of negligence: a duty owed to a plaintiff, a breach of that duty by the defendant, proximate cause, and an injury or damage suffered by the plaintiff; carelessness.

Negotiation – To arrange or settle by discussion and mutual agreement; in a personal injury case, negations are common. Negotiations take place between the plaintiff (usually the accident attorney, or injured person directly) and the insurance adjuster. Negotiation can take pre trial, however, once it reaches court the judge has final say in the solution offered.

Net- The amount of money or value remaining after all costs, losses, taxes, depreciation of value and other expenses and deductions have been paid and/or subtracted. In other words, the amount that the plaintiff keeps once all their medical bills and other expenses have been paid off.

No-Fault – Common term used in Personal Injury Protection that provides first-party benefits for medical expenses, loss of income, funeral expenses, and any other expenses caused by an accident without the need of being found guilty or not for the accident.

Notary –  A person authorized by the state in which the person resides to administer oaths (swearings to truth of a statement), take acknowledgments, certify documents and to take depositions if the notary is also a court reporter.

Notice- A letter containing information regarding all legal proceedings, of all documents filed, decisions, requests, motions, petitions, and upcoming dates.

Notice to Insurer – Also known as Notice of the Company, which is a notice the plaintiff or attorney sends to the insurance company about an incident they will submit a claim on.

Nullity – something which may be treated as if it did not exist or never happened.

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O

Obligation – Known as the legal duty to pay or do something.

Offer of Proof – an explanation made by an attorney to a judge during trial to show why a question which has been objected to as immaterial or irrelevant will lead to evidence of value to proving the case of the lawyer’s client.

Omnibus Clause – Known as a policy in the automobile insurance which provides coverage no matter who is driving the car.

Opening Statement –Known as the initial statement made by each attorney at the beginning of a trial outlining the facts each intends to establish during the trial.

Out-of-Court Settlement – An agreement reached between the plaintiff and defendant which does not require the approval of a court or judge and is often determined during mediation, or at arbitration.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses – Money spent out of the injured party’s own funds on costs related to their injuries, which may include: travel, medications, assistive devices, etc. Anything one had to pay before they began to receive benefits.

Overrule – Known as the action a judge can take during a trial proceeding to reject an attorney’s objection to a question to a witness or admission of evidence.

Owe – to have a legal duty to pay funds to another.

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P

Paralegal –  A non-lawyer who performs routine tasks requiring some knowledge of the law and procedures and who is employed by a law office or works free-lance as an independent for various lawyers.

Partial Disability – the result of an injury which permanently reduces a person’s ability to function, but still permits some working or other activity.

Parties – Two or more of the participants in a lawsuit or other legal proceeding who has an interest in the outcome.

Passenger – Known as a rider in a motor vehicle that is not the person responsible for driving.

Pecuniary Damages – Referring to the loss of past and future income.

Peremptory Challenge – The right of the plaintiff and the defendant in a jury trial to have a juror dismissed before trial without stating a reason.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – A type of auto insurance coverage mandated by many “no fault” states which requires insurers to provide first-party benefits for medical expenses, loss of income, funeral expenses, and similar expenses without regard to fault.

Plaintiff – Known as the party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint with the clerk of the court against the defendant(s) demanding damages, performance and/or court determination of rights. In a Personal Injury case, this person is most likely the victim that sustained injuries due to the defendants negligence.

Pleading – Generally, any document, statement, or request filed with the court; a formal document in which someone that is part of the legal case makes or responds to allegations, claims, denials, or defenses.

Prayer for Relief – A request issues by the plaintiffs attorney which is  addressed to the court, requesting specific remedies or damages.

Precedent – When a previously decided case(s) is recognized as the basis and authority for determining future cases. If a past case is heard by a high enough court, then their decision becomes the law regarding that situation.

Premise Liability – The legal principles that hold landowners and tenants responsible when someone enters their property and gets hurt due to a dangerous condition; premises liability claims are usually based on negligence. Slip and Fall accidents and assaults often fall into this category should they happen inside another private property.

Proceeding – Any hearing or court appearance related to a legal case.

Product Liability – The accountability of a merchant, business, or manufacturer for bodily injury or property damage because of a defect in their product.

Prognosis – The anticipated chance of recovery from an injury, based upon the symptoms and nature of the particular case which is usually determined by a medical practitioner.

Proximate Cause – An event sufficiently related to an injury recognized to be the cause of that injury.

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Q

Quality of Life – The type of existence a person was living prior to the accident/injury or after the accident/injury.

Question of Fact – Generally happens during a lawsuit when there is an issue of fact in which the truth or falsity must be determined by the “trier of fact” (the jury or the judge in a non-jury trial) in order to reach a decision in the case.

Quid Pro Quo – Latin for “this for that.” Pertains to the exchange of something by both parties to form a contract.

Quotient Verdict – Known as the compensation a plaintiff is awarded due to damages which is set by a jury in a lawsuit in which each juror states in writing his/her opinion of what the amount should be.

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R

Reasonable Care – The level of treatment by a healthcare professional/establishment that would be considered adequate by a fair and sensible person.

Rehabilitation – The process of restoring necessary skills and normal movement for self-sufficiency after an injury, perhaps after an auto accident or slip-and-fall.

Rehabilitation Benefits – Treatments and programs offered by private or employee-based health insurance with the intent of helping an injured person recover from or eliminate the effects of their injury to restore their life back to normal, or as close as possible. See Rehabilitation.

Request – A request or petition; the expression of a desire to some person for something to be granted or done.

  • Request for a physical or mental examination – A request made by a party in a lawsuit to another party in that lawsuit to undergo a physical or mental examination provided that the condition being examined pertains to the case.
  • Request for admission – A request made by a party in a lawsuit to another in that lawsuit to admit to the truthfulness of a fact or the genuineness of a piece of evidence.
  • Request for documents – A request made by a party in a lawsuit to another in that lawsuit to provide specific documents or other physical evidence.

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S

Settlement – Conclusion of a legal matter; negotiated agreement by opposing parties in a civil suit before or after litigation has begun but before the court hears the case, eliminating the need for the judge to resolve the controversy.

Sexual Assault –Any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Can be anything from rape to unwanted touching.

Slip-and-Fall – A personal injury case in which a person slips or trips and is injured on someone else’s property; usually falls under the broader category of premises liability claims. Slip and fall accidents usually occur on property owned or maintained by someone else who is then held legally responsible.

Special Damages – See Damages

Stacking of Coverages – The application of two or more policies’ limits to a single occurrence or claim; commonly applied to auto liability or uninsured/underinsured motorists’ coverage when two or more vehicle policy limits can be stacked to apply to a single accident.

Standard of Care – the level of medical assistance and services at which the average, sensible provider would practice; how similarly qualified practitioners would have managed the patient’s care under similar circumstances. In medical malpractice, the plaintiff must establish the appropriate standard of care and demonstrate that the standard of care has been breached.

Statute of Limitations – A law that determines the period of time that someone has to file legal action, usually beginning when the injury or damage occurs. In Florida, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is four (4) years, with the exception of Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death which is two (2) years. If the personal injury claim is against the city, county, or state government, the limit is three (3) years.

Strict Liability –A legal idea that expands the responsibility of wrongdoing to another party regardless of their direct involvement in the incident. For example, if a car company produces a car with faulty brakes, and those bad brakes lead to an accident, the car company could be deemed accountable for the accident due to strict liability. These cases essentially shift the burden of proof from the plaintiff to the defendant, causing the defendant to prove they are not liable.

Subpoenas – A command, issued by the court, to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony for a case.

Subrogation – A legal right that allows one party to make a payment that is actually owed by another party, and then later collect that money from the party who originally owed it.

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T

Temporary Injunction – Known as a court order prohibiting an action by a party to a lawsuit until there has been a trial or other court action.

Testify – Commonly known in law as the action of giving or announcing oral evidence under oath in answer to questions posed by attorneys either at trial or at a deposition (testimony under oath outside of court), with the opportunity for opposing attorneys to cross-examine the witness in regard to answers given.

Testimony – the oral evidence given under oath by a witness in answer to questions posed by attorneys at trial or at a deposition (questioning under oath outside of court).

Third-Party Beneficiary – Known as the person who is not a party to a contract but has legal rights to enforce the contract or share in proceeds because the contract was made for the third party’s benefit.

Third-Party Claims – Liability claims brought by a person allegedly injured or harmed by the insured.

Title Insurance – Known as a policy issued by an insurance company guaranteeing that the title to a parcel of real property is clear and properly in the name of the title owner and that the owner has the right to deed the property (convey or sell) to another.

Toll – While there are many definitions, in court the most known definition is the act to delay, suspend or hold off the effect of a statute

Tort – Known as “wrong,” in the French language. Legally, this is known as a civil wrong or wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, from which injury occurs to another. Torts include all negligence cases as well as intentional wrongs which result in harm. Personal injury law is the most common type of tort law.

Tort Claims Act – A federal and state act which depending on the circumstances can potentially waive governmental immunity and allows lawsuits by people who claim they have been harmed by torts (wrongful acts), including negligence, by government agencies or their employees.

Tortfeasor – Known as the person who commits a tort (civil wrong), either intentionally or through negligence.

Transcript – the written record of all proceedings, including testimony, in a trial, hearing or deposition.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – A type of injury that occurs when an external force causes brain dysfunction; usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body.

Trial – Known as the examination of facts and law presided over by a judge with authority to hear the matter (jurisdiction).

Trial Court – the court which holds the original trial, as distinguished from a court of appeals.

Trial de Novo – Commonly known as a form of appeal in which the appeals court holds a trial as if no prior trial had been held. A trial de novo is common on appeals from small claims court judgments.

A Trier of Facts –The jury; or in a non-jury trial, the judge that is responsible for  analyzing the evidence in order to make a decision about the case or issue in dispute.

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U

Ultimate Fact – Term commonly used in a trial, which means the  conclusion of fact which is logically deduced from evidence.

Unconstitutional – Term that refers to a statute, governmental conduct, court decision or private contract which violates one or more provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Under the Influence – Commonly used to describe the alcoholic or drugged state in which a person was when the accident occurred. Individuals that were under the influence of alcohol or drugs are commonly found guilty or at fault for the accident.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) – An auto insurance policy provision that extends coverage to include property and bodily damage caused by a motorist without enough insurance coverage. It’s designed to provide the injured party with compensation above what is allotted by the at-fault party’s policy.

Underwrite – In Personal Injury, this term refers to the action to agree to pay an obligation which may arise from an insurance policy.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) – An addition to a standard automobile insurance policy that provides coverage in the event the other driver is both at fault for the accident and is not insured; protects the first-party from having no coverage in the event that someone who is driving without insurance (illegal in Florida) crashes into them.

Unlawful – referring to any action which is in violation of a statute, federal or state constitution, or established legal precedent

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V

Vacate – Action in which a judge to set aside or annul an order or judgment which he/she finds was improper.

Vehicular Manslaughter – the crime of causing the death of a human being due to illegal driving of an automobile, including gross negligence, drunk driving, reckless driving or speeding.

Verdict – A formal decision about the outcome of a case made by a judge or jury.

Vicarious Liability – Often times known as “imputed liability,” which refers to the attachment of responsibility to a person for harm or damages caused by another person in either a negligence lawsuit or criminal prosecution.

Void – referring to a statute, contract, ruling or anything which is null and of no effect.

Voidable – capable of being made void (null).

Voir Dire – Commonly known as jury selection. In a personal injury case the attorneys go through a selection process to choose who sits on the jury in order to ensure that they meet certain criteria.

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W

Waive- to voluntarily give up something, including not enforcing a term of a contract (such as insisting on payment on an exact date), or knowingly giving up a legal right such as a speedy trial, a jury trial or a hearing on extradition (the transfer to another state’s jurisdiction of one accused of a crime in the other state).

Waiver – the intentional and voluntary giving up of something, such as a right, either by an express statement or by conduct (such as not enforcing a right).

Wanton – Describes when an individual is grossly negligent to the extent of being recklessly unconcerned with the safety of people or property.

Weight of Evidence – Known as the strength, value and believability of evidence presented on a factual issue by one side as compared to evidence introduced by the other side.

Wet Reckless – A plea to a charge of reckless driving which was “alcohol related.”

Whiplash – A common neck and/or back injury suffered in automobile accidents (particularly from being hit from the rear) in which the head and/or upper back is snapped back and forth suddenly and violently by the impact.

Willful – Referring to acts which are intentional, conscious and directed toward achieving a purpose.

Witness – Known as the person who testifies under oath in a trial (or a deposition which may be used in a trial if the witness is not available) with first-hand or expert evidence useful in a lawsuit.

Work Product – the writings, notes, memoranda, reports on conversations with the client or witness, research and confidential materials which an attorney has developed while representing a client, particularly in preparation for trial.

Workers’ Compensation – The system by which state-required no-fault benefits are provided by an employer to an employee—or the employee’s family—due to a job-related injury (including death) resulting from an accident or illness which happened at work.

Workers’ Compensation Acts – Refers to state statutes which establish liability of employers for injuries to workers while on the job or illnesses due to the employment, and requiring insurance to protect the workers.

Writ – A written order of a judge requiring specific action by the person or entity to whom the writ is directed.

Wrongful Death – A claim made on behalf of the survivors or beneficiaries of a person who has died as a result of wrongful conduct—either negligent or intentional. Such claims are generally made by those who were financially dependent upon the deceased. Damages could include medical expenses prior to death, loss of earnings of the deceased during their expected natural life, and loss of consortium (deprivation of a marital/sexual partner or familial relationship).

Wrongful Termination – A right of an employee to sue his/her employer for damages (loss of wage and “fringe” benefits, and, if against “public policy,” for punitive damages).

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X

Currently no words are listed for the letter X.

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Y

Your Honor – Known as the proper way to address a judge in court.

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Z

Currently no words are listed for the letter Z.

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