Glossary of Legal Terms

  1. Negligence: Failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would in similar circumstances, resulting in harm to another person.
  2. Tort: A civil wrong that causes someone else to suffer loss or harm, leading to legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.
  3. Damages: Monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff to compensate for losses suffered as a result of the defendant’s wrongful conduct.
  4. Liability: Legal responsibility for one’s actions or omissions that result in harm to another person.
  5. Plaintiff: The party who initiates a lawsuit seeking damages or other legal remedies from the defendant.
  6. Defendant: The party being sued in a civil case, typically accused of causing harm or injury to the plaintiff.
  7. Statute of Limitations: The time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed after an injury or harm occurs, failing which the right to sue may be lost.
  8. Comparative Negligence: Legal doctrine that allows the plaintiff to recover damages even if they were partially at fault, with the damages reduced proportionately to their degree of fault.
  9. Premises Liability: Legal responsibility of property owners or occupiers for injuries sustained by individuals on their premises due to unsafe conditions.
  10. Product Liability: Legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers for injuries caused by defective or dangerous products.
  11. Intentional Tort: A deliberate act that causes harm to another person, such as assault, battery, or false imprisonment.
  12. Medical Malpractice: Negligent conduct by healthcare professionals that leads to injury or harm to a patient.
  13. Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the negative impact on the relationship between spouses or family members due to the injured party’s inability to provide the same level of companionship, support, or services.
  14. Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages awarded to compensate the plaintiff for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by an injury.
  15. Wrongful Death: A civil action brought by the surviving family members or representatives of a deceased person against the party responsible for the death, seeking compensation for their loss.
  16. Deposition: Testimony given by a witness under oath outside of court, typically recorded and transcribed for later use in the legal proceedings.
  17. Contingency Fee: Legal fee arrangement where the attorney’s payment is contingent upon the successful outcome of the case, usually a percentage of the damages recovered.
  18. Settlement: Resolution of a legal dispute between parties without going to trial, typically involving payment of compensation by the defendant to the plaintiff in exchange for releasing them from further liability.
  19. Burden of Proof: The obligation to present sufficient evidence to support a claim or defense in court, typically resting on the plaintiff in a civil case to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence.
  20. Assumption of Risk: Defense argument asserting that the plaintiff voluntarily exposed themselves to a known risk, relieving the defendant of liability for resulting injuries.

This glossary should provide a good starting point for understanding common legal terms in personal injury law.