For so many people, the law seems very complicated. And it is true that there are many subtleties and complexities that make understanding certain aspects of our field challenging. However, so much of what people find intimidating about the law is simply the terminology.
The law doesn’t have to be as confusing as it seems. For those of you who want to dig a little deeper into the language used in personal injury cases, we are providing a personal injury glossary to help de-mystify the process.
10 Commonly Used Personal Injury Terms
Catastrophic Injuries – An injury that causes serious, often lifelong harm to a person. This term generally includes spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, but can also refer to injuries such as severe burns.
Damages – Damages include the many consequences people suffer from their injury. Damages can include financial ramifications of an accident, including medical bills or property damage, but can also include pain, suffering and the injury itself.
Defendant – The defendant is the party charged with responsibility for the injuries of another person. They are the ones being pursued for damages in the personal injury claim.
Negligence – Negligence is a term describing fault or error. For example, if a drunk driver causes an accident, they were negligent in their driving. Negligence can also mean that a person failed to do something. For example, if you were injured on someone else’s property because they failed to maintain that property, then that person can be found negligent (see also premises liability).
Personal Injury – Personal injury is a type of case in which a person who suffers an injury because of someone else’s error – or negligence – and pursues legal action to recover payment for their losses. Personal injury can include a wide variety of accidents that cause injuries, such as falling on someone else’s property or being struck by a drunk driver.
Plaintiff – The plaintiff is the party pursuing the personal injury claim or, in other words, the injured person. The plaintiff is the person who files a claim against the defendant for damages.
Premises Liability – Liability means responsibility. In premises liability cases, a person is held responsible for their own property, and therefore, they are held responsible if the condition of that property causes another person harm.
Product Liability – Product liability means that a person is responsible for an item used by another person, and can also be found responsible if that product causes another person’s injuries. Defective products can cause consumers a number of serious injuries, or even death
Statute of Limitations – The statute of limitations is the amount of time that a person has to file a personal injury claim against someone else. In New York, the statute of limitations is three years, meaning that an injured person has three years to pursue a claim against another person.
Wrongful Death – Wrongful death actually refers to a different type of claim, though the principle is similar to personal injury claims. When someone’s negligence causes the death of another person, the negligent party can be held financially responsible for the damages suffered by the survivors of the deceased. The statute of limitations on wrongful death claims in New York is two years.
If you have questions about a personal injury, or if you have suffered an injury due the negligence of another person, contact Kaplan Lawyers PC to learn more.