No two personal injury cases are alike, but there are some terms that are so common, any individual involved in a personal injury case is bound to hear them. While your personal injury attorney will certainly guide and assist you throughout this process, answering any questions you might have along the way, it would still be helpful to sharpen up on some of the terms you might encounter as you move forward. Here are some of the basics:
- Plaintiff: This refers to the person or group bringing the lawsuit to court. For example, if you sustained injuries in a car accident and are suing the at-fault driver, you would be the plaintiff.
- Complaint: One of the first steps you will take is filing a complaint with the court, which will kick off the lawsuit. It is considered a formal expression of an injured party’s grievances.
- Defendant: You, the plaintiff, would serve the complaint to the defendant. The defendant is the party that you are alleging is at fault for your injuries. If you were injured in a car accident, the at-fault driver you sue would be known as the defendant.
- Statute of Limitations: This is the time period during which you must file your personal injury lawsuit. Once the time period, or statute of limitations expires, you will no longer be able to bring your case to court and lose your opportunity to receive compensation. Every state has its own statute of limitations, so be sure consult your personal injury attorney to find out what the statute is in your state.
- Negligence: This refers to the failure to act with reasonable care, resulting in damage to a person or property. Your attorney must prove the defendant in your case was not only negligent, but that your injuries were a direct result of that negligence.
- Damages: In a personal injury case, the plaintiff is seeking to recover damages, which is essentially monetary compensation. Damages can be economic (such as medical expenses or lost wages) and non-economic (such as mental and physical suffering).
- Comparative Fault or Contributory Negligence: If you were partially at fault for your injuries, this can reduce or eliminate your right to compensation, depending on state law.
- No-Fault: This is the most commonly applied theory in auto accident personal injury case, requiring that every motor vehicle owner carry a minimum amount of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
Ventura Personal Injury Attorneys
At Haffner Law Group, our Ventura legal team of personal injury attorneys are backed by over 50 years of experience and a 95% trial success rate. If you or someone you love was injured due to another’s negligence, you have a right to pursue fair and just compensation. From your initial consultation to the completion of your case, you can be confident in our commitment to walking you through every step of the process so you will never feel lost or alone.