A written statement of an incident or event documented at the scene of the incident or shortly thereafter by an authority figure such as a police officer, manager, or hospital staff member. An accident report is sometimes also referred to as an Incident Report.
An accident or event resulting from natural causes, without human intervention or assistance; an act which could not have been prevented by reasonable precaution or care, including for example, damage from floods, lightning, earthquake, or storms.
The defendants legal response to the plaintiffs Complaints allegations. It is required to be served or delivered to the Plaintiffs attorney within a certain time period after having been received by the Defendant. Usually, at the same time, the Defendant also requests that Plaintiff provide answers or further information or specific details about the case.
The obligation in legal proceedings to prove one’s claim is accurate and true; whoever has the burden of proof must show their claim to be factual. For example, in a personal injury car accident lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to show a driver was negligent and caused harm to the plaintiff as a result of this negligence.
The liaison between the insured and an insurance company when an insurance claim is filed. The claim adjuster is responsible for investigating and overseeing the claim on behalf of the insurance company, as well as approving medical and rehabilitation treatment plans. The claim adjuster works for the insurance company and will aim to serve the insurance company’s interests rather than those of the insured or the injured.
A standard of law applied in negligence cases in some states to determine responsibility and damages based on the percentage of negligence of every party directly involved in the injury. Thus a plaintiff whose found to have been 40% at fault for the accident can only recover 60% of the awarded damages.
In a negligence case, a prevailing plaintiff will receive compensatory damages to compensate for the results of the injury, including economic losses, lost earnings, property damages, emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc. Compensatory damages are intended to restore the injured to the state they were in before the injury.
In lawsuits where money is being claimed as damages, in lieu of other payment methods, a lawyer may agree to receive and a client may agree to pay a percentage of the case award, to be paid only if the case is won. The fee is contingent upon success; if the client does not prevail, the client owes no legal fees. In most states, it is not only required that a contingency fee agreement be used in accident type cases but also that the contingency fee agreement contain certain specific language and also that the actual fee percentage is established by court.
A doctrine of law which holds that if a person is injured in a car accident due to his/her own negligence (his/her negligence “contributed” to the accident), the injured party is not entitled to collect any damages (money). Under this rule, a badly injured person who was 1% negligent could not win in court against a 99% negligent defendant. The jurisdictions which still employ the Contributory Negligence Rule are Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Out-of-court question and answer session under oath; testimony given under oath, recorded in an authorized place outside of the courtroom and usually documented by a court stenographic or videographer reporter. The questions will be asked by the opposing attorney, with the party’s attorney present and able to object to improper questions; the purpose of a deposition is to have an official, sworn, written account for discovery purposes and to be used at trial if it occurs. In some jurisdictions a deposition is also referred to as an Examination Before Trial (EBT). A deposition can be taken of a party to the lawsuit or of a fact or expert witnesses.
The legal process by which opposing parties obtain evidence from one another; in personal injury cases, discovery typically includes interviews, depositions, interrogatories (written questions), requests for documents and records, requests for plaintiff to receive a medical and/or neuropsychological exam, and requests for admissions.
The act of operating a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances.The act of operating a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances.
Similar to a claims adjuster, the field adjuster does a majority of the outside-the-office work involved for an insurance company in a car accident claim, including: conducting face-to-face meetings with claimants, scene investigators, and/or damage inspectors, holding negotiations with the above parties, and inspecting the cause and outcome of an accident. Claims adjusters may also perform some of these duties , but their responsibility lies more specifically in getting the claim settled.
A danger which a reasonable person should anticipate as the result from his/her actions. Defendants in negligence lawsuits commonly offer foreseeable risk as an affirmative defense; they argue that the injury and accident that arose wasn’t foreseeable to a reasonable person in their situations.
Carelessness which displays reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, and is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people’s rights to safety; for example, a caregiver failing to give food and water to an elderly person for a week.
Dangerous condition that increases the probability of damage or injury, such as a crack in a sidewalk, a spill in the aisle, a work truck operating without proper lighting, or inadequate lighting on steps in front of a business.
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 access to medical information.
Medical opinion usually requested by the defendant/insurance company in a personal injury lawsuit; plaintiff is required by law to submit to this medical exam, performed by a physician approved by and paid by the defense. Sometimes called a Compulsory Medical Examination, as IME’s are viewed as biased rather than “independent”.
In the legal context, actionable injury includes any harm done to a person by the acts or omissions of another person or entity. Injury may include physical hurt as well as damage to reputation or dignity, loss of a legal right or breach of contract.
When a deceased person dies but dies without having left a will, then that person is deemed to have died Intestate and the court will have to appoint/approve a representative to represent the interests of the deceased’s estate in the personal injury case. With intestacy, the law sets forth who and the order of priority of distribution of any estate proceeds.
A letter sent by a personal injury lawyer 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 any settlement or judgment.
A third party pays some or all of the costs/expenses associated with a dispute, or simply provides funding to a party to be used for any purpose whatsoever, in return for a share of the proceeds of the dispute. If the litigation is not successful, the recipient of funding does not have to repay the advance. Litigation funding has two major contexts: consumer legal financing, commonly referred to as pre-settlement funding or plaintiff advances (to an individual), and commercial legal financing, of non-personal injury claims (usually to a business).
The likelihood of winning a personal injury lawsuit in court (rather than settling out of court); all attorneys will assess in determining whether settlement is a good idea, and at what amount, the risk of bringing a case to trial, considering the strength of the parties’ positions and unpredictable factors such as a strict judge, poor witness presentation, a sudden surprise, or death of a witness.
In the personal injury litigation context, the monetary value assigned to an injury or damage, including medical costs, pain and suffering, past and future income, future medical care, at-home assistance, and any harm resulting from the injury.
Is a form of negligence and is applicable When against a professional such as a doctor, lawyer, dentist, podiatrist, engineer etc. (example- a medical malpractice lawsuit is one against a doctor claiming that the doctor and/or hospital failed to treat the patient/Plaintiff in accord with good and accepted medical practice causing injury to the Plaintiff.
In a personal injury case the injury sustained by the injured person is documented by a medical provider (a doctor, nurse, dentist, etc)and this is done in the doctors or hospital report where the Plaintiffs diagnosis or impression of the injury is forth.
In the legal context, anyone under the age, usually, of eighteen (18) years. A Minor cannot sue or be sued in his or her own name and requires that a guardian or representative be appointed by the court to handle the minors interests. Usually its an adult family member who’s appointed guardian. The settlement of a minors case can only be done by the guardian with court approval. The minors settlement proceeds will be placed into a Trust Account for the minors benefit and cannot be withdrawn without court approval or until the minor turns 18 years of age.
The obligation upon a person who sues another for damages, to minimize – or mitigate – those damages, as far as reasonable. This concept rarely applies in personal injury cases, but would include failing to seek medical care promptly.
Failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would use in the circumstances, or taking action which such a reasonable person would not undertake. Negligence doesn’t require intent and differs from “intentional torts” such as assault and battery or trespass, and from many crimes; but the definition of a crime can embrace a negligent act, such as reckless driving.
Negligence due to the violation of a standard of care defined by a public statute, such as high speed driving. That is, negligence will be presumed by the mere fact that one has driven a certain speed on a given road.
Slang term for a form of personal injury protection common in some states; a type of auto insurance coverage that provides benefits for medical expenses, loss of income, funeral expenses, and similar expenses arising from a car accident, without regard to fault or negligence; party does not need to prove who was at fault or negligence in order to receive benefits or damages after an accident.
Funding advanced which the recipient does not have an absolute obligation to repay regardless of outcome; to be repaid only through the attached collateral or in the case of lawsuit funding, the lawsuit proceeds. Litigation funding provided to plaintiffs is non-recourse funding.
An agreement reached between the plaintiff and defendant in a lawsuit to settle and release all claims; an out-of-court settlement will typically be struck between the two parties’ lawyers before a trial takes place. This can be achieved during mediation at arbitration, or famously “on the courthouse steps.
In the personal injury lawsuit context, money spent out of the injured party’s own funds on costs related to their injuries, which may include: travel, medications, assistive devices; anything the injured person has to pay as a result of the injury.
It is an element of the damages that an injured person is entitled to be compensated for. The legal term that refers in the personal injury lawsuit context to physical and emotional stress and loss caused by an injury.
In the legal context, precedent is a principle or rule established in a prior published legal case, which is binding or persuasive in determining the outcome of or reasoning in a subsequent case raising similar issues or facts. Precedent from a higher court in the same jurisdiction and from the U.S. Supreme Court carries the most weight.
In the personal injury context, providing financial assistance to an injured plaintiff while a lawsuit is ongoing; can be used for any purpose and is paid back only if the injured plaintiff prevails. Individuals use pre-settlement funding to avoid “low-ball” settlements offered by better-capitalized defendants and insurance companies.
Usually provided by a physician; the anticipated chance of recovery from and likely course of events after an injury, based upon the symptoms and nature of the particular case; educated prediction of how a person will fare when facing a medical condition, injury, or disease.
Damages intended to “punish” the defendant’s behavior and to prevent the defendant and others from repeating such actions. In the personal injury context, punitive damages are typically awarded when the judge or jury views compensatory damages as an inadequate amount of compensation in light of the defendant’s wanton or reckless acts, or careless disregard of another.
In personal injury claims, the jury or judge may award “special” or “emotional” damages which take into account non-monetary injury and loss, including diminishment of and changes in the quality of life of the person injured. The term is somewhat nebulous and includes virtually all aspects of the existence a person was living prior to the injury and could reasonably expect to continue to enjoy given their age, history, habits, and relationships.
Treatments and programs offered by health insurance to help an injured person recover from or eliminate the effects of an injury; aim to restore the life of the injured to its pre-injury state, or as close as possible.
In the litigation funding context, contracts which allow plaintiffs to draw on funds as they are needed, rather than in one lump sum payment. Taking out smaller amounts of money over time results in less money advanced and lower fees, and encourages responsible spending.
In a personal injury case, liability claims brought by the injured person against or payable by someone other than the person who caused the injury, such as the insurance company for the driver who caused or drove a car involved in an accident. The claim against the third-party insurance company is known as a third-party claim.
From French for “wrong,” a civil wrong or wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, in which injury occurs to another and which gives rise to legal liability. Torts include all negligence cases as well as intentional wrongs such as false imprisonment.
The system by which employers provide state-required no-fault benefits to employees—or employees’ families—suffering from a job-related injury resulting from an accident or illness which happened or developed in the workplace.
A tort involving the death of a human being as the result of a negligent or intentional act of another person. The definition of wrongful death varies from state to state but generally includes assault and battery, traffic accidents, and medical malpractice.
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