If you’re involved in a personal injury lawsuit and want to make the best of a stressful situation, you can give yourself a head start by familiarizing yourself with some basic legal terms. Many professionals – attorneys included – sometimes forget that their clients don’t have the same background and training that they themselves have, and use specialized terminology that can be off-putting. Sometimes even the definitions can sound complicated, but below are some basic legal terms, explained in ordinary language, that will make your discussions with your attorney less confusing and more effective.
19 Ways To Understand How Lawyers Speak
- Contingency Fee: The attorney’s fee, taken as a percentage of the amount awarded in a successful case, rather than an hourly fee.
- Defendant: The corporation, institution, or individual(s) being sued.
- Deposition: Testimony taken under oath, not in the courtroom, but in an attorney’s office as part of the discovery process. The deposition is recorded for later use, as a reminder of what has been previously stated.
- Discovery: The pre-trial phase during which evidence and statements are collected.
- Liability: Financial or legal responsibility for an incident.
- Litigation: The process of using the court system to resolve a dispute.
- Malfeasance: Wrongful, illegal, dishonest, or damaging behavior; often used in reference to public officials or corporations
- Malpractice: A breach in the commonly accepted standards of behavior or treatment by a professional, i.e. doctors, dentists, hospitals, lawyers.
- Mediation: An alternative to litigation which uses a 3rd party to negotiate an agreement between two other parties who are involved in a dispute.
- Negligence: Carelessness or disregard for the safety of others.
- Perjury: Providing information under oath which is incomplete, incorrect, misleading, or a willful misinterpretation of facts.
- Personal injury: Physical damage to a person, or mental or emotional harm caused by a variety of incidents, including motor vehicle accidents, medical errors (malpractice), improperly manufactured products, assault, and falls.
- PIP: Personal Injury Protection, available in some states as a part of car insurance, sometimes called “no-fault” coverage. It covers medical expenses and other damages without regard to fault and without causing an increase in premium costs.
- Plaintiff: The person who initiates a complaint or files a lawsuit.
- Premises: A location indicating property, including stores, houses, or other buildings and the land on which they are situated.
- Punitive damages: Money paid to a plaintiff above and beyond their expenses or damages incurred, as a method of punishment or deterrence.
- Settlement: An agreement between parties involved in a legal dispute.
- Statute of limitations: The maximum amount of time that can pass after an accident before a lawsuit is filed.
- Tort: Wrongdoing which results in another person’s harm or loss.
Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
If you’ve been involved in an accident or due to someone else’s negligence and would like to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney, call the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at (727)451-6900 for a free consultation. Each of our attorneys provides their cell phone number and email address to create accessibility for their clients. If you have heard stories of other law firms, where the attorney is out of the office each day while staff members handle the case, it is a foreign concept at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA.