Catastrophic Injury: An injury so severe that the injured person is not expected to fully recover. The injured person may require multiple surgeries, long hospital stays, and full – time nursing or assistive care. Some examples of catastrophic injuries include certain types of brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, loss of limb, amputation, and paralysis or paraplegia.
Cause: A lawsuit, litigation, or action. Any question, civil or criminal, litigated or contested before a court of justice.
Cause of Action: Facts that give someone the right to seek a remedy through the court because they establish negligence or other rights under the law sought to be enforced.
Charge to the Jury: The judge’s instructions to the jury concerning the law that applies to the facts of the case.
Civil Lawsuit: A lawsuit in which one does not need to prove criminal liability.
Claimant: The claimant in a personal injury case is the person (or persons) injured as a result of the negligence of one or more other persons. In a wrongful death case, a family member may also be a claimant. If a formal lawsuit is filed, the claimant becomes the plaintiff in the lawsuit and the negligent party becomes the defendant.
Class Action Lawsuit: A large-scale civil proceeding usually brought about in product liability cases on the behalf of multiple clients who have a shared interest in the case.
Collateral Source Rule: The rule that, if an injured party receives compensation for his/her injuries from a source independent of the defendant, the payment may not be deducted from the damages that the defendant must pay. Insurance proceeds and health insurance are the most common examples of a collateral source. The theory behind the rule is that a defendant should not be allowed to benefit from the fact that the injured party may have other sources from which to receive compensation for his/her injuries.
Common Law: The body of law that comes from judicial decisions, rather than from statutes or constitutions.
Comparative Negligence: Comparing the plaintiff’s contributory negligence to the defendant’s negligence. A jury apportions the negligence of all the parties after hearing the facts of the case and the law as instructed by the Judge. Damages may be reduced as a result of the plaintiff’s comparative negligence.
Contributory Negligence: A plaintiff’s own negligence that played a part in causing the plaintiff’s injury.
Compensable Claim: A claim for which a person is entitled to receive compensation.
Compensation: Monetary award transferred from defendant to plaintiff to make up for some wrong, damage or injury caused by the defendant’s actions or inaction.
Comprehensive General Liability: An insurance policy covering a variety of general liability exposures, including Premises and Operations, Completed Operations, Products Liability, and Owners and Contractors Protective.
Comprehensive Personal Liability: This insurance coverage protects individuals and families from liability for nearly all types of accidents caused by them in their personal lives as opposed to their business lives. It is most commonly a part of the protection provided by a homeowner’s policy.
Cross Examination: The process of challenging the information presented by a witness.
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