Personal Injury Attorney: A professional personal injury attorney is dedicated to representing clients who have suffered physical and emotional injuries resulting from the negligence (or intentional actions) of other people and/or corporations. Often times, personal injury attorneys will be hired by a family member of a deceased person who was killed or seriously injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, and other similar tragic occurrences. In most cases, the personal injury attorney only receives payment from the client when the attorney has secured a settlement or jury verdict for the client. This allows even clients of very modest means to hire the very best attorneys for their cases. A good personal injury attorney will be experienced in all phases of case work, and will be able to properly guide the client’s case while it is an insurance claim, and, if necessary, on through the stages of lawsuit, discovery, arbitration, mediation, and/or trial.
Plaintiff: The individual who has suffered injury and is seeking recovery for damages by filing the lawsuit is referred to as the “plaintiff.” Plaintiffs would be family members in the event a death occurred from the injury. If recovery is sought, prior to the lawsuit, by way of an insurance claim, the individual is referred to as a “claimant.”
Reasonable person standard: The standard which a person must adhere to in order to avoid civil liability for negligence is the standard of the theoretical “reasonable man” under all of the circumstances, including the foreseeability of harm to other persons, including the plaintiff.
Settlement: A “settlement” refers to the resolution of a claim or lawsuit, prior to a jury verdict. This simply means that the involved parties have decided to “settle” their dispute at some agreed upon value. This is done entirely at the discretion of the people involved. However, once a settlement agreement is entered into, it becomes binding upon the parties.
Settlement Demand: After your injuries have healed, or your medical provider determines that you have suffered a permanent injury, your personal injury attorney will contact the insurance company and suggest a monetary amount that will fairly compensate you for all of your damages. Typically, this demand will begin the process of negotiations back and forth between your personal injury attorney and the insurance company. If no settlement can be reached through these informal negotiations, the filing of a formal lawsuit will follow.
Statute: A law passed by a legislative body, either an individual state or the federal government.
Statute of Limitations: A statute of limitations is a legal deadline that requires a person who has suffered injuries to file a lawsuit within a certain time after the date of injury or lose forever his or her rights to sue for compensation. Each state has different laws regarding the time within which a person must file a lawsuit depending on the type of claim involved. Therefore, it is extremely important that you immediately contact an attorney familiar with the applicable statute of limitation laws of your state.
Subpoena Duces Tecum: A command ordering a witness or party to appear at a certain place and to bring specified documents or records, usually in conjunction with sworn testimony.
Subrogation: In the context of a personal injury case, the principle that an insurer (typically health insurance or self-insured employer) who pays for medical treatment is entitled to reimbursement of the some or all of the amount it has paid on behalf of the injured plaintiff from the plaintiff’s personal injury settlement. State and federal laws vary tremendously regarding subrogation and reimbursement rights, making it essential that you hire a qualified personal injury attorney in order to maximize your recovery.
Survival Action: A cause of action, often associated with a wrongful death claim, that allows the beneficiaries or heirs of the deceased person’s estate to recover for the deceased person’s pecuniary damages and conscious pain and suffering. Any damages recovered in the survival action are distributed to beneficiaries according to deceased’s will, or to the deceased’s heirs by the laws of intestate succession if there is no will.
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