Abstract of Title
Concise statement prepared for buyer or mortgagee of property, providing the history of a piece of land. This includes information about all title deeds, conveyances, interests, liens, and encumbrances that may affect title to said property.
Person who looks into workplace/other accidents, especially those where a worker/person was hurt or any close calls in which that person might have been injured if the circumstances had been slightly different with a prescribed investigation procedure for finding the root causes and implementing corrective actions.
For a motor vehicle accident, an accident report is a form used to report death, injury, or major property damage resulting from an accident. It includes how the accident happened, parties, witnesses, sequence of events, and primary and secondary causes.
In a hospital, an accident or incident report refers to a form used by authorities to record any unusual occurrence. If a person who met with an accident is admitted to a hospital, an incident report is created by the hospital authorities.
Act of God
Unpreventable event caused by forces of nature, mainly natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes.
Law has broadened the definition to include natural phenomena that are unavoidable and exceptional, the effects of which could not have been prevented exercising due care or foresight.
Actual Cash Value
Monetary worth or price of a good or service, the amount of value something commands for its exchange.
In insurance, the actual cash value is equal to the cost of replacement minus normal depreciation.
For the purposes of the suit, pending the suit
To rule on a subject judicially.
To ascertain the rights, duties and/or obligations of a party in a judicial proceeding
To deem or pronounce to be, based on the facts and arguments of a case
To make an award judicially
An individual appointed to settle a matter. In an insurance case, an adjuster is an independent agent or employee of an insurance company who investigates any claims of loss. He then negotiates and settles the claim against the insurer.
Admissibility of Evidence
Evidence that is relevant and is of such a character (not unfairly prejudicial, based on hearsay, or privileged) that the court should receive it.
Admission of Liability
A statement in which a party/someone admits that a statement is true or that s/he has done something wrong, especially any statement or assertion made by a party to a case and offered against that party. It is an acknowledgment that the facts stated are true.
It is not the same as a confession, which is a direct acknowledgment of guilt on the part of the accused in a criminal case.
A voluntary declaration of facts written down and sworn to by the one declaring such facts, usually before an officer who has the authority to administer oaths.
A lot of evidence in civil cases is submitted by affidavit
These are inflatable cushions built into a car or other motor vehicle that will open up when the vehicle collides with another object, to protect occupants of the car from injury.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Any process for settling a dispute other than litigation, including arbitration, conciliation, mediation, or negotiation.
ADR offers parties a way to settle a case outside the legal system and avoid the hassles of litigation. Alternative processes such as negotiation are very commonly used to resolve disputes.
Animals and Car Accidents
Accidents can occur if a wild or domesticated animal enters the path of a car, resulting in a collision. There are an estimated one to two million collisions between cars and large animals every year in the United States.
This is dangerous to human safety and also endangers wildlife.
This can mean different things in a case. An answer is the first pleading of a defendant that addresses the merits of a case, usually by denying the allegations and claims put forth by a plaintiff, and setting forth the defenses and counterclaims of the defendant.
An answer is also a person’s response to a question posed in court, especially in the case of a witness.
A proceeding where a party approaches a higher court or authority to have a decision of a lower court or agency reconsidered, reviewed and/or reversed.
This can apply to both cases in court, a tribunal or any other external platform.
An alternate dispute resolution mechanism in which parties to a dispute nominate one or more neutral third parties to make a final decision to resolve the dispute that is binding on all parties. This third party may be selected directly by mutual agreement or indirectly by agreeing to approach an arbitration center to pick a third party.
This is a process that offers an alternative way to resolve a dispute outside of a litigation process.
Assignment of Benefits
The transfer of rights or property from one person to another, through an instrument of transfer. The term applies to the process, the rights or property transferred and the instrument of transfer.
In an insurance context, it is when the insured allows an insurer to pay the claim directly to a third party.
Assumption of Risk
When a person voluntarily undertakes the risk of loss, injury, or damage, s/he is said to assume risk.
Assumption of risk means that a prospective plaintiff, in advance, has given his express consent to relieve a prospective defendant of any obligation of conduct toward him, and to take his chances of injury from a known risk arising from what the defendant is to do or not do.
The underlying principle is that anyone who undertakes the risk of loss, injury, or damage cannot maintain an action against a party that causes the loss, injury, or damage
At Fault States in Car Accidents
An at-fault or a tort state in a car accident puts all the blame and financial responsibility of a party on the accident.
The person who has directly or indirectly caused the loss is the one responsible for the accident. Police officers are usually the ones who determine which of the parties of an accident is at fault, after reviewing the facts of the case, the sequence of events and determining the cause of the accident.
In an at-fault state, drivers have a type of auto insurance called liability insurance, which covers the losses other drivers suffer because of the actions or inactions of the first driver. It does not cover one’s own losses.
A legal privilege that operates between an attorney and his/her client, which ensures that confidential communications between the two are kept secret.
It is a privilege which can be asserted even if a legal demand is made for discovery, or for the lawyer to testify under oath, or otherwise reveal the content of the confidential communications.
ATVs, Golf Carts and RV Accidents
All terrain vehicles (ATVs), golf carts, and recreational vehicles (RVs) can also collide with people and cause accidents.
According to the ATV Annual Report, there are about 650 deaths and 100,000 injuries every year involving ATVs. Five states accounted for 25 percent of all reported ATV-related deaths in the U.S. for the years 1982 through 2012 – Texas, California, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
Similarly, golf carts have also caused many accidents in the recent past. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that in the last two years, golf cart accidents led to an estimated 35,000 trips to the emergency room.
While non-automobile vehicles like ATVs and golf carts are viewed as harmless or safe by parents and communities, there are still thousands of cases involving these vehicles.
A recreational vehicle or RV is a van that can be lived in, especially used by people on vacation. However, they run the same accident risks as automobiles if drivers are not careful.
Automobile Liability Insurance
It is an agreement to financially protect a driver against different kinds of losses caused during the use of an automobile, including damaging the vehicle or causing personal injury during an accident.
Automobile liability insurance only covers injuries or damages to a third party and their property, not to the driver or their property.
Automobile liability insurance covers both bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
A dangerous or defective drug. A drug recall is generally the best way to protect the public from such a drug.
A bad drug may cause effects unintended from its use, such as cause cancer or other deadly diseases.
Recalling a bad drug from the market is the best way to protect the public from it.
A claim made with dishonest belief, purpose, or motive; one made by evading the spirit of an agreement, willfully performing badly or without due diligence, or abusing the power held over the opposite party.
In an insurance context, a bad-faith claim is an insured’s claim against an insurance company for an unreasonable and unfounded refusal to provide coverage, where the company violates its duty of good faith to the insured party.
Bed sores are areas of damaged skin caused due to pressure when a person stays in one position for too long. They form at points where bones are close to the skin, such as the ankles, back, elbows, heels, and hips.
Individuals are especially at risk for bed sores if they are bedridden, use a wheelchair, or cannot change their position. If left untreated, they can cause serious infections, even resulting in sepsis.
Bed sores are a persistent problem for elderly in nursing homes.
In layman’s terms, a benefit is the advantage or privilege given by something to someone.
It is the financial assistance given by an employer, insurance, or a public program such as social security to an individual when they are sick, have a disability, or are unemployed.
This is any physical damage that takes place to a person’s body.
In the context of negligence, bodily injury is the harm caused to a person, especially due to the carelessness of another, such as broken bones, bruises, or cuts.
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance
Liability insurance that covers bodily harm or injury to the third party.
Liability car insurances may cover two situations: injury to people and property damage. People are covered under bodily injury liability coverage. Car insurance companies allow buyers to set different limits for both types of coverage.
Burden of Proof
It is the duty to prove the disputed facts in a case.
In a civil case, the burden of proof generally lies on the plaintiff, while in a criminal case, it lies on the state or government to prove the defendant’s guilt.
Car Accident Lawyer
A lawyer whose chief area of practice is motor vehicle accidents, including car collisions. Such a lawyer will assist a client to get just compensation from the liable party.
A car accident, also called a motor vehicle accident, happens when a car hits or collides with another vehicle, a stationary object, a pedestrian, or an animal. While some car accidents may only result in property damage, others may result in serious injury or even death.
The causing or producing of an effect, the particular factual circumstance that resulted in the production of an effect.
For a negligence case, a plaintiff must prove causation from the actions of the defendant.
A driver is said to have changed lanes, if s/he drove/steered from one lane to another when both lanes are in the same direction of travel.
Lane changes can be either planned or unexpected. If a motorist changes lanes in an unsafe manner, without indicating that s/he are doing so, it might result in an accident.
Children In The Vehicle
Leaving children in a vehicle, especially in a hot car, might result in serious dehydration or even death.
For example, throughout 2018, 53 children died when left in hot vehicles. Upwards of 800 children have died from heatstroke in a vehicle since 1998. 24% of these deaths happened in employer parking lots when a parent was at work.
There are three situations where a child may be left in a vehicle:
- Forgotten by parent
- Child enters vehicle
- A person knowingly leaves the child inside the vehicle
It is evidence that is based on inference from the circumstances surrounding the case, instead of that based on direct observation, personal knowledge, or eyewitness testimony.
It is indirect evidence about a principal fact by establishing certain circumstances which lead to a probable inference about that fact.
Civil Court Case
A case which relates to private rights and remedies that are sought by action or suit.
It is distinct from criminal proceedings, which are against parties that offend the community or the government.
The rights of personal liberty guaranteed to an individual by the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments, as well as by legislation such as the Voting Rights Act.
Civil rights include the right to vote, the right of due process, the right of equal protection under the law and the right against discrimination.
The Civil Rights Act refers to one of several federal statutes enacted after the Civil War and after the American Civil Rights movement, to implement and enforce remedies against violation of the basic rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, especially prohibiting discrimination in employment and education on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, or age.
A legal claim is the assertion of a right to a certain course of action or remedy against the violation of a right. For example, a claim can be the assertion by a creditor of a right to payment from a debtor or his property.
Class Action Lawsuit
A lawsuit in which one or more members of a large group, known as a class, of similarly situated individuals or parties sue on behalf of the entire class. The court must find that the claims of all class members contain common questions of law or fact for the lawsuit to proceed as a class action suit.
Class actions are especially common under tort law, to redress wrongs done by corporations or profit-making bodies against many members of the public.
It differs from a traditional civil lawsuit where one party sues another party for the redressal of a civil wrong, and all parties to the suit are present in the court. In a class action lawsuit, the class representatives are permitted to be the only parties in court.
Collateral Source Rule
A legal rule that states that if an injured party receives compensation for their injuries from any source that is independent of the person who committed the civil wrong/tort that resulted in the injuries, such compensation should not be deducted from the damages owed by the tortfeasor.
Proceeds from insurance are the most common collateral source.
Any contact between two or more moving vehicles, objects, or shipping vessels.
Any contact between a moving vehicle, object, or vessel with a stationary object
It may or may not result in injuries to the people involved, or physical damage to the objects involved
Commercial Vehicles In An Accident
A commercial vehicle is a motor vehicle which is used to transport passengers or property.
It is generally heavier than 10,001 pounds, used to transport many passengers, whether for compensation or not; or is used to transport material.
Such vehicles include:
- Moving vans
- Garbage trucks
- Dump trucks
They may cause serious damage, including severe injury and even death, if they are involved in an accident
A plaintiff’s own fault or negligence that will reduce the damages recoverable from a defendant, proportionally to the negligence.
If the plaintiff in a case has also contributed to any damage, his/her recovery is not completely barred. Under the comparative negligence doctrine, the plaintiff’s recovery is proportionally reduced according to the plaintiff’s degree of fault in causing the damage, especially if the plaintiff is responsible for less than 50% of the damage.
An injury caused by an accident to an employee during the course of his ordinary employment and duties, for which the employee is legally entitled to receive compensation, usually from the employer.
Money or benefits received in return for services rendered, such as salary or wages.
Payment for work completed.
It may include:
- Stock option plans
- Medical benefits
In a legal context, it is the payment of damages or other act ordered by a court to be done by one party who has caused injury to another.
These are damages, usually awarded by a court, that are sufficient in amount to make good the losses suffered by a party injured due to the actions of another.
It is an amount awarded to a plaintiff/complainant to compensate for injury or loss that has been proved.
A written statement in which a plaintiff details his claims against the defendant, which marks the beginning of a civil lawsuit.
Compulsory Medical Examination
This is a medical or psychiatric evaluation, required by statute or by company rules, to determine the current status of an employee’s medical condition or health or to determine whether the condition or injury is related to employment, or the result of any incident occurring during the course of employment.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow or bump to the head, or by a blow to the body, the force of which radiates to the head and brain and causes rapid movement.
This sudden movement can cause injury to brain cells and affect brain function. Temporary effects may include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.
The act of seeking the advice or opinion of someone, such as a lawyer, for advice about a dispute, claim, legal procedure, or pending litigation. You may also consult an expert about a specialized subject.
It can also be a meeting in which two or more parties confer.
Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer
A consultation with a lawyer who is specialized in personal injury law.
Such a lawyer may be an expert in areas like:
- Assault claims
- Environmental claims
- Product liability
- Medical negligence
- Industrial negligence
- Workplace accidents
It is when a plaintiff’s own negligence plays a part in causing the plaintiff’s injury.
In certain cases or jurisdictions it is significant enough to bar the plaintiff from recovering damages. It can thus also be used as a legal defense.
This refers to money awarded by a court to a plaintiff in a civil case, to be paid by the defendant. Damages may be compensatory, to make up for a loss or injury, or punitive, to punish a wrongdoer and deter future misconduct.
Thus, it is a sum of money adjudged to be paid by one party to another as compensation for a loss, injury, or violation of rights committed by another.
A judgement that makes a pronouncement about someone’s rights. For example, a declaratory judgement may rule that a particular statute violates a constitutional right.
In an insurance context, it is the portion of the amount paid/loss to be borne by the insured before the insured has to make payment. Different insurance policies or plans have different deductibles.
The party in a legal dispute against whom a lawsuit is filed. In a civil case, a defendant is the individual or organization against whom the plaintiff files a suit. In a criminal case, it is the person accused of a crime.
Defense in a Personal Injury Case
A defense is a reason put forth by a defendant as to why the plaintiff has no valid case.
It may be an answer, denial or plea.
It is what is alleged by a defendant in a lawsuit as the reason the plaintiff should not recover compensation or avail of any other legal remedy that he seeks through his complaint or petition.
Common defenses in personal injury cases, or cases where a plaintiff alleges injury to his body or mind, include the following.
- Comparative Negligence
A defendant can allege that a plaintiff’s own fault or negligence has contributed to the negligence, allowing a proportional reduction to the damages recoverable by the plaintiff.
This is permissible in cases where the plaintiff is responsible for less than 50% of the damage.
- Contributory Negligence
It is when a plaintiff’s own negligence plays a part in causing the plaintiff’s injury. In certain cases or jurisdictions it is significant enough to bar the plaintiff from recovering damages. Thus, it can effectively be used as a legal defense.
- Assumption of Risk
Assumption of risk means that a prospective plaintiff, in advance, has given his express consent to relieve a prospective defendant of any obligation of conduct toward him, and to take his chances of injury from a known risk arising from what the defendant is to do or not do.
A defendant can allege that a plaintiff has given such express consent and absolve himself of guilt.
- Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law that operates to bar any claims after a specified period, preventing a plaintiff from suing in a civil court after a specific time period has passed from when the injury occurred. A defendant can argue that a claim is debarred due to the statute of limitations.
- No Duty of Due Care was Owed
For a negligence claim to succeed, a plaintiff must establish that the negligent party owed him a duty of care and that duty was not fulfilled. A defendant may claim that no such duty existed, therefore s/he is not liable.
A letter in which one party to a dispute explains its claims or legal position and asks that the party receiving the letter act or refrain from acting, or else risk being sued. Under some laws, a demand letter is a prerequisite before a lawsuit is filed.
Determining the presence of a medical condition by physical examination or studying symptoms and the result of such an examination or study. A diagnosis may be a clinical diagnosis, from a study of symptoms only, or a physical diagnosis, from a physical examination only.
Diagnosis in an Injury Claim
A diagnosis is when the presence of a medical condition is determined by physical examination or studying symptoms. Under law, an injury is the violation of the legal right of another. Personal injury may include injury to the body as well as injury to the mind. A diagnosis from a medical expert becomes even more important in an injury claim, especially in a personal injury claim. The diagnosis can help establish that the injury was the result, directly or indirectly, of the negligent or careless actions of another.
The questioning of a witness in a trial or other legal proceeding, done by the party who called the witness to testify. It is also called examination-in-chief. The purpose of a direct examination is to help establish the case for the plaintiff.
Payments received by a disabled person who cannot work, such as social security or workers compensation. This may be through private or public funds.
A disabling condition is a physical or mental impairment that interferes with day-to-day work and limits major life activities.
Disability Evaluation Under Social Security
To qualify for benefits under social security, a person with a disability must meet certain medical criteria which apply to the evaluation of different impairments.
There are different criteria for each of the following impairments:
- Musculoskeletal system
- Special senses and speeches
- Respiratory disorders
- Cardiovascular system
- Digestive system
- Genitourinary disorders
- Hematological disorders
- Skin disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Congenital disorders that affect multiple body systems
- Neurological disorders
- Mental disorders
- Immune system disorders
The process of making known facts that were previously unknown, revealing facts or conflicts. Also the compulsory provision of information to an opponent in a litigation, in accordance with rules of procedure. Disclosures may relate to witnesses, documents, evidence, or agreements. A lawyer may also disclose if he has a conflict of interest.
Any and all processes used to obtain disclosures of evidence before a court proceeding commences.
The termination of a lawsuit or legal action without further hearing, especially before a trial, or a judge’s decision to stop a court case by means of an order or judgment that imposes no liability on the defendant in that case.
A dismissal may also be a release or discharge from employment.
Disregarding lawfully issued police orders or directions can lead to legal liability.
According to Illinois laws:
“No person shall wilfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer, fireman, person authorized by a local authority to direct traffic, or school crossing guard invested by law with authority to direct, control, or regulate traffic. Any person convicted of violating this Section is guilty of a petty offense and shall be subject to a mandatory fine of $150.”
Disregarding Stop Signs
Disregarding a stop sign might lead to penalties under the law.
According to Illinois laws:
- Preferential right-of-way at an intersection may be indicated by stop signs or yield signs.
- Except when directed to proceed by a police officer or traffic control signal, every driver of a vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop before entering the crosswalk or clearly marked stop line.
- The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign if required for safety to stop shall stop before entering the crosswalk or at a clearly marked stop line.
A driver is said to be distracted when any activity occurs that takes his attention away from driving, which may lead to unsafe driving.
This may include:
- Talking on the phone
- Texting on the phone
- Talking to people in the vehicle
- Changing radio station
- Looking at navigation systems or GPS
Any non-driving activity while driving is a potential distraction and increases chances of accidents.
Drinking But Not Impaired
A person can be said to be drinking but not impaired, if they have consumed alcohol, but not enough that their blood alcohol is over the legal limit (i.e. they cannot be arrested for drunk driving).
Since alcohol reduces brain function, impairs thinking, and hinders muscle coordination, it is recommended to not drive after consuming even a small bit of alcohol. It is illegal in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to drive with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of .08 or higher, but crashes can occur even at lower levels of alcohol consumption. In 2018, 1,878 people were killed in crashes where drivers had levels of alcohol below the legal limit.
An individual who steers and propels a vehicle, including both personal or commercial motor vehicles.
Drivers in a Car Accident Claim
A driver in a car accident may be subject to a claim against their liability insurance. The driver’s insurer will process the claim, but might choose to investigate if their customer was at fault.
A driver may have to use their own insurance even if the other driver is at fault. For example, in no-fault states, a driver always makes injury claims on their own insurance first.
Driving Without a License
A license is a certificate or document issued by the government that permits a person to drive a motor vehicle. It is an official document that proves that its owner is legally allowed to drive. Driving without a license can open you up to civil liability.
DUI, or driving under the influence, is the offense of operating a motor vehicle in a physically or mentally impaired condition, usually after alcohol or drug consumption. Generally, DUIs are less serious offenses than driving while intoxicated. But in a few legal jurisdictions, both offenses might be synonymous.
A legal obligation owed by one party to another that needs to be fulfilled, which s/he is bound to do. A duty for one party indicates a corresponding right for another party.
A duty may also be a tax imposed on a commodity or transaction, such as on imports. Such a duty is imposed on objects, and is not related to people. Additionally, service in the military is also called duty.
The eggshell plaintiff rule states that a defendant is liable for unforeseeable or unusual reactions from a plaintiff to a negligent act by the defendant.
For example, a person may negligently scratch another person who turns out to have hemophilia (a rare blood disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot normally). The defendant is still liable for all injury to the plaintiff, even though, in another case, the injury would have been negligible.
A highly unpleasant mental/nonphysical reaction caused by another person’s actions or conduct. It may include: grief, hurt, fear, humiliation, anger, pain, or suffering. In short, emotional pain and suffering.
If it is severe enough, emotional distress can lead to recovery of damages in tort.
A bar that prevents one party from asserting a claim or right that contradicts what they have said or done before. It is also a bar that prevents any relitigation of the same issues.
Estoppel also serves as a defense. A party may allege that s/he acted in good faith by relying on a misrepresentation, which resulted in an injury or loss. The party making the representation is estopped from disclaiming liability.
Anything that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact. Evidence may be in the form of testimony, documents, or physical objects.
Thus, anything that can prove the existence or nonexistence of fact and is presented in a court or a tribunal during a dispute to perform that function is evidence.
Expert Testimony/Expert Witness
A witness who offers evidence about a scientific, technical, professional, or other specialized issue. Such a witness is qualified to testify because of knowledge, training, education, or familiarity with the subject.
An error or defect in conduct, a deviation from duty or common sense due to inattention, incapacity, bad faith, or poor management.
In tort law, a fault is a breach of duty that forms part of the tort of negligence. In civil law, it is the failure to follow a standard of conduct, and that results in injury to another person.
First Party Insurance Benefits
First party insurance generally offers five types of coverage:
- Medical Payments:
This covers any medical costs due to an accident involving the vehicle covered and can also cover passengers.
This covers any and all property damage to a vehicle covered by it, which are not related to an accident.
This covers property damage related to an accident.
- Uninsured Motorist:
This covers personal injury and property damage to an insured, from an accident in which the party at fault has no insurance.
- Underinsured Motorist:
This covers personal injury and property damage to an insured from an accident in which the party at fault had a liability limit that was below that of the insured
There are benefits to obtaining first-party insurance, as it may cover a wide variety of scenarios.
It is a misrepresentation of truth or willful omission of fact done to make another party act in a manner which is of benefit to the fraudster, or at least of detriment to the party. Fraud is generally a tort, but in some cases, when the conduct is willful, it can also be a crime.
Fraud can also be unconscionable dealing, especially in contract law, where the unfair use of one party’s power over another might result in an unconscionable bargain.
The complete lack of diligence or care. It is the omission of even the level of care that an ordinarily careless person might exercise to avoid injury to themselves, their property or others. Thus, it is said that the difference between gross negligence and ordinary negligence is one of degree and not of quality.
The party affected by such gross negligence may be entitled to recover exemplary damages.
A hazardous substance is one that is a source of potential harm from past, current, or future exposures. Exposure to such a substance, whether it be short-term or long-term, may cause serious injury or even death.
Exposure may be through touching, breathing, swallowing, or contact with eyes or other body parts.
Testimony that is given by a witness who does not relate to what s/he knows personally, but is based on what others have said.
Hearsay is generally inadmissible under the rules of evidence.
Hit and Run
A motor vehicle accident, in which drivers involved in the accident, generally those at fault, leave the scene before law enforcement authorities arrive.
Illinois Driver’s License Point System
Illinois follows a point system for suspension or revocation of driver’s licenses.
Points assigned via this system will result in suspension or revocation of driver’s license and/or privileges when three or more offenses are committed within any 12-month period. The action is determined by the severity of the violations and the driver’s past record.
Similarly, if the driver is under the age of 21, two or more offenses within a 24-month period might result in suspension or revocation.
Different types of offenses have a different number of points. For example, texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle is assigned 20 points, while reckless driving is assigned 55 points.
A duty undertaken by one party to make good the loss or liability incurred by another party. Under indemnity, an injured party has the right to claim reimbursement for loss or damage from the person who has such duty, under law or agreement.
It is a contract by which one party (the insurer) undertakes to indemnify another party (the insured) against risk of loss, liability, or damage arising due to a specific set of circumstances, such as a car accident or a fire. The insured usually pays a premium to the insurer in exchange for the assumption of the insured’s risk by the insurer.
These provisions are commonly found in insurance policies, although they can be part of any contract.
Insurance also refers to the amount for which someone/something is covered by such an agreement.
Someone who is covered or protected by an insurance policy. The primary insured party is the individual or entity whose name appears first in the declarations of an insurance policy.
Someone who agrees to assume the risk of another’s loss and to compensate for such loss, by means of a contract.
Under civil law, interrogatories are lists of questions sent by one party to another as a part of the process of discovery (seeking disclosures of evidence). The recipient of an interrogatory must answer these questions under oath.
The number of questions that can be included in an interrogatory is limited by court rule or law. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, an interrogatory may only contain 25 questions.
A court’s power to decide a case or issue a decree. It is also the geographic area within which a court can exercise judicial authority, or a government can exercise political power.
A group of persons selected according to law and given the power to decide questions of fact and return a verdict in the case submitted to them. In certain contexts, ‘jury’ embraces any fact-trier, including an arbitrator or a trial judge sitting in a non jury proceeding. Also known as empaneled jury or impaneled jury.
A lawful or sufficient reason for one’s acts or omissions; any fact that prevents an act from being wrongful.
It is also a showing, in court, of a sufficient reason why a defendant acted in a way that, in the absence of the reason, would constitute the offense with which the defendant is charged.
If the defendant’s belief that his action was necessary is mistaken, the defense is not available when the mistaken belief is the result of the defendant’s negligence or recklessness. The required mental state of the offense charged is also negligence or recklessness.
Larceny in a Civil Case
The unlawful taking and carrying away of someone else’s tangible personal property with the intent to deprive the possessor of it permanently.
Larceny is thus the infringement of a person’s right to possession.
Any proceeding by a party or parties against another in a court of law.
Someone who is licensed to practice law. Such a person is qualified to advise people about legal matters, draft contracts and other legal instruments, and represent people in court.
The violation of another’s legal right, for which the law provides a remedy; a wrong or injustice.
The quality, state, or condition of being legally obligated or accountable; legal responsibility to another or to society, enforceable by civil remedy or criminal punishment.
A legal right or interest that a creditor has in another’s property, usually lasting until a debt or duty that it secures is satisfied.
The process of carrying on a lawsuit.
A long-term disability is a physical or mental impairment that interferes with day-to-day working and limits major life activities over a long period of time. Some estimates state that the average employee with a long-term disability or illness misses 2.5 years of work.
An undesirable outcome of a risk; the disappearance or diminution of value, usually in an unexpected or relatively unpredictable way.
The amount of financial detriment caused by an insured person’s death or an insured property’s damage, for which the insurer becomes liable. The failure to maintain possession of a thing.
Loss of Consortium
A loss of the benefits that one spouse is entitled to receive from the other, including companionship, cooperation, aid, affection, and sexual relations.
Loss of consortium can be recoverable as damages from a tortfeasor in a personal-injury or wrongful-death action.
Damages to compensate for past lost earnings or lost earning capacity calculated from the time of injury to trial.
A doctor’s failure to exercise the degree of care and skill that a physician or surgeon of the same medical specialty would use under similar circumstances.
Medical Malpractice Caps
A cap put on the amount that can be awarded in a medical malpractice suit.
Doctor groups and insurance companies have been advocating for a medical malpractice cap of $250,000.
A fact or situation that does not justify or excuse a wrongful act or offense but that reduces the degree of culpability and thus may reduce the damages (in a civil case) or the punishment (in a criminal case).
A fact or situation that does not bear on the question of a defendant’s guilt but may bear on a court possibly lessening the severity of its judgment.
An unusual or unpredictable event that prevents performance of a contract or duty, such as a strike.
May also be referred to as extenuating circumstances.
A reduction in how harmful, unpleasant, or seriously bad a situation is; a lessening in severity or intensity.
The portrayal of a crime, mistake, or misjudgment as being less than complete, as by pointing to other contributory causes or to the person’s own background of adversity as a factor.
Modified Comparative Negligence
This doctrine states that liability for negligence is apportioned in accordance with the percentage of fault that the fact-finder assigns to each party, that the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by the percentage of negligence assigned to the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff’s recovery is barred if the plaintiff’s percentage of fault is 50% or more. It is also called the 50-percent rule.
Motions in a Civil Case
A written or oral application requesting a court to make a specified ruling or order.
An accident in which a motorcycle (an automotive vehicle with two wheels) collides with another vehicle or with a person, animal, or object, causing damage or injury.
The failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation; any conduct that falls below the legal standard established to protect others against unreasonable risk of harm, except for conduct that is intentionally, wantonly, or willfully disregardful of others’ rights; the doing of what a reasonable and prudent person would not do under the particular circumstances, or the failure to do what such a person would do under the circumstances.
The elements necessary to recover damages for negligence are (1) the existence of a duty on the part of the defendant to protect the plaintiff from the injury complained of, and (2) an injury to the plaintiff from the defendant’s failure.
Negligence Per Se
Negligence due to the violation of a law meant to protect the public, such as a speed limit or building code. Unlike ordinary negligence, a plaintiff alleging negligence per se need not prove that a reasonable person should have acted differently – the conduct is automatically considered negligent, and the focus of the suit will be over whether it proximately caused damage to the plaintiff or not.
No Fault States in Car Accidents
A state with no-fault auto insurance requires that every driver in a car accident files a claim with their own insurance company after an accident, even if the opposite party was at fault. In such states, drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their insurance policies. In a no-fault state, drivers may only sue if the injury, pain, and/or suffering reaches a certain threshold. Twelve states and Puerto Rico have no-fault auto insurance laws.
No-Contact Car Accident
Car accident where there is no physical contact between two or more cars. In such a case, damage may arise from a secondary cause not associated with collisions, such as swerving into a physical object, engaging in an illegal lane change, etc.
A notice is required to be given to all parties who may be affected by a court’s decision. In a class action lawsuit, notice is to be given to every individual who may be a class member. Such a member may “opt in” and join the lawsuit, or “opt out” and decide not to participate.
The notice must be the best practical under the circumstances and must include:
- the nature of the action
- the definition of the class certified
- the claims, issues, or defenses of the class
- that a class member may appear through an attorney if they wish
- that the court will exclude from the class any member who requests exclusion
- the time and manner for requesting exclusion
- the binding effect of a class judgment on members
A solemn declaration, accompanied by a swearing to God or a revered person or thing, that one’s statement is true or that one will be bound to a promise. The person making the oath implicitly invites punishment if the statement is untrue or the promise is broken. The legal effect of an oath is to subject the person to penalties for perjury if the testimony is false.
Objections in a Personal Injury Case
A formal statement opposing something that has occurred, or is about to occur, in court and seeking the judge’s immediate ruling on the point. The party objecting must usually state the basis for the objection to preserve the right to appeal an adverse ruling. Some objections that can be raised: ambiguous or misleading, irrelevant, badgering, speculation, or hearsay.
A disease that is contracted as a result of exposure to debilitating conditions or substances in the course of employment. Employees who develop occupational diseases have rights to workers’ compensation. Some of these diseases are asbestosis, lung cancer, hearing loss, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
A written direction or command delivered by a court or a judge. It refers to both final decrees as well as interlocutory directions or commands.
Pain and Suffering
Any physical discomfort or emotional distress. It can be compensated for as a noneconomic damages under tort law.
A condition that prevents an individual/worker from performing all the duties s/he could do before an accident or illness, even though they can still perform part of their duty and engage in some gainful activity on the job.
Someone who takes part in a transaction, legal proceeding, contract, or agreement.
Passengers in a Car Accident Claim
If a passenger is injured in a car accident, they may file a third-party injury claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or against the driver of the vehicle they were in.
In some cases, a passenger may also be able to file a claim through their own insurer, if they have personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay.
Any person traveling on foot or walking. There are specific rules of the road which cover rights and duties of pedestrians to avoid injury and increase road safety.
Any harm caused to a person, including broken bones, cuts or bruises. A bodily injury is a personal injury, but an invasion of a personal right can also be a personal injury. Thus, mental suffering and false imprisonment constitute personal injury and can result in compensation.
A driver who caused an accident even without hitting another vehicle. The phantom driver may or may not be aware that they caused an accident, and because they don’t stop there is no way to identify them later. An accident caused by a phantom driver may be considered a hit-and-run, but is more accurately described as a miss-and-run.
The party who brings a civil suit in a court of law.
Record of an illegal or potentially illegal incident taken by a representative of a police department and filed according to the department rules.
A damage or detriment to a party’s legal rights or claims. A legal prejudice is a condition that can, if proved by a party, can defeat the opposite party’s action. In layman’s terms, a prejudice is a preconceived judgment or opinion formed with little or no factual basis, a strong, unreasoning distaste.
A liability that exists in personal injury law when a person is injured by something unsafe, dangerous or hazardous on someone else’s property. Such injured person needs to prove that the property owner was negligent and failed to exercise reasonable care.
Some types of premises liability cases are:
- slip and fall cases
- poorly maintained premises
- lack of security leading to injury or assault
- dog bites
- water leaks or flooding
- toxic chemicals
Preponderance of Evidence
The standard of evidence used in civil trials. Under this standard, the party which has the burden to prove a fact meets that burden if they establish that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true.
The proceedings in any legal action or proceeding. A process may also be a summons or writ to appear or respond in a court.
The liability of any or all parties responsible for the manufacture of any product for damage and/or injury caused by such product to any consumer.
Property Damage Liability Insurance
A type of insurance policy that helps to pay to repair damage done to another person’s vehicle or property.
The actual cause of an injury or damage that is also legally sufficient to support a claim of liability. A cause is said to be a proximate cause if it is more direct and more necessary for the injury to occur than another set of causes.
These are damages awarded above and beyond actual damages to act as a punishment for a defendant who has acted with recklessness or malice. Thus, the intent of punitive damages is to penalize a wrongdoer.
The willful operation of a vehicle in a manner that ignores the safety of other people or property, driving which knowingly puts other people or property at risk.
This is a liberation from an obligation or duty. It is the act of giving up a right, claim, or title to the person against whom it could have been enforced. It also refers to the act of freeing from restraint or confinement, such as a release from prison.
In Latin, it means “let the superior answer.” It is a doctrine which holds an employer or principal liable for the wrongful acts done by an employee or agent within the course of employment.
Right of Way
The right to pass through a property owned by another party. A right-of-way can be established by agreement, by long standing usage or easement, or by a government authority. In traffic law, it refers to the right of a vehicle, driver, or pedestrian to take precedence in traffic.
It is an agreement between two or more parties ending a dispute or lawsuit. It is also the payment or final adjustment with regard to accounts.
Short Term Disability
A type of insurance benefit that provides compensation or income replacement for non-job-related injuries or illnesses that render a worker incapable of working for a limited time period.
Social Security Disability (SSD)
A disability which renders you eligible for social security benefits. Such a person would need to have worked in jobs covered by Social Security, have a “severe” condition that is on the list of disabling conditions, not be able to perform the work they did previously or any other work, and meet any other conditions established by the Social Security Administration.
Social Security Disability (SSDI) Insurance
It is a tax-funded federal insurance program managed by the Social Security Administration that provides income assistance to people who suffer a disability and hence are restricted in their capacity to work and be employed.
Any exemption from a duty, liability, or service of process, granted to a governmental official. Also a government’s immunity from being sued in its own courts without its consent, or a state’s immunity from being sued in court by its own citizens.
In the context of worker’s compensation laws, it is the permanent loss of a specific body part or its function due to an injury caused during the course of work.
It is a type of objection that may be used by a lawyer during a trial, to claim that a witness has no way of knowing the answer to a question asked by the opposing counsel, and that they are being asked to guess the answer.
A form that is filed with the state to show that an individual is meeting a state’s minimum auto liability insurance requirements. It is generally required for motorists who have been previously convicted for DUIs, committed traffic offenses, or had their license suspended or revoked.
Standard of Care
The degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise in a given situation or in a particular set of circumstances.
Statute of Limitations
A law that bars claims after a specified period, a statute establishing a time limit for suing in a civil case, based on the date when the cause of action arose, such as when the injury occurred or was discovered.
A material condition or requirement in an agreement; a factual representation that is incorporated into a contract as a term. It is also a voluntary agreement between opposing parties concerning some relevant point.
It is when a defendant is liable for committing a particular action, irrespective of what their intent might have been.
To order the production of documents or other things by a writ or order. A subpoena can also be a writ or order commanding a person to appear before a court, failing which they will be penalized.
When one party takes on the legal rights of another, or when one party takes over another party’s right to sue. For example, if an insurance company compensates a policy holder for an injury, the policy holder’s right to sue such a person is subrogated to the insurance company.
A writ or process by a plaintiff that requires a defendant to appear in court, which begins the plaintiff’s action. It can also mean a notice requiring an individual to appear as a juror or witness in a court of law.
Sunlight and Sun Glare
Sunlight and sun glare are a potential hazard for a driver. Glare from the sun can cause accidents if sunlight shines directly into a driver’s eyes and affects their ability to view the road or motorists in front of their car.
Under Georgia laws, a super speeder is a driver who is convicted of speeding at 75 mph or more on a two-lane road or at 85 mph and above on any road or highway in the State of Georgia. An additional Super Speeder fee of $200 needs to be paid by such driver in addition to other fines and fees.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program
It is a federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues to help aged, blind, and disabled people with little or no income. The program provides cash for basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter.
Kindness of feeling towards another individual who is suffering, understanding between people or fellow-feeling.
In a legal context, a jury is more likely to rule in favor of a party if they have sympathy for them, and this is what many lawyers try to gain for their client.
Evidence that a competent witness under oath or affirmation gives at trial or in an affidavit or deposition.
Third Party Litigation
A practice where by a third party invests in a lawsuit in exchange for a percentage of any settlement or judgment that might result.
A civil wrong, other than breach of contract, for which a remedy is available, generally through damages.
Torts are generally of four types:
- Intentional act resulting in harm
- Unlawful conduct that causes harm unintentionally
- Inadvertent act that involves a risk of harm
- Non culpable act that causes harm accidentally for which the law imposes strict liability
Someone who commits a civil wrong or a tort; a wrongdoer in the eyes of the law.
A person’s inability to perform the functions of their usual occupation. A more restrictive insurance policy may define it as the inability to work in any occupation.
Loss that takes place when an insured item is lost, destroyed, or damaged so severely that it cannot be repaired. Such an item cannot be recovered.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Per the CDC, a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused due to a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury.
A judicial proceeding where evidence is examined and legal claims are decided or ruled on. It is generally an adversarial proceeding. During the course of a legal action, a separate claim or issue can also be ordered to be tried, to avoid prejudice.
When a driver makes a turn at an intersection, s/he needs to follow certain rules of the road. Under Illinois law, for example, the driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection must:
(1) Approach a right turn and make such turn as close as practical to the right-hand edge of the road
(2) Approach a left turn in the extreme left-hand lane and turn so that s/he leaves the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of his/her travel
(3) Follow any official traffic control devices which indicate a different course of action
A turn made by a vehicle to head in the opposite direction from the original course of travel. Rules of the road for various states have specific rules for U-turns. For example, on a hill or curve, a vehicle can only make a U-turn if the driver can be seen by any other vehicle within 500 feet.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
This is a type of insurance policy coverage for situations where a person is hit by a driver without car insurance. Such coverage will help pay for the person’s medical bills or car repair.
It is the reckless or negligent killing of a person while driving a vehicle. The victim might be a passenger, pedestrian, bystander, or another driver as well.
The proper place for a lawsuit to proceed, usually because the place has a connection with the plaintiff, the defendant, or the cause of action.
A jury’s or a judge’s finding, decision or resolution of the issues of a case.
The principle by which a supervisory party or a party in authority, such as an employer, is liable for the culpable or actionable conduct of a subordinate party such as an employee.
A service which helps people with disabilities find and keep employment that will pay a decent wage.
The preliminary examination of a potential juror by a judge or lawyer to decide whether they are qualified or suitable to serve on a jury. Thus, it is a term used to describe the jury selection phase of a trial. It can also be used to decide if a witness or a piece of evidence is competent or admissible.
The voluntary abandonment of a legal right or advantage, whether express or implied. The party waiving a right must have had both knowledge of the right and intend to forgo it. If a ground is not presented in the court of first instance, it may be deemed to be waived by the court of appeals.
Injury to neck caused by the neck being jerked forcibly forwards and backwards. It is a common injury in many car accidents but can also occur as a result of a sports injury.
Someone who sees, knows, or vouches for the existence of a fact. A witness can give testimony in court under oath in person, by oral or written deposition, or by means of an affidavit.
This is a system to provide benefits to an employee who is injured during the course of his employment, or at the workplace. Workers’ compensation statutes hold the employer strictly liable, but also bar the employee from suing for damages under tort law.
A death caused by an injury, which in turn arises from a civil wrong or tort. It is a death caused by the negligent or willful act or conduct of another. The survivors of the deceased may sue for damages resulting from that person’s death.