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Legal Terms for Personal Injury Cases

If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, there are some legal terms you may hear that may sound foreign to you. The following are some of the more frequent terms you may hear. Your personal injury attorney, like a personal injury lawyer residents need, is always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Damages: In a personal injury lawsuit, damages are what the victim is seeking to recover. Recovery from damages comes in the form of financial compensation. There are two types of damages a victim can pursue in their lawsuit. The first is economic damages. These are quantifiable damages that the injuries have caused the victim. Economic damages include medical expenses for treatment of the injuries and loss wages because the injuries left them unable to work while they were recovering.

The second kind of damages are non-economic. Noneconomic damages do not have a specific dollar amount associated with them in the same way medical expenses and other economic damages do. Pain and suffering, emotional anguish, scarring, and disfigurement are all damages in this category with which the victim may be dealing, and for which he or she could be entitled to receive financial compensation. There are several different formulas the courts use to determine noneconomic damages, which are typically based on the severity of these damages multiplied by how much in economic losses you sustained.

Burden of Proof: The burden of proof is the obligation placed on the victim to prove the allegation that his or her injuries were caused by the negligent or reckless behavior of the defendant in the lawsuit. There are different standards for burden of proof in a civil case compared to a criminal case.

In a civil lawsuit, the victim/plaintiff only has to prove that the at-fault party/defendant’s actions or behaviors “more likely than not” caused the injuries. In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” the defendant is guilty.

Strict Liability: Strict liability means that certain acts or injuries impose liability regardless of whose fault it was for the injuries. A dog bite injury is an example of a strict liability case. Say that, for example, a child walking down the street came upon a dog that was unleashed. The child went to pet the dog, but the dog bit the child. No matter what circumstances led to the dog running loose (for instance, if the dog escaped from his yard because a delivery person left the gate open), and despite the fact that the child went up to a dog he didn’t know, the owner of the dog would be held 100 percent liable for the dog’s injuries because of the strict liability legal theory.

Contributory Negligence: In some personal injury cases, the victim does have some percentage of fault or blame for the accident. This is referred to as contributory negligence. It can also be called contributory fault. When the victim is found to be partially at fault for the incident that caused their injuries, then the amount of damages he or she receives will be reduced by that percentage. If he or she is found to be 51 percent or more at fault, then he or she will not receive any damages because they have been found to be more at fault than the defendant.

Learn More from a Personal Injury Attorney

If you have further questions about a potential accident claim, look no further than our firm. Contact an attorney today.

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