Personal injury cases can be pretty complex, and some of the words used when discussing a case may be unfamiliar or confusing. You may recognize some from watching TV shows or movies, like plaintiff and defendant, but you may not understand how they apply to your specific case.
Here are some of the more common terms, along with easy-to-understand explanations related to personal injury cases.
- Plaintiff – If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s mistake, this is you. You are bringing a complaint or lawsuit against someone else – the defendant.
- Defendant – The person or company accused by you of causing the incident and injuries, including their representatives. The insurance company will usually provide the defendant with an attorney.
- Contingency – This is the type of fee agreement normally used in personal injury cases. As your lawyers, we get paid a percentage of the money you receive. If you don’t win or collect, you don’t pay and we don’t receive a fee. We’re in this together!
- Liability – Being legally responsible for something, like a car accident or unsafe conditions. In personal injury cases, we need to prove that another person or company was careless so we can seek compensation for your injuries.
- Damages – The money (also called compensation) that you should be awarded because of your injuries. This includes physical injuries like broken bones, as well as mental injuries like pain and suffering. Damages may also include compensation for the loss of your ability to earn money and enjoy life in the future.
- Case Value – The sum of the damages we’re claiming because of your injuries. Once we can determine the “value” of your case, we try get the insurance company to agree. If not, we’ll take them to court.
- Causation – The relationship between the incident (like a fall or a car wreck) and the harms and losses (injuries, lost wages, etc.) caused by the incident. We determine causation through your medical history and medical treatment, which help link your new injuries, or aggravation of old injuries or conditions, to the incident.
These are not the exact legal definitions of these terms, but we hope these simple explanations will help you understand how personal injury cases work. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Please click here to read more about personal injury cases, and contact a Litner + Deganian personal injury attorney for a free consultation if you’re ever injured due to someone else’s mistake. Our phone number is 678-956-8500.