Having trouble trying to decipher the legal language? Here’s our glossary to all the legal terms and terminology you might need to know.
Affidavit: An affidavit is a written statement setting out a person’s evidence, that is, information that tends to prove or disprove a fact. Affidavits can come from witnesses, experts, or the plaintiff or defendant.
Appeal: A challenge to the ruling on a claim.
Arbitration: A legal negotiation between two parties guided by a neutral mediator without involving courts or judges.
Assumption of Risk: When a person engages in a behaviour and is aware of the risks that can caused injury.
Burden of Proof: The burden of proof is the legal obligation to prove the legitimacy of your claims.
Catastrophic Injuries: Severe injuries which include physical and psychological impairments, often related to the skull or brain, neck, spine, spinal cord, back or organs. Catastrophic injuries can also include burns. See more about these type of injuries here.
Claim: A civil action regarding the physical or mental harm suffered by the plaintiff, or on behalf of the injured victim, due to negligence of the defendant; a request to the insurance company by the insured requesting coverage and payment for damage or injury.
Comparative Fault: Sometimes known as “comparative negligence,” comparative fault gives fault to both parties based on the level their actions were responsible for the injury.
Complaint: The first document filed with the court by the accuser outlining the claim and starting the lawsuit.
Contributory Negligence: The determination that the claimant is partially or fully responsible for the injury based on their actions. Contributory negligence is negligence by the injured party that combines with the negligence of another in causing the injury, which reduces the damages awarded by a percentage.
Damages: Damages are the compensation awarded to the claimant for their loss or injury, what a claimant seeks to recover in a lawsuit, which in a personal injury lawsuit is financial compensation. Damages can take the form of measurable economic damages, such as medical and rehabilitation expenses, wage loss and lost future income, or non-economic damages, which are not explicitly measureable, such as pain, suffering and humiliation.
Defendant: The individual or entity being sued in court.
Discovery: Discovery is the name given to the process by which each party is required to produce to the court and each other party all documents and information in its possession that are relevant to the proceeding.
Evidence: The proof of the claim including testimony, exhibits, documentary material, or demonstrative evidence.
Litigation: The formal process of filing a lawsuit.
Negligence: A failure to use a reasonable amount of care to prevent a foreseeable injury. To prove negligence, a claimant must prove: the defendant had a duty of care or obligation to them, the defendant violated or breached that duty, the breach caused damage to the defendant, and actual damages resulted.
Plaintiff (or Claimant): The injured party filing a complaint.
Preponderance Of Evidence: The amount of evidence needed to win a case.
Statute of Limitations: The maximum time after an event that legal proceedings can take place.
Strict Liability: Liability that does not include fault or negligence.
Settlement: A legally binding agreement between the plaintiff and defendant reached outside of court.
Torts: A civil wrong, in the case of negligence: an action that results in injury or loss.
Verdict: The court’s ruling on a case.
Whiplash: Whiplash (injury) , also known as whiplash associated disorder or a soft tissue injury, is injury to the tendons, muscles and ligaments from the sudden jolting forwards and then backwards (or backwards and then forwards) in a whip-like movement or through sudden forcible rotation.