Understanding the Lingo: Personal Injury Terms

Many people who have suffered a personal injury in Nevada have difficulty understanding the legal terms used in their subsequent lawsuit. While it is true that most lawsuits are settled outside of court and do not go to trial before a jury, there is still certain legalese that can leave the injured party confused, at least to some level. Having familiarity with these legal terms as well as a basic level of knowledge is critical for most personal injury victims. This is particularly true if the case can be strongly defended by the other side. Below is a list of the basic legal terms used in Nevada personal injury lawsuits and a brief explanation of these terms.

Legalese in Personal Injury Lawsuits

From start to finish of your Las Vegas personal injury case, you will hear several terms that may have more than one meaning depending on the context or you may see legal terms you have never heard before in your life. While it is best to discuss a potential Nevada personal injury case with a skilled attorney, here are several of the most commonly used terms in the legal field.

  • Plaintiff: A plaintiff is the injured party or parties who are filing a claim for harm suffered, whether directly with the insurance company or in civil court.

  • Defendant: A term used both in criminal and civil lawsuits, the defendant is party or entity responding to the plaintiff’s lawsuit as it alleges the defendant is responsible for monetary damages.

  • Negligence: All claims for personal injuries proceed under the theory of negligence against one or multiple defendants. A plaintiff must show that the defendant was negligent in order to succeed, and a defendant can claim the injured party contributed to the accident and resulting injuries - referred to as comparative negligence - to reduce or eliminate financial responsibility.

  • Damages: This term refers to the monetary compensation the injured party is seeking. Damages may be based on actual dollar amounts lost or value of suffering (known as compensatory) or can be used as a punishment for bad behavior (known as punitive).

  • Strict liability: When strict liability applies as opposed to negligence, the injured plaintiff need not prove the defendant’s negligent acts caused the accident that resulted in injuries. Strict liability generally applies to defendants involved in a products liability claim in which the plaintiff alleges a defect.

The above terms are commonly used in personal injury lawsuits and, in fact, you may hear some of these terms in other types of cases.

Contact a Las Vegas Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you know has been hurt in a Las Vegas accident due to the fault of another, first seek the medical attention necessary to treat your injuries. Then, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau. Our attorneys can explain the process in simple terms and provide an initial consultant on your case. Do not wait and contact us today.

(image courtesy of Raphael Schaller)