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Perhaps you’ve been in a car accident or your family is suffering from a wrongful death. No matter the reason, it so happens that at this point in time, you’re seeking legal counsel. You’ve already identified a legal issue that needs to be addressed, but you aren’t sure how to navigate the rocky terrain of legal jargon that accompanies pursuing legal action. That is why we have taken the time to define some of the most common legal terms you are likely to hear from your lawyer and within a court of law. While your lawyer should ensure that you understand the elements of your case, it never hurts to educate and familiarize yourself with the legal jargon that will inevitably arise.

Who’s who?

Understanding the terms associated with different people is essential when it comes to learning more about the elements of any case.

  1. Plaintiff – The plaintiff is the person that initiates a lawsuit against someone else. For example, in the event that your vehicle was hit by a drunk driver and you sought legal action against the driver, you would be the plaintiff.
  2. Defendant – The defendant is the person, company, etc., that the lawsuit is being brought against. Using our example from above, the driver would be the defendant.

Types of Lawsuits

If you have endured some kind of wrongful action, you may believe you have the grounds to pursue legal action, but you aren’t sure what kind of suit you need. These are some of the most common suits you will hear about.

  1. Medical malpractice – In this case, a healthcare provider has caused an injury or in the worst cases, a death, with a patient due to negligence or insufficient standards of care.
  2. Wrongful death – A wrongful death is a death caused by the negligence of another person. Relating back to medical malpractice, if medical malpractice led to a patient’s death, their death would also be considered a wrongful death since if it was the result of the practitioner’s negligence.
  3. Negligence – We’ve discussed negligence, but what exactly is it? Negligence is defined by Barberi Law as the failure to act with the degree of care that the law requires to protect other people and their interests, which often leads to injuring others.
  4. Premise liabilityPremise liability litigation is a bit of a broad category within the realm of personal injury law. It essentially refers to “slip and fall” accidents, wherein a person can prove that an injury they sustained was the responsibility of the owner of the property where they were injured.

Miscellaneous Terms

These are terms that, while common, can fit into a number of scenarios and categories. They are just as important as the other legal jargon we have already discussed, which is why they are important to be familiar with.

  • Affidavit – An affidavit, as defined by the US Court Glossary, is a written or printed statement made under oath.
  • Damages – Damages are the amount of money that a client can recover in a lawsuit.
  • Counsel – Simply put, this is legal advice. It can also used to refer to the lawyers in a case.
  • De facto – This is a Latin phrase meaning “in fact.” If something is de facto, it exists in fact but not as a matter of law.
  • Settlement – A settlement is the act of settling a dispute without a trial.

How We Can Help

Navigating the legal world can be difficult, that’s why we are here to help make sense of all the jargon and ensure you receive the help you need. Our experts at Barfoot and Schoettker are experienced in a variety of cases and are willing to help you with any of your legal needs. We want to be the legal partner that you can trust. We promise to be aggressive in the courtroom and fight to help your voice be heard. We know that the process of litigation can be long and stressful, but we are here to help you through it. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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