Explaining Common Terms You Will Hear In Personal Injury Cases

When one individual is hurt because of another’s carelessness or malice, that’s called a personal injury case. Although though most personal injury claims are resolved out of court, litigation is occasionally necessary. Perhaps, more likely, the dispute will be resolved by mediation or arbitration—a middle ground between trial and settlement in which the two sides may reach an agreement.

Thousands of cases involving the most prevalent personal injury claims are resolved or considered by courts each year. In certain cases, they even lead to victims receiving significant financial compensation for their suffering.

Personal injury cases are different but there are terms that almost always appear. This is true for everything from car accidents to slip and fall incidents. Because of this, it is very important to be aware of some terms. The most common ones are explained below by a Hartford injury attorney.


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A plaintiff is a group of parties or an individual party that files the personal injury lawsuit. For instance, if you fall in a grocery store because of a slip and you are injured, you become the plaintiff during the upcoming lawsuit.

Or, to put it another way, the plaintiff is the person who initiates the lawsuit, and they have a legal claim against another person, corporation, health institution, government, or even a city, country, political party, former or present employer, or any service provider who wronged them. 


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A complaint is filed by the plaintiff. It is a legal document filed in circuit court by an aggrieved party seeking relief. This is what initiates the lawsuit, as long as all the legal proceedings are respected. The complaint in personal injury cases is basically a formal expression that highlights the grievances you have against the defendant.


You file your complaint as a plaintiff against a defendant. This means the defendant is the individual or the business that is accused with being liable for the injuries the plaintiff suffered.

A defendant might be a person, a corporation, a non-profit organization, or the government.

If we are to think about the example mentioned below, the grocery store becomes the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.

Statute Of Limitations

This is how much time is available according to law to file your personal injury lawsuit. It will vary from one location to the next and even from one case to another. The time frame can be very small, just one year long. Or, in other cases, like with some civil suits, the term can be 10 years.

When negligence is questioned in personal injury cases, the statutes of limitations that apply are usually as long as 2 or 3 years. Some special exceptions do exist when referring to malpractice cases. Always check what state laws apply so you can be aware of how much time is available for you.


The purpose of filing a personal injury lawsuit against another party is to get financial compensation.  Damages refers to the amount of money that you, as the plaintiff, want to receive from the lawsuit. 

Damages are divided into two categories that plaintiffs may seek: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are ones that are easy to calculate, like the cost of paying back medical bills. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are ones that are hard to calculate, like emotional distress or pain and suffering.


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This is a term for a person or group’s legal responsibility for their actions. Someone may be held accountable for their own acts, their own inactions, or the actions of those for whom they are legally responsible, such as humans or animals.


This is defined as tort that appears due to the carelessness of an individual or not acting with the proper reasonable care. In order to prove the negligence, the plaintiff needs to prove their case.

For starters, there is an obligation or a duty that the defendant needs to have in relation to the plaintiff. Then, a defendant needs to be shown as having breached the legal duty. The third thing is to show that it was the breach that caused the damage the defendant received. The fourth thing the plaintiff needs to prove is that the damages do exist. Damages, causation, breach, and duty almost always appear in personal injury cases.

Getting back to the grocery store, there is a duty to keep absolutely all aisles safe, without hazards. When a spill is not properly cleaned in a suitable time, it is considered to be negligence.

Personal Injury Claim

This is a legal dispute or civil action involving the victim’s mental or bodily injury as a result of the defendant’s negligence. The claim arises when one party suffers damage as a result of an accident or injury caused by the negligence of another.

Burden of Proof

In a burden of proof, the plaintiff has to prove that their allegation against the defendant is true. You must demonstrate that the defendant’s acts caused your injuries in a personal injury lawsuit.


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Conclusion of a legal matter; a negotiated agreement between opposing parties in a civil complaint before or after litigation has commenced but before the court hears the case, eliminating the necessity for the judge to resolve the dispute.

Final Thoughts

As you can so easily see, there are several terms that appear in personal injury cases. It is very important that you get help by hiring an injury attorney since this is going to definitely help you to understand absolutely everything. If you have any questions, do be sure you will discuss terms with the lawyer. This is definitely something that is going to help you properly understand everything.