Glossary for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

An accident report is a report prepared by law enforcement officers following an accident, which documents the details of the incident.

The compensation awarded for the actual loss incurred by the injured party.

A written statement made under oath.

ADR refers to methods of resolving disputes outside of court, such as mediation or arbitration.

A process in which a neutral third party listens to the arguments of both sides and makes a binding decision.

A defense asserting that the injured party voluntarily accepted the risk associated with the activity that caused the injury.

The person or entity responsible for causing an accident or injury.

The confidentiality of communication between a lawyer and a client.

When an insurance company fails to deal fairly and honestly with an insured party.

A trial where a judge, rather than a jury, hears the case and makes a decision.

The responsibility of a party to prove the truth of their claims in a legal proceeding.

The act or process that produces an effect or result.

A legal action filed by one party against another for monetary damages or other relief.

A demand for compensation made by an injured party.

A legal doctrine that apportions fault between parties based on their level of responsibility for an accident or injury.

The initial document filed by a plaintiff in a lawsuit, which sets forth the facts and legal basis for their claims.

Monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff for their actual losses.

A legal doctrine that bars a plaintiff from recovering damages if they contributed to their own injury.

A claim filed by a defendant against a plaintiff in response to the plaintiff’s original claim.

The questioning of a witness by the opposing party during a trial or deposition.

Damages refer to monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit.

The defendant is the party against whom a lawsuit is filed.

A pretrial process where a witness provides sworn testimony under oath, which can be used as evidence in a trial.

The pretrial process of obtaining evidence from the opposing party.

A law that holds establishments liable for serving alcohol to intoxicated patrons who subsequently cause injury to others.

A legal obligation to act or refrain from acting in a certain manner.

Economic damages refer to compensation for monetary losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages.

A witness with specialized knowledge in a particular subject who provides testimony in a lawsuit.

Fault refers to responsibility for causing an accident or injury.

A fiduciary duty refers to a legal obligation to act in the best interest of another party.

Gross negligence refers to a reckless or willful disregard for the safety or well-being of others.

Harm refers to injury or damage suffered by a person or property.

A patient’s agreement to a medical procedure after receiving information about the risks and benefits.

An insurance adjuster is a person who investigates insurance claims and makes a liability determination.

An insurance claim is a formal request by an insured party for coverage or compensation under an insurance policy.

An insurance policy is a contract between an insurance company and a policyholder that outlines the terms and conditions of coverage.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is a tort claim for emotional harm caused by extreme and outrageous conduct.

Interrogatories are written questions submitted by one party to another during the discovery process, which must be answered under oath.

Joint and Several Liability is a legal doctrine that allows a plaintiff to recover damages from multiple defendants, who are each responsible for the full amount of damages.

A judgment is a court’s final decision in a lawsuit.

Jurisdiction in a personal injury case is the legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case.

A jury is a group of people selected to hear evidence and determine the outcome of a trial.

Liability refers to legal responsibility for one’s actions or inactions.

Litigation refers to the process of pursuing or defending a lawsuit.

A claim for damages suffered by a spouse or family member due to the injury or death of a loved one.

A process in which a neutral third party helps disputing parties reach a voluntary resolution.

Mitigation refers to the duty of an injured party to minimize their losses following an injury.

A formal request made by a party for a court to take a specific action.

The failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person.

Compensation for non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.

A formal communication providing information or a request to another party.

The initial presentation made by each party at the beginning of a trial, outlining their case.

Physical and emotional distress experienced by a plaintiff due to their injuries.

A party is a person or entity involved in a lawsuit.

Physical or emotional harm suffered by a person due to the actions or inactions of another.

The party who initiates a lawsuit by filing a complaint.

A formal written statement filed with the court that sets forth the claims and defenses of the parties in a lawsuit.

The standard of proof required in most civil cases, meaning that a party’s claim is more likely true than not.

The legal responsibility of a property owner for injuries that occur on their property.

A meeting between the parties and the judge before trial to discuss the case and attempt to resolve any outstanding issues.

The legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers for harm caused by defective or dangerous products.

A direct and foreseeable cause of an injury or harm.

Monetary damages awarded to punish a defendant for particularly egregious conduct and deter similar behavior in the future.

The level of care that a prudent person would exercise in similar circumstances.

A response to evidence or arguments presented by the opposing party.

A voluntary resolution of a dispute between parties, often involving payment of damages.

The level of care that a reasonable person would exercise in a specific situation.

A time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed, after which the claim is barred. For many claims in Texas, that is two years.

A legal doctrine that holds a party responsible for damages without the need to prove negligence or fault.

A legal order requiring a person to testify or produce documents in a legal proceeding.

A court ruling that decides a case without a full trial, based on the evidence presented in the pleadings and motions.

A claim brought by the estate of a deceased person for damages that the deceased could have recovered if they had lived.