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Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Glossary

Personal injury and wrongful death cases can be complicated — especially if the complex legal jargon is unfamiliar to you. The glossary terms below are some of the most commonly used language in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Understanding these terms will help you feel more confident if you are part of a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

*If you need additional guidance, which is highly recommended, you can find details about Los Angeles personal injury law firms and Los Angeles wrongful death law firms below. 

Burden of proof: The responsibility of one party to prove their case. In most circumstances, the party making the accusations or claims (the plaintiff) is the one responsible for providing evidence to support those claims.

Claim: A request made in a legal argument, asking for payment, solution, or settlement for a supposed mistake or damage caused by another side.

Class-action: A type of lawsuit brought by a representative plaintiff (or a few) on behalf of a larger group of people with similar claims or complaints against the same defendant.

Complaint: The legal document that initiates a lawsuit and outlines the plaintiff’s claims, the defendant’s alleged wrongdoing, and the relief sought.

Compensatory damages: Financial rewards meant to compensate the plaintiff for harm suffered and/or expenses lost.

Contingency fee: Some lawyers only get paid if they successfully win the case for their client. The attorney’s fee in these cases is a percentage of the damages awarded to the plaintiff. John J. Perlstein is one of those Los Angeles injury attorneys who uses a contingency fee, meaning clients only pay if they win. 

Defendant: The individual, business, or entity against whom the lawsuit is filed.

Damages: The monetary compensation awarded to the plaintiff. Damages can be classified into two main types: economic (i.e., medical bills, lost wages) and non-economic (i.e., pain and suffering, emotional distress).

Discovery: The investigation process, during which both parties gather evidence and information to build their case before going to trial.

Lawsuit: A legal dispute between one or more parties in a civil court of law.

Liability: Legal responsibility for causing injury or harm.

Liability insurance: Monetary coverage to help pay for the damages that the defendant owes to the plaintiff.

Negligence: The failure to take reasonable care, resulting in harm to another. To win a personal injury case, you often need to prove that the defendant was negligent.

Personal injury: Physical or psychological harm or damage inflicted upon an individual as a result of the negligence, misconduct, or wrongful actions of another person or entity.

Plaintiff: The person filing a lawsuit or making a compensation claim.

Precedent: Prior court decisions that set a legal standard or guideline for similar cases. These can be cited and used as references during a case.

Punitive damages: The damages addressed to the party responsible for the harm to punish them and discourage similar behavior in the future. 

Settlement: An agreement reached between the plaintiff and defendant to resolve the case without going to court.

Statute of limitations: The timeframe within which you must file a personal injury lawsuit before losing your right to pursue a claim. Statutes of limitations vary by jurisdiction and the type of injury. In California, for example, the statute of limitations for most wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the individual’s death. However, since there can be exceptions and variations, it is crucial to consult a wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles to ensure you are guided in the right direction.

Tort: A civil wrong that results in injury or harm.

Wrongful death: A type of injury resulting in the death of a victim as a consequence of the defendant’s negligence, misconduct, or wrongful actions. Spouses, dependents, or other parties who were close to the victim have the right to seek damages for wrongful deaths. A Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can help seek damages.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney

The glossary terms listed above simply cover the basics. A wrongful death attorney or personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles can walk you through the necessary steps and identify the best compensation for any injuries. In cases of wrongful death, surviving loved ones may receive financial support to recover funeral expenses, loss of income, and loss of companionship.

John J. Perlstein, one of the best personal injury attorneys in Los Angeles, has over 25 years of experience securing fair and just outcomes in personal injury cases. He will ensure accurate compensation for victims and clearance for those wrongly accused.

You can reach us at (213) 583-5786. Or complete the form on our website to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. This consultation will provide you with an opportunity to discuss your situation and see what we can do to help.

Los Angeles Personal Injury Victim or Surviving Loved One of a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Victim?

It’s vital to take action now. Call (213) 252-1070 today or fill out the form below for a FREE consultation with a personal injury and wrongful death attorney (Los Angeles and the surrounding Southern California area).

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