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Personal Injury Terms – Understanding Your Claim

An injury sustained in an accident or as a result of another individual’s negligence may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury settlement. The attorneys at Gay and Chacker, located in Philadelphia, PA. understand some of the terms used in personal injury law are not generally used in everyday conversation. To better understand your personal injury claim, you may find it helpful to familiarize yourself with a few basic terms.

The following terms will assist you in understanding your personal injury claim:

Personal Injury: As opposed to property damage, personal injury refers to an injury to the body, mind, or emotions.

Personal Injury Law (also known as tort law ) : As a result of another’s negligent or intentional conduct, a person who suffers personal injury may be entitled to financial compensation or “made whole” by tort law.

Plaintiff-side personal injury attorneys: Plaintiff-side personal injury attorneys represent injured parties in lawsuits against individuals and businesses. In the event of a trial, they have experience with insurance industry tactics and a network of accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts who can testify on behalf of their clients.

Personal injury claim: A personal injury claim is made against an at-fault party or his or her insurance company in order to receive compensation for all expenses incurred because of the accident.

Personal injury lawsuit: This type of lawsuit is filed by an individual who has been injured physically or psychologically.

Plaintiff: The person who has been injured and has filed a lawsuit.

Defendant: A person who is being sued by a plaintiff for their alleged involvement in the plaintiff’s injury.

Limited Tort Law in Pennsylvania: Limited tort law in Pennsylvania is an option for car insurance policyholders that offers lower premiums in exchange for limited rights to sue for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Under limited tort, a person can only sue for pain and suffering if their injuries are classified as “serious,” which typically includes death, significant deformity, or permanent impairment of a body function. This option impacts the compensation one can receive after an accident unless these specific conditions are met.

Tort liability: If a person (tortfeasor) is found to be “liable” or responsible for a person’s injuries, they may be required to pay damages in order to make up for their actions. Liability for torts can be categorized into three main categories: intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability.

Intentional Torts: Intentional torts are wrongful acts committed with the intent of causing harm. The act of assault is one such example.

Strict Liability: Strict liability entails holding a party responsible for the actions or products they produce, without requiring the plaintiff to prove negligence or fault. When defective products are involved in a products liability claim, strict liability is applied.

Tort Law: An individual is legally obligated, under tort law, to perform acts that may harm others with a reasonable standard of care.

Negligence: When an individual fails to exercise the appropriate and/or ethical level of care that is expected of them in a particular set of circumstances, it is considered negligence. This is the second component that must be established in an action of negligence.

Causation: In tort and personal injury claims, causation is the relationship between the act or omission and the damages sufferedIn order to prove causation, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury and damages.

Damages: In a lawsuit, damages are the money that the plaintiff is seeking to recover. A few examples of damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Cause of action: A cause of action in a personal injury case is evidence that enables a plaintiff to seek monetary compensation for losses incurred in the accident.

Contingency Fee Basis: Lawyers who accept cases on a contingency fee basis are only paid if they successfully settle their clients’ cases or win their cases in court. As a result of a successful outcome, the attorney is compensated with a percentage of the damages awarded.

Settlement : The sum of money that the plaintiff accepts rather than going to trial, usually after a personal injury lawyer negotiates it.

Litigation: The process of bringing a case to court.

Trial: If your personal injury lawsuit cannot be settled out of court, it will go to trial.

Jury: A jury in a personal injury trial reviews the evidence in the case and calculates the appropriate award.

Expert Witness: an expert witness in a personal injury case is a person who is highly skilled or experienced and is retained to testify in court.

Jury award: Juries “calculate” personal injury awards by placing dollar values on several aspects of loss and suffering.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of another, you need a skilled and seasoned personal injury lawyer on your side.

Contact us now to learn more about how we can help in a personal injury case. There is no risk or obligation. We charge you no legal fees unless we recover money damages for you. Call us today at 215-567-7955 for a free consultation, and start getting your life back.

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