Common Legal Terms You Should Know
Personal injury cases can take many forms and the circumstances that surround one can be vastly different from another. However, if you are pursuing your own personal injury case, you will probably hear some common terms that you should be familiar with. You may recognize common terms like plaintiff and defendant from television and movies, but there are a few important terms you should understand that are less common in pop cultures. Here three personal injury terms that are important for personal injury cases, especially when you are talking to and looking for a qualified lawyer to represent you:
Statute of Limitations
Statute of limitation is an important term to understand when you are trying to build a personal injury case. This refers to the set time period in which you must file suit. For instance, if your neighbor hits your mailbox when backing out of their driveway, you typically can’t decide to file a suit against him ten years later. Although, the statute of limitations can widely vary is civil suits based on the state the incident occurred, the circumstances surrounding the case, and the type of case you are bringing forward.
Some crimes, especially first degree murder, have no statute of limitations but most civil cases have a limit. If you are pursuing a case, ask a qualified attorney if your case falls within the statute of limitation.
Because pop culture law usually involves criminal cases, the word tort may have flown under your radar because it has to do with civil cases. A tort is any civil wrong that causes loss, damages or harm to another person. Negligence, wrongful death, slander and trespassing can all be considered torts. If you are pursuing a legal claim, a tort is often what gives you grounds for a lawsuit in which you seek compensation for damages. Conversely, a criminal case is not intended to seek compensation; rather, it seeks to bring a person guilty of a criminal wrong to justice.
Damages are the end goal if you are pursuing a law suit. You, as the plaintiff, would be seeking to cover damages for a tort committed by the defendant. In a civil suit, damages are equal to a dollar amount that your lawyer thinks you are owed. You and your lawyer also need to be able to point to specific reason you are owed that amount. For instance, if an injury left you with a $1,000 medical bill, you would be looking to recover the cost of that bill.