In the aftermath of a personal injury, making sense of the jargon used by attorneys and other legal professionals can be challenging. Suddenly, your days become full of terms like plaintiff, comparative negligence, and litigation. As stressful as it may seem to acclimate to all the legalese, having a working knowledge of legal terminology can help you understand your rights, communicate efficiently with your lawyer, and actively participate in discussions about your case to make informed decisions as the legal process unfolds.

Montlick’s Legal Glossary

Whether you’re searching for a lawyer you can trust or simply trying to understand what lies ahead in your personal injury case, having a grasp on legal terminology is essential. Montlick’s mini glossary empowers personal injury victims with easy-to-understand definitions of crucial court and legal terms.

What Is a Defendant?
A defendant is a person or an organization accused of committing a crime or civil wrong in a court of law. In civil cases, like a personal injury case, the defendant is the person or entity whose negligence, recklessness, or violence resulted in injury to another person(s).

What Is a Plaintiff?
A plaintiff is the legal party in a civil lawsuit or personal injury case who initiates or brings the claim against another party. Plaintiffs are persons, organizations, or companies that have been wronged and seek relief from the courts. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff is the person who has suffered some form of harm due to another person’s actions (or inaction).

What Is a Settlement?
A settlement is an agreement between two or more parties that resolves a legal dispute or financial claim without pursuing a trial. A settlement typically involves the payment of money from one party to another in exchange for the dismissal of any existing claims against them. Once a claim or case is settled, it can never be reopened, which is why having legal representation is so important to getting the most out of your result.

What Is a Claim?
A claim is a legal demand for compensation from another party due to some form of injury or damage. It can be either monetary or non-monetary, such as an apology or acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Most claims in personal injury cases involve money damages and are pursued through civil courts. In order to file a claim, the plaintiff must provide evidence that they have suffered actual harm due to the actions of another party. This could include medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the incident.

What Is a Lawsuit?
A lawsuit is a form of legal action initiated by one party against another to seek monetary or non-monetary damages. It is usually the last resort for plaintiffs who have been unable to reach an agreement with the other party through negotiation or settlement. In order to pursue a successful lawsuit, claimants must demonstrate that their injuries were caused by an actionable event, such as negligence, and that they have suffered actual damage as a result.

Who is the Insurer/Insured?
An insurer, or insurance company, is a business entity that provides coverage to individuals and organizations (the insured) for various risks such as property damage, personal injury, or medical expenses. The insured individual or organization pays a premium to the insurer in exchange for financial protection against future losses. It is important for plaintiffs to understand the concept of an insurer to pursue any potential claims they may have against them.

What Are Legal Damages?
Damages refer to the money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil personal injury cases to compensate the injured for the costs of their injuries. Damages can cover medical bills, rehabilitation, time off of work, as well as pain and suffering and more.

What is a Recovery?
Economic recovery refers to the financial reimbursement a personal injury victim may receive from those who are at fault. In some cases, family members of someone harmed or deceased in a personal injury accident may also be entitled to recovery.

Watch now for more personal injury terms you should know: