Injured And Filing And Injury Lawsuit? Know These 5 Terms
Were you seriously injured and are now seeking compensation from the person that was responsible? You'll likely be going through the process of a personal injury lawsuit. Here are some terms you should get familiar with as you move forward with this legal process.
Contributory And Comparative Negligence
One of the first things you need to understand is if your state has contributory or comparative negligence laws. These laws play a big role when determining if you'll be fully reimbursed for the damages or receive nothing at all.
Contributory negligence states will only award a plaintiff with compensation if they did not contribute to their injury in any way. This is often the case when someone is in a car accident, but both drivers broke different laws that caused the accident. Comparative negligence is when a plaintiff is assigned a percentage of fault, and their compensation is reduced by that percentage. For example, if the plaintiff was found to be 25% responsible then they would only receive 75% of the compensation for their claim.
At some point, you may have to give a deposition about your injury. This is an interview that happens before a trial, and it involves asking a witness questions while they are under oath. A deposition can be used to find more evidence or clarify facts of the case, and the transcript of that deposition can be used in court.
You may know what a witness is, but are you familiar with an expert witness? These people did not actually see the accident happen, but have some sort of expertise in their field where they can testify on your behalf in a lawsuit. You may need someone with special medical knowledge to explain your injury or someone that specializes in reconstructing accidents to prove who was at fault.
Sometimes accidents can happen that lead to an injury, and there is not much that could have happened to prevent it. However, some defendants may have exhibited behaviors that are considered egregious and ended up causing the accident. If so, you may be able to seek punitive damages as part of a lawsuit. This is when the defendant must pay the plaintiff money purely as punishment for their actions, which is in addition to the compensation requested for medical bills.
Reach out to a local law firm, such as Spiegel & Barbato, LLP, if you find yourself feeling confused about terms used in an injury lawsuit.