Legal Dictionary

If you have suffered a personal injury and are involved in a lawsuit, the legalese may be daunting and confusing, but don’t be scared! We created the Lending Eagles Legal Dictionary to help you tackle all the legal terms that might be confusing. If you are involved in a lawsuit, you need to understand the legal terms involved so that you know what is going on in your case. We have translated legalese into brief understandable explanations to make your life easier and help you focus on recovery.


A written statement of an incident or event documented at the scene of the incident or shortly thereafter by an authority figure such as a police officer, manager, or hospital staff member. An accident report is sometimes also referred to as an Incident Report.
An accident or event resulting from natural causes, without human intervention or assistance; an act which could not have been prevented by reasonable precaution or care, including for example, damage from floods, lightning, earthquake, or storms.
The person appointed by a court to represents the interest of a deceased who has died intestate (without a will).
The defendants legal response to the plaintiffs Complaints allegations. It is required to be served or delivered to the Plaintiffs attorney within a certain time period after having been received by the Defendant. Usually, at the same time, the Defendant also requests that Plaintiff provide answers or further information or specific details about the case.
The hearing and settlement of a legal dispute between the plaintiff and defendant, without a trial, jury, or court proceeding, by a neutral third-party arbitrator; can be binding or non-binding.


A lawsuit filed by an insured person against their insurance provider for unreasonably denying or delaying their claim, or for refusing to pay out a full insurance claim without cause.
The obligation in legal proceedings to prove one’s claim is accurate and true; whoever has the burden of proof must show their claim to be factual. For example, in a personal injury car accident lawsuit, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to show a driver was negligent and caused harm to the plaintiff as a result of this negligence.


The act or process of causing something. In a personal injury negligence case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions, or inaction, caused the injury to the plaintiff.
The liaison between the insured and an insurance company when an insurance claim is filed. The claim adjuster is responsible for investigating and overseeing the claim on behalf of the insurance company, as well as approving medical and rehabilitation treatment plans. The claim adjuster works for the insurance company and will aim to serve the insurance company’s interests rather than those of the insured or the injured.]
The person making a claim against another. In a personal injury case once the attorney starts the lawsuit, the claimant then is designated as the Plaintiff.
A standard of law applied in negligence cases in some states to determine responsibility and damages based on the percentage of negligence of every party directly involved in the injury. Thus a plaintiff whose found to have been 40% at fault for the accident can only recover 60% of the awarded damages.
In a negligence case, a prevailing plaintiff will receive compensatory damages to compensate for the results of the injury, including economic losses, lost earnings, property damages, emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc. Compensatory damages are intended to restore the injured to the state they were in before the injury.
The first pleading or document filed in court by a person or entity claiming legal rights against another party; the official document that starts a lawsuit; states the claim and theory of the case.
In lawsuits where money is being claimed as damages, in lieu of other payment methods, a lawyer may agree to receive and a client may agree to pay a percentage of the case award, to be paid only if the case is won. The fee is contingent upon success; if the client does not prevail, the client owes no legal fees. In most states, it is not only required that a contingency fee agreement be used in accident type cases but also that the contingency fee agreement contain certain specific language and also that the actual fee percentage is established by court.
A doctrine of law which holds that if a person is injured in a car accident due to his/her own negligence (his/her negligence “contributed” to the accident), the injured party is not entitled to collect any damages (money). Under this rule, a badly injured person who was 1% negligent could not win in court against a 99% negligent defendant. The jurisdictions which still employ the Contributory Negligence Rule are Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.

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