Most people can go days without hearing legal terms except on TV. However, if you’ve been injured in an accident, then you may suddenly find yourself faced with some confusing terms. Here are legal terms everyone should know.
Lawyer or Attorney
These terms are used interchangeably and mean very similar things. A lawyer is someone who has gone to law school and has studied the practice of law. An attorney is a lawyer who has passed the bar exam or otherwise been admitted to a state bar. An attorney is qualified and licensed to represent someone in court.
There are many definitions of this word, but in a legal sense, a claim is a request or demand to seek compensation. A claim can be made with a court. For instance, if you are injured in a car accident, you may file a claim to be compensated for your injuries.
If a claim is not settled outside of court, then a lawsuit will be filed. A lawsuit is a formal action that occurs in a civil court. The lawsuit starts when the plaintiff files a complaint, which is a document detailing what happened and the legal basis for bringing the lawsuit.
If you are the individual who has been injured and filed a claim or a lawsuit, then you are the plaintiff. A plaintiff is a person who brings a claim against another party.
The defendant is the person or party against whom a claim is brought. The defendant is usually the person who is alleged to have caused an injury.
Liability is responsibility for an injury. Insurance companies usually spend time trying to determine liability. More than one party can be liable to different degrees. Determining liability is essential to a claim.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a legal time limit within which you can file a claim. After an incident occurs, you can’t just file a claim whenever you want. For instance, in Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a claim in a car accident case is four years from when the accident occurred.
In most claims, the key question in the case is whether there was negligence. Someone is negligent when they breach the duty of care and cause an injury. A negligent party should be held liable for the injuries they cause.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligence, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Gregg Goldfarb has been helping the injured for over 25 years. Contact us online or call us at 305-374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.