Affidavit: A written statement confirmed by oath for use as evidence in court.
Comparative or Contributory Negligence: if both the plaintiff and defendant in a lawsuit have somehow contributed to an injury or loss, damages awarded to the plaintiff are reduced in proportion to his or her negligence.
Compensatory Damages: Plaintiffs are awarded these damages to compensate for out-of-pocket losses like medical costs, lost wages, or property damage.
Damages Cap: Some states put a limit, or damage cap, on the amount of compensation that can be awarded for certain types of cases or certain types of damages.
Defendant: This is the person, company, or entity being sued because they are presumed responsible for the injuries or losses suffered by a victim (the plaintiff).
Deposition: During the discovery process, lawyers from both sides will want to gather evidence; depositions are basically questions answered under oath that are recorded. Sometimes they are transcribed by a court reporter; other times, they are recorded on video. They can then be used as evidence in the courtroom.
Discovery: This is the formal investigation that lawyers and their teams of professionals conduct before a trial. The types of information gathering that attorneys use can range from questioning witnesses and opposing parties to requesting documents.
Evidence: Evidence is the foundation of any case. Photographs, documents, laboratory tests, damaged property, medical tests, and many other things can be used as evidence.
Liability: The term “liability” refers to the legal responsibility of a person, company, or other entity for something that causes harm to another.
Litigation: This is a broad term that refers to the process for obtaining justice by filing a lawsuit against someone who caused an injury or loss. This process can be resolved in a settlement or by going to trial.
Mediation: Sometimes, opposing parties can resolve their dispute without going to court by using a mediator – someone who is impartial and can help them reach an agreement. Mediation is a less formal process because it is not subject to the same rules that govern court proceedings and because mediators cannot impose or enforce an agreement – the parties themselves have to resolve their problem together.
Plaintiff: The person, persons, or entities that initiate a lawsuit against another person, persons, or entities who have caused them injury or loss. For example, if you are hit by a truck and injured, you would file a case as the plaintiff, and the driver of the truck who hit you would be the defendant.
Punitive Damages: These damages are awarded to plaintiffs in order to punish the defendant or defendants and to deter others from doing similar harmful things.
Statute of Limitations: This is a deadline or time limit a plaintiff has to abide by in order to be able to pursue a case. For many cases, a plaintiff must file a lawsuit within two years of the incident that causes injury or loss. After that time period has expired, a victim cannot pursue a claim in court. This is why it is so important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after you suffer an injury or loss.