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Glossary of Legal Terms

We have compiled this short glossary of legal terms in order to help clarify any information on this site. If you still have questions about personal or catastrophic injury, then please contact our office.

  • Affidavit: A written declaration or statement of facts made under oath or affirmation.
  • Answer: A pleading (written document) responding to the allegations in the Complaint.
  • Appeal: The presentation of the case or issue to a higher court for its review and decision after a judgment has been made by a lower court.
  • Appearance: Coming before the court either in person or through attorney representation.
  • Brief: A written document prepared in a lawsuit that typically presents the facts and legal arguments that support a party’s position.
  • Comparative Negligence: The measurement of the proportionate fault of each of the parties involved that contributed to the injury.
  • Complaint: The initial pleading (written document) filed in an action which commences the lawsuit. Typically, the plaintiff files a complaint.
  • Common Law: A body of principles and rules derived from usage and custom as opposed to statute or law.Costs: An allowance for expenses in the prosecution or defense of an action. The losing party pays this sum to the winning party.
  • Counter Claim: A claim by the defendant in an action brought against the plaintiff.
  • Cross Claim: A claim by the defendant in an action brought against another defendant in the action or a claim by the plaintiff against another plaintiff in the action.
  • Damages: Monetary compensation awarded to the successful party in a lawsuit.
  • Defendant: The party that is sued in a lawsuit.
  • Fault: An error or omission that causes injury
  • Judgment: The court’s final decision at the conclusion of a lawsuit.
  • Evidence: Fact or material that tends to prove an allegation or defense in the lawsuit.
  • Neglect: An omission, failure to act or to restrain from doing an act that is required.
  • Negligence: Failure to do something or to use the care that a reasonable and prudent person would under the same circumstances.
  • Plaintiff: The party that sues by bringing a lawsuit and whose name appears on the record as the complaining party.
  • Pleadings: The formal allegations that each party makes about their respective claims and defences.
  • Respondeat Superior: A legal principle that holds an employer responsible for certain acts of his employee.
  • Statutory: Rules created by statute.
  • Verdict: The final decision of a jury.

(Source: Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed., 1979)

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