Each and every personal injury case is different, however, there are terms that are common to almost every case. This article will discuss some common and basic terms and their meanings used when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Basic Terms: Case Nature and Validity
Below are some basic terms on the nature and validity of a personal injury case, to be looked out for:
- Burden of proof – this refers to the plaintiff’s obligation to prove that what they allege the defendant did is true. There are different thresholds of proof that can be applied depending on the type of case in question. In personal injury cases, the burden of proof applied is a plaintiff must prove by ‘a preponderance of the evidence’. This basically means that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions ‘more likely than not’ caused the injuries.
- Strict liability – this is a legal theory imposing liability for certain actions or injuries causing damage no matter who was at fault. Strict liability is often applied in cases that involve defective products. These hold manufacturers responsible for the injuries suffered due to using their products. Therefore, strict liability shifts the burden of proof to the defendant. The defendant must prove that they are not liable for the allegations being brought against them.
- Damages – these are what a plaintiff seeks to recover in a lawsuit. Put simply, in a personal injury lawsuit; damages equal money. Damages are separated into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are damages that can easily have a dollar value placed on them. For example, medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle repair bills, transport costs, etc. Non-economic damages are damages that are not easy to put a dollar figure on them. For example, pain and suffering, humiliation, mental anguish, anxiety, etc. One example of a non-economic damage is trying to put a dollar amount on suffering one year of insomnia.