Even the simplest of personal injury cases can still be muddled with a slew of legal terms that might seem like they’re in a different language. With personal injury being so common, it’s important to be well versed in this terminology whether you’re a lawyer or not. Read on to learn some of the most important terms relevant to this field.
Burden of Proof
The term “burden of proof” refers to the obligation held by a plaintiff (the one to whom the accident occurred) to prove to some degree that the defendant is responsible. So, in layman’s terms, the person that got hurt must show that the defendant was in some way responsible for their injury. This does not have to be an all or nothing type deal—it’s only necessary for the plaintiff to show it was even likely that the defendant was culpable… many times, this is sufficient.
To learn more about burden of proof in further detail, read this article.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a timeframe set in which a case must be brought to court otherwise it can no longer be litigated. Think of it like an expiration date for an accusation. For personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is somewhere around two to three years, a stark contrast from a potential TEN year statue in civil cases.
The statute of limitations in your area will be dependent upon your respective state’s laws. To see each individual state’s unique set of laws, check out this webpage. If you’re based out of Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, read our other blog post that covers their specific laws.
This is a fairly common word and its definition stays fairly consistent in the legal context. Negligence is closely tied to burden of proof, a term we examined above, in that proving negligence on behalf of the defendant often requires exhibiting some level of proof.
To demonstrate negligence, there must be four factors present: duty, breach, cause, and damages. The plaintiff must prove that the defending party had a duty (for example: ensuring everyone is properly strapped in on an amusement park ride) that they breached (failure to check and see if everyone was strapped). Then, when an injury occurs during the ride, the breach would be the failure of the ride operator to check everyone’s seats. This in turn caused the injury, making the amusement park itself negligent.
No fault is a relatively straightforward term that is most applicable to personal injuries sustained in automobile accidents, a legal category we also offer services in! Only some states have enacted laws involving no fault, often contingent upon every auto owner having some form of personal injury protection insurance.
In a no fault case, the plaintiff simply collects from their own insurance company as opposed to taking the defendant to court and attempting to demonstrate culpability. No fault only covers injuries up to a certain amount; once this amount is exceeded, no fault can no longer be applied and the case must be settled normally.
While we hope you never have to apply these terms or get in a situation using personal injury law, staying informed is your greatest weapon. Even better, have a trusted partner in helping you WIN. You can give us a call at (513) 961-6200 and follow our Facebook page for more tips like this!