Personal Injury Glossary of Terms 

Being injured because of the negligence or recklessness of another person or entity can be a challenging situation. There’s a good chance you will have extensive medical bills due to accident-related injuries and be unable to return to work for several weeks, months, or longer. 

These factors can create a huge amount of stress for anyone. While this is true, you have legal rights. One right is to file a lawsuit and recover monetary compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained. To ensure your rights are protected, we recommend contacting our legal team at Fetterman & Associates, PA. 

Our legal team not only understands Florida personal injury law, but we can also explain the legal process, unknown or unfamiliar terms used, and more. Here you can also learn more about common terms used in personal injury cases. 

Common Terms Used in Florida Personal Injury Cases

Common legal terms used during a personal injury lawsuit that you need to understand to help protect your rights include the following:

Accident Report 

The accident report is created (in most situations) by a law enforcement officer. However, if you experience a slip and fall claim or one on other private property, then the manager or property owner may create the report. 

Regardless of who creates the report, make sure to provide it to the attorney hired for your case. The accident report usually includes information that is essential for your personal injury claim. 

Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP)

PIP is Personal Injury Protection, a unique type of auto insurance coverage required in Florida. Drivers must offer benefits for loss of income, medical costs, funeral costs, and related costs, regardless of who is at fault for an accident. 

The minimum coverage requirements for drivers in Florida include $2,500 for any non-emergency medical conditions, $5,000 in total death benefits, and $10,000 in medical benefits. 

Comparative Negligence

This is the process of comparing a defendant’s level of negligence to that of the plaintiff. Your percentage of fault reduces the damages you can receive if you file a personal injury lawsuit. 

Burden of Proof

This requirement in personal injury cases states someone must prove something to achieve a certain outcome for their case. In any personal injury claim, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. They must show they have experienced harm due to the defendant’s negligence. 

Wrongful Death

This is a claim made on behalf of someone’s beneficiaries or survivors if they pass away due to negligent or wrongful conduct by another party. This type of claim is typically filed by individuals who depended on the deceased party financially while they were alive. 

Some of the damages awarded in wrongful death claims include medical costs incurred before death, lost income from the deceased individual, and the loss of consortium. 

Compensation 

This is something that makes up for any loss a person incurs because of an accident and injury caused by another party’s recklessness or negligence. Compensation is also referred to as damages in personal injury cases (in many situations). 

Negligence

Negligence is a factor that determines if you have the right to file a personal injury claim. The term refers to an unreasonable action or someone’s failure to act that causes harm to another person. As mentioned, negligence is considered the “standard” when determining liability in any Florida personal injury case. 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

It is required for all drivers in Florida to have certain insurance minimums. Along with the standard requirements, you can purchase uninsured motorist coverage, which will provide coverage if the other driver has no coverage. While this is illegal, it is a situation that occurs more often than people realize. 

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

This is another extended type of coverage drivers can choose to add to their auto insurance policy. It can cover bodily damage that another motorist causes if they don’t have adequate coverage to pay for it. This policy aims to provide the injured individual with compensation over what the at-fault party’s policy provides. 

Duty

In cases involving negligence, the “duty” refers to a person’s obligation to provide a specific standard of care. If this obligation is not met, it is considered negligence. It also creates the right for the injured party to take legal action. 

Loss of Consortium 

This group of losses is common in wrongful death cases and personal injury cases with devastating injuries like paralysis, TBIs, etc. This term encompasses things like the loss of companionship, the loss of guidance from a parent, and similar damages. 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A traumatic brain injury occurs when some external force results in the dysfunction of the brain. It typically results from a jolt or violent blow to the body or head. TBIs can also be caused by an object that penetrates the skull. 

Expert Witness 

This is a person who is hired to testify in a personal injury case due to their proficiency or specialized knowledge in a certain field. Examples of expert witnesses include accident reconstruction experts or doctors who specialize in specific types of injuries, such as TBIs, and how they occur. 

Judgment 

A judgment is a decision that a jury or judge issues in a personal injury case. 

Statute of Limitations 

The statute of limitations is a law that determines how long someone has to file a lawsuit against someone else. The time period starts (in most cases) when the incident occurs. 

In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is four years. The exception to this is with wrongful death and medical malpractice cases, which have a statute of limitations of two years. 

Additionally, if a personal injury lawsuit is filed against the state, county, or city government, the statute of limitations is three years. 

Premises Liability 

Property owners and occupiers have a legal responsibility to compensate anyone who experiences certain injuries while on the property. An example is if someone is injured in a slip-and-fall accident caused by something spilled on the floor. If the spill should have been found and fixed, then the individual can sue the property owner or occupier and receive compensation. 

Hire an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney to Help with Your Case

As you can see, all types of terms are used in personal injury cases that you may not understand. Because of this, it is essential that you hire an experienced and reputable attorney to help with your case. 

At Fetterman & Associates, PA, we can provide you with the legal services and solutions you need and ensure you get the best possible outcome for your case. The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation. We can review the facts of your case and create a plan to move forward with the legal process. 

If you are injured, the outcome can impact your life now and in the future. Let us help you recover the compensation you deserve. 

Read More

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