Making Changes To Your Life

A Client's Injury Law Vocabulary List

by Kristin Hawkins

Legal words have specific meanings, and anyone talking with a personal injury lawyer needs to be aware of what the big concepts are. Before you move forward with a claim, it may be helpful to add the following four legal ideas to your vocabulary.


At first, it might seem odd to distinguish the concept of liability from responsibility and fault. Liability, however, represents the legal conclusion that someone owes compensation to an injured party.

There are scenarios where someone might be responsible for an accident and even at fault for it, but they may not be liable. Usually, this occurs when the law doesn't recognize someone's right to seek compensation. If, for example, you went into the warehouse section of a store and ignored a "No Employees Beyond This Point" sign, there's a good chance the business wouldn't be liable for an accident that occurred there.

Liability presumes someone needed to take measures to prevent an incident from happening. If you slipped on a loose rug in the entryway of a business in an area where members of the public normally walk, the odds go up that the business would be found liable. The business has a duty to not endanger the public with a rug that could cause an accident.


A personal injury attorney will talk a lot about damages. This concept represents the money a victim is paid to make things right after an accident.

You may seek damages to cover your past, current, and medical expenses related to the injuries. Likewise, you can seek damages to cover lost wages and future earning potential. A victim's pain, suffering, and emotional trauma are also usually compensable. So too are the personal losses of things like the enjoyment of life, ability to parent, and marital consortium.

Statute of Limitations

The law limits how long people can wait to file claims in most cases. Normally, state laws limit claims to a two- to three-year period following an accident. There are exceptions for things like exposure to hazardous materials, some sexual abuse cases, and some injuries that don't become apparent for years. Always ask a personal injury attorney what the statute of limitations is for a case like yours.


When a personal injury lawyer submits a claim, they present a demand to the defendant or their insurer. The demand package includes a statement of why you deserve compensation and how much you require. Likewise, a good demand package will present evidence, legal precedents, and incident and medical reports that tie the defendant's conduct to the client's injuries.

For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer.