Arbitration: This is a way to settle your case and get you money without having to go to court. It’s like a mini-trial, but it is much quicker and less expensive. A retired judge or experienced attorney, known as the arbitrator, will act like the judge and decide how much money to award you for your injuries after each side puts on evidence and explains their case.
Complaint: This is just another term for lawsuit. This is the document that has to be filed in court and served on the person or business who harmed you. This document explains how you were injured and who injured you.
Defendant: This is the person or company who harmed you, the one who is being sued. They are defending themselves against the lawsuit.
Deposition: This is an in-person meeting, very much like a question-and-answer session, with the attorney for the insurance company. A court reporter will type everything you say and everything is asked. It is the opportunity for the lawyer to General damages: This is another term for pain and suffering. It’s an amount of money that is meant to make you whole for the pain, suffering, and discomfort you felt because of your injuries.
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Interrogatories and Requests for Production: These are requests that you must answer under oath that are sent by the insurance company. They are questions about you and your injuries and requests for documents such as medical records and tax returns. You and your lawyer can send these to the person or company who harmed you as well. You typically have 30 days to answer these questions and return them to the lawyers for the insurance company.
Jury foreman: In every trial, the jury has to pick one person to speak for the jury, to say out loud to the courtroom what amount of money they decided to award, if any. This is just another word for jury leader or jury spokesperson.
Loss of Consortium: This is an amount of money to compensate your spouse for the loss of your relationship, such as lack of a sexual relationship, because of your injuries.
Mediation: Mediation is a way to settle your case that doesn’t involve going to trial. The mediator is normally a retired judge or experienced attorney who will host you and your attorney and the insurance company at their office and make suggestions on how much your case is worth. The mediator cannot force you to settle your case.
Motion: A legal document you or your attorney will file asking the judge to do something in your case.
Motion for Summary Judgment: This is a motion that asks the judge to decide an issue on your case. For example, the motion could be used to end your case entirely.
Pain and Suffering: This is an amount of money you should receive for the pain and discomfort you went through because of the accident, also known as general damages.
PIP: This stands for Personal Injury Protection. This is car insurance that pays your medical bills. This is your own car insurance. They will ask to be repaid a portion of the bills they paid.
Plaintiff: This is the person who files or brings the lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations: This is the time period you have to bring a lawsuit. Normally, it is only two or three years. This means from the date of your accident, you have two years to file the case in court. It doesn’t mean the case has to be completed in two years. It just means it has to be filed in court.
Subpoena: This is a legal request to get some kind of document. Subrogation: This is the repayment of medical bills to a health or car insurance company.
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UIM: This stands for Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This is a kind of car insurance that you purchase to protect you in case you were hit by someone who either was driving without insurance or very little insurance. By having UIM insurance, you can make a claim against your insurance company to get money for your injuries.
With and Without Prejudice: This is a term to decide whether you can bring your case again. If for some your case is dismissed with prejudice, this means you cannot bring your case again. If your case is dismissed without prejudice, it means you can file your case again. To be clear, if your case is final because you won money or received a settlement, you cannot bring your claim again.