There’s a term you might have heard before called “legalese.” It’s a sort of catchall that includes legal jargon that you might hear in a courtroom or when you’re talking to a lawyer.
Some lawyers or other individuals use legalese because they wish to confuse or obfuscate. They want to talk circles around you, so you don’t know how to respond. Maybe you get so flustered that you lose ground in an argument.
If you’re not a lawyer, you might not always know what some of these terms mean. However, you should learn at least a few of them so that if you encounter these terms, you generally understand what the person saying them is trying to convey.
Let’s run down a few of those legal terms right now.
Wrongful death is right at the top of the legal terms list about which you should probably know. It’s an ominous-sounding term, and where you hear someone say “wrongful death,” you should know that a lawsuit is probably in the offing.
Wrongful death is what a lawyer might call it when someone brings a claim against a person or entity that caused someone else to die. If that person or entity was negligent, that’s when someone can call it wrongful death, and they might go after that individual or entity in court. If they can’t defend themselves adequately, they’ll either have to settle or risk a judgment against them.
Statute of Limitation
Statute of limitation is another legal term you should probably know. It refers to a time during which you must act if you’re trying to file a personal injury claim.
Say, for instance, that you fell in a store and hurt your back. You take some time trying to decide whether you want to pursue a premises liability lawsuit.
You have to figure it out one way or the other before the statute of limitations expires. That time will be different for each state and legal filing. Some offenses have no limitation statute, meaning you can sue the individual or entity that harmed you whenever you choose, regardless of how much time has elapsed.
A settlement happens when two sides meet outside of a courtroom to resolve their dispute. Maybe you’re suing a company because their defective product harmed you. You have ample evidence to back up your claim, and the company and its lawyers know that.
Rather than dragging out the trial and possibly paying a large penalty, they might want to settle with you. Their lawyer will offer you a particular sum, the settlement amount.
If the number works for you, you might accept it right there, thereby stopping the trial from moving forward. A company may want to do that to avoid any negative publicity. If you feel like the settlement offer is not for enough money, you might tell your lawyer to counter with a number that you like more.
You probably know the term “negligence” already, but it means something specific in a courtroom setting. There, negligence usually means that someone did not provide a care standard that some authoritative body says you should have expected.
For example, maybe you had what should have been minor surgery, but the doctor botched it somehow. There are always surgery risks, but this doctor did something so egregiously wrong that they were negligent in providing the proper care standard.
To prove negligence in this situation, you might call expert witnesses. These might be other doctors who can say, definitely, based on their expertise, that this doctor should not have done anything remotely like what they did. The doctor acted contrary to regularly approved and accepted medical procedures, which entitles you to financial compensation.
This is another word you doubtless know already, but it means something specific in legal circles. In a personal injury lawsuit, fault means who caused the injury. If you sue someone, that usually indicates you’re alleging that they did or didn’t do something that directly caused an injury or accident.
Let’s say you make it through the trial without a settlement offer, and you hear the verdict. The jury will likely decide whether to award you any money based on whether they think the defendant caused the harm that you say they did.
If the jury agrees that it was the defendant’s fault, you’ll likely see some money. If they feel like what happened was your fault, then you will not.