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Common Terms You'll Hear in Your Personal Injury Case

Jeff Martin June 29, 2022

If you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer after your accident, you will begin the legal process with an initial consultation with an attorney. Before your visit, you will likely have a list of questions to ask to help you determine next steps. In turn, your lawyer may use a lot of terms that you may or may not understand.

While some of these terms may seem confusing or foreign, your attorney should explain what they mean in the context of your case. Every personal injury case is different, but personal injury cases all have a few key elements. The more you know about your case, the better you can work with your attorney toward your recovery.

It's easy to feel powerless after an accident, but when it comes to your personal injury case, knowledge is power. Do not hesitate to call a personal injury lawyer near you if you have any questions at all. Here are a few common terms and phrases you may hear throughout your case:

1. Negligence

Negligence occurs when someone owes a duty to another person and fails to observe that duty. Negligence has a few essential elements. The first element determines whether a defendant (wrongdoer) owed you a duty of care. The second element examines whether the defendant breached that duty. Without these elements, your claim may not prevail.

The third element pertains to whether the defendant's breach of duty (negligent actions) caused your injuries. Additionally, you will need to prove that the defendant's actions were the proximate cause of your injuries, meaning that they should have known their actions would cause injury. Finally, you must prove that you suffered injuries that you can be compensated for.

2. Personal injury court

If you watch a lot of crime shows, you have probably seen dramatizations of criminal courtrooms. If you suffer injuries in an accident and need to file a claim, you will work with an attorney to file a claim in civil court or personal injury court. In Oklahoma, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim for compensation. If you fail to file your case in time, you may lose your right to pursue compensation. That's why it's crucial to contact a personal injury attorney after your accident as soon as possible.

3. Bodily injury claims

If you've been hurt in an accident, your filing will likely include bodily injury claims alleging that you sustained various injuries during your accident. Bodily injury claims usually include medical bills and lost wages, and they are typically paid by the defendant's insurance company. If you were in a car accident, know that most auto insurance policies include bodily injury coverage.

4. Property damage lawsuit

In your personal injury filing, you will likely also make a claim for property damage in addition to bodily injury claims. After a car accident, for example, property damage would include damage to your car or any other objects in your vehicle that were damaged or destroyed as a result of the accident. If you did not sustain injuries in your accident, you can still file a property damage lawsuit if your property was affected due to someone else's negligence.

When you visit with a personal injury lawyer for the first time, you may feel overwhelmed with legal jargon. However, an injury attorney will explain the terms you are unfamiliar with. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer in Tulsa, call Jeff Martin Law now.