Your Guide to the Most Common Personal Injury Terms


It can be difficult to comprehend personal injury cases and everything that goes along with them. There are a lot of legal terms used here, but it can be difficult to understand them all and understand what is meant by all that legalese.

Working with an experienced Baton Rouge injury lawyer will give you someone to guide you and help you understand the details through the case proceedings.

Learn more about the most frequently used terminology in personal injury cases by continuing to read.


An affidavit is a type of document that holds pertinent information about a case. This document will be signed under oath and then notarized or witnessed. An affidavit intends to ensure that the parties involved swear to the truthfulness and accuracy of the contents of the document.

Case Value

A case value is the dollar amount that a personal injury claimant may be eligible to receive. This is meant to provide a reasonable expectation of compensation, taking into consideration the extent of damages and all other factors in the case. These figures may differ based on the specifics of the case and whether an out-of-court settlement is achieved.


Causation in a personal injury case determines whether the plaintiff’s damages were caused by the actions, or lack of actions, of the defendant. When the term proximate cause is used, this means that damages were a result that was foreseen from the defendant’s actions. Without causation, you cannot prove negligence, and therefore, the defendant can’t be held responsible.

Civil Case

Civil cases are cases in which a plaintiff is seeking compensation for losses sustained at the fault of the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct.


A claimant is a person who chooses to claim a personal injury case. They may also be referred to as the plaintiff or the victim in some cases.

Contingency Fees

Contingency fees are applicable fees paid to personal injury lawyers when a case is settled in the claimant’s favor. Contingency fees are only awarded in the event the case is settled outside of court or through a verdict in court. The fees are one-third of the settlement or verdict, on average.


Damages are the compensation sought in a personal injury case. This could include property damage, physical damage or injury, financial losses, or pain and suffering. Damages often include medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and any additional losses related to the case. Non-economic factors include pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of quality of life and may be included as well.


The defendant is the person against whom the claim is made. The plaintiff, or claimant, brings charges against the defendant, who then has to defend themselves.


A deposition is a legal interview that is completed outside of court, typically by an attorney. This generally happens during the discovery phase of a case. Witnesses from the opposing side are interviewed and recorded under oath. This can occur on both sides.


Discovery is a required exchange of information gathered during a case investigation. Both parties will exchange pertinent information about the case. This will include things like document requests, information, evidence, depositions, medical exam requests, and more.

Duty of Care

The defendant is bound by a duty of care, which is a legal obligation to be careful in their conduct in an effort to avoid personal injury to another by the defendant’s actions or lack of actions.

Expert Witness

An expert witness is deemed or certified as an expert in a specific industry or subject. They can provide opinions and input on technical information specifically related to their area of expertise.

First-Party Claim

This is a claim made to an insurance company by an injured person. It is the injured person filing a claim against their own insurance company.


Liability is a claim that is legally enforced against another party for damages for which they are responsible. These damages are related to negligence, recklessness, or misconduct. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff will be tasked with proving the negligence of the defendant.


A lien provides the right to be reimbursed for a personal injury claim. This is a third-party claim for personal injuries. The third party can request reimbursement for benefits, provided services, and other similar means.


Litigation is the process and steps that any personal injury lawsuit or claim will go through to reach a defined settlement.


Negligence is the actions, or lack of actions, that do not meet the reasonable duty of care to which an individual is held. The reasonable duty of care is the minimum expectation to ensure injury does not occur. This is the leading basis for personal injury claims.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering refers to non-economic damages that may be awarded to a plaintiff in a personal injury case. Pain and suffering are related to physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of life or enjoyment of life, or loss of consortium.

Personal Injury

A personal injury is defined as a physical, financial, or psychological injury caused to a person due to improper actions by another.


The plaintiff is the claimant or the victim of a case. They are the injured person who brings the legal action forward.


A settlement is a financial agreement reached between the plaintiff, defendant, and their legal counsel in a personal injury case. This settlement is an agreed-upon amount that settles the matter without going to court.

Prescriptive Period

This provides a limit on the time in which a personal injury lawsuit may be filed. This is also known as the statute of limitations.

Third-Party Claim

A third-party claim, such as an insurance claim, is filed by someone who is not the insured person or the insurance company. It may be the victim of an accident who files a third-party claim against the driver or their insurance in a car accident.


The verdict is the ruling of the jury and the judge when a case has been heard through the court system. This verdict determines the final decision of the court for the plaintiff’s damages and the defendant’s liability. The results of the verdict are legally binding for both parties.

Rely on an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

When you are involved in a personal injury case, knowing these terms will help you understand what is going on. It is in your best interests to use an experienced Baton Rouge injury lawyer if you have been injured due to negligence, recklessness, or misconduct from another party.

An experienced lawyer can help you seek compensation for the damages.

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