The Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Glossary of Terms (Part 1): Know the Basics!

The Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Glossary of Terms (Part 1): Know the Basics!


{2:10 minutes to read} When an individual is injured and believes that someone else is responsible, they often seek an attorney’s advice on what to do. This article is an introduction to terms and concepts that apply to personal injury cases. It is intended to help people better understand the discussions that may take place with an attorney so that they can decide how to move forward.

The Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Legal Terms

  1. Client: A person who hires an attorney to pursue a monetary claim as a result of personal injury suffered by that person.

  2. Attorney: A professional who has completed the study of law and has the authority to speak with insurance companies, other attorneys and a court of law, on their client’s behalf. The attorney should have experience with personal injury cases.

  3. Claim: A demand for money payments after an individual is injured as a result of somebody’s carelessness or recklessness.

  4. Lawsuit: A legal claim, which is filed in writing, with a court of law, and asks the court for a money award for the injuries for the injured person from the person who caused their injuries.

  5. Plaintiff: The injured person who asks the court for a money award.

  6. Defendant: The person against whom a claim is brought.

  7. Duty: The obligation to behave in a manner that prevents other people from being injured.

  8. Negligence: When someone’s conduct breaches a duty to another person and causes them to be injured.

  9. Damages: A dollar value that reflects the injuries suffered by a person as a result of someone else’s negligence.

    • Damages can include:

      1. Past and future medical bills;

      2. Past and future lost wages; and

      3. A dollar value for the past and future pain and suffering (loss of enjoyment of life) experienced by the injured party.

  10. Notice: When someone knew or should have known about a dangerous defect or hazard before it caused an injury to another party.

In my next article, we will continue to look at more terms that are important to know.

If you have questions about the process of hiring and utilizing a personal injury attorney, please call us at 212-809-4293 or email us at


Ron Katter

Katter Law Firm
Phone: 844-WAS-HURT
Alt Phone: 212-809-4293