15 Legal Terms You Should Know, According to a Personal Injury Attorney
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on July 21, 2021
Being able to communicate with legal terminology isn’t confined to the courtroom—many industries and environments require a working knowledge of legal terms. In fact, having a handle of these terms can give you a competitive advantage in many business environments, boosting your professionalism and know-how.
No matter how many John Grisham novels you’ve read or Law and Order episodes you’ve binged, it’s likely there’s still some rapport you may not know–keep reading to familiarize yourself with 15 common yet important legal terms.
- Damages – Simply put, damages are the amount of money awarded during a lawsuit. If you suffer an economic, mental, or physical loss or injury, and successfully sue another party, you receive damages. There are two primary types of damages, compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages cover the extent of loss, such as hospital bills or lost wages, while punitive damages act as additional punishment for crimes committed by the defendant.
- Tort – The French word for “wrong.” A wrongful act, whether intentional or unintentional. Breaching a proven duty to another person. Tort law is far-reaching, as it holds people responsible for wrongful acts across every sector.
- A priori – Meaning “what comes before.” Legally, it an idea or claim that is taken as a given, due to past cases.
- Statute – A law, enacted by legislature. Also called “acts,” federal statutes must be passed by Congress.
- Action – Another word for a case or lawsuit. A court proceeding.
- Demurrer – “To object,” a motion to dismiss. A defense that asserts that even if certain facts are true, they aren’t relevant enough to establish a valid cause of action.
- Prima facie case – Meaning “first impression,” a prima facie case indicates that the initial facts of the case are true unless disproved. At early screening, the facts are self-evident, and court can proceed.
- Misdemeanor – A crime less serious than felony, punishable by a fine or jail time for less than a year. Misdemeanors are tried in the lowest level court.
- Writ – A written order by a judge or jurisdictive force, commanding/requiring a specific action. A warrant or subpoena are examples of types of writ.
- Admissible – Evidence that is acceptable or valid in court. Must be relevant for furthering the case.
- Act of God – An event caused by natural phenomena that could not be prevented, even with reasonable foresight. Examples include floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.
- Adjudication – The legal process of deciding a dispute or case. To be decided, a case must be “ripe for adjudication,” meaning that it is substantial and grounded enough to proceed.
- Aid and Abet – To assist someone with a crime, whether it be through encouragement or physical effort. If you aid and abet in a crime, you are held criminally liable.
- Recusal – When a judge or lawyer is removed from a case, due to conflict of interest, such as a business or family relationship. Can be voluntary or involuntary.
- Wanton – Behavior or action that is particularly inhumane or dangerous.
For more information about important legal terms or the legal field in general, check out other articles on our blog. And as always, if you or a loved one is in need of an experienced personal injury law firm that defends the rights of victims in Kentucky or Southern Indiana, call 502-459-7555 today to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced Cooper & Friedman PLLC attorney.