Legal jargon can seem endlessly confusing, making the legal process all the more daunting for most people. Fortunately, you can prepare yourself at least a little bit by getting to know some of the most commonly used terms in a legal case. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a great list for you below. Do remember, however, that although this is a great starting point, you’ll still want an attorney to guide you through the legal process.
Injury At Work
If you were recently injured on the job, you might be starting the process of filing a workers comp claim. If so, here are a few important terms you may need to be familiar with.
Workers Compensation (Workers Comp)
Injuries on the job are definitely not unheard of. That’s why workers comp is so important. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation is a type of insurance meant to protect employees. It’s mandatory for most (although not all) businesses in Pennsylvania to carry this type of coverage.
Depending on the situation, workers comp may be able to cover a range of different costs
associated with an injury.
Here are a few common examples:
This may include things such as general hospital bills, lab tests, surgeries, and more.
Payment for Lost Wages
In some cases, severe injuries can prevent you from being able to work. Workers comp may be able to cover some of these lost wages.
In the unfortunate case of an employee’s death on the job, the surviving dependents may receive some benefits via workers comp.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), personal injury law is meant to protect you “if you or your property is injured or harmed because of someone else’s act or failure to act.”
This is a huge umbrella term, however, and can be used in relation to everything from a slip & fall incident to medical malpractice.
Here are a few common examples of personal injuries:
Premises liability law comes into play when an injury occurs on someone else’s property. Some common examples of premise liability are pool accidents, unsafe sidewalks (resulting in an injury), animal attacks, and more.
For example, if someone is seriously injured by a misplaced clothing rack in a store, they should schedule a consultation with a lawyer.
According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), medical malpractice is when “a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient.”
For example, one of the most common examples of medical malpractice is sponges being left in a patient after surgery.
Do keep in mind, though, that not every unfavorable medical outcome is considered malpractice. For example, the existence of a doctor-patient relationship and a violation of the standard of care (negligence) are two big criteria in a medical malpractice case.
Although birth injury often falls under the medical malpractice umbrella, it is a big enough category to be mentioned. Every year in the US, thousands of babies are born with birth injuries. These often include fractured collarbones, cerebral palsy, brain damage, and much more.
Many of these injuries leave both the parent and child with lifelong emotional and physical consequences. Unfortunately, much of the time, these birth injuries are simply caused by mistakes made during the child’s delivery. For example, improper use of delivery tools and failure to monitor the mother/child correctly are two common causes of birth injuries.
If you suspect that you or your child have been the victim of medical malpractice, don’t hesitate to seek out a legal consultation. You don’t want to be left alone to shoulder the burden of lifelong medical bills.
If you’ve been injured as a result of someone’s negligence or actions, you may have medical bills or other losses as a result of the injury. In that case, damages is the term often used to describe the compensation that you may be entitled to.
Breaking this topic down even further, you may hear the terms “compensatory damages” and “punitive damages.” Most of the time, compensatory damages are the financial compensation awarded to the injured party. They are intended to make them whole and cover their losses. This might include money to cover medical bills, rehabilitation costs, therapy, etc… Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the person or business/organization that caused the harm. They are typically awarded on top of compensatory damages and can vary greatly by state.
Statute Of Limitations
The last (and possibly one of the most important) concepts that you’ll want to be familiar with is statute of limitations. Generally speaking, a statute of limitations refers to the amount of time that you have to initiate legal proceedings/action after an event. If you miss this window of time, you may be unable to recover any damages. That’s why it’s always best to contact a lawyer ASAP after your injury occurs. They’ll be aware of deadlines such as these and can help you file the necessary paperwork before the statute of limitations is up.
Keep in mind that the exact time span for a statute of limitations varies by state and case type. For example, most personal injury cases in Pennsylvania have a statute of limitations of two years. Do keep in mind that this doesn’t apply in the case of a lawsuit against a government entity. The window of time for those cases can run as short as six months.
Try not to wait until the last moment to tackle your personal injury claim. Take action as soon as possible following your injury.
Although this last bit of information isn’t necessarily legal or court-related, it’s still relevant in many personal injury cases. Oftentimes, insurance companies are heavily involved following an auto accident or work injury. This is because in many cases, they are the party ultimately paying out a large portion of the settlement or compensation.
Generally speaking, a claim is a request for payment/benefits sent to an insurance company or provider. In the case of an auto accident or a workplace injury, it’s always best to talk to a lawyer before filing a claim. You may also want to collect as much information related to the incident as possible to support your claim. For example, in the case of an auto accident, photos of the scene and a copy of the police report may be helpful to have on hand. For a work-related injury, keep all bills and medical paperwork related to the incident. If filing a workers comp claim, it’s also a good idea to begin the claims process soon after the injury since a significant delay can make it harder to receive adequate compensation.
Keep in mind that insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible and may not cover all of your actual expenses. An attorney may be able to help you receive more compensation. So contact one as early on as possible following your injury.
Personal Injury Lawyer In Philadelphia
Looking for a personal injury attorney that cares about you? The Cochran Firm Philadelphia office is just the place to start. We are a team of highly qualified, experienced attorneys. More than that, however, we know that the legal process can be daunting, so we do everything we can to make it easier for our clients.
The best part? Many of our cases are handled on a contingent fee basis. Rather than being an upfront cost, our fees are simply taken out of the money recovered for our client. We also offer FREE consultation, so you can learn more about our process before making any major decisions.
The Cochran Firm Philadelphia office works with cases related to birth injury, medical malpractice, car accidents, premises liability, and much more. Take action today by scheduling your first consultation.