Essential Terms and Phrases for Injured Accident Victims To Know
When searching for a top motor vehicle accident lawyer Hyattsville MD residents trust, it’s likely that an injured accident claimant will have many questions related to their case. Especially when an accident involves many unique factors, or several parties involved, it can be difficult to prove liability and receive compensation.
At Cohen & Cohen, our legal team has had extensive experience handling cases for injured accident victims. While no lawyer can really call themselves “the best” motor vehicle accident lawyer Hyattsville MD has to offer, our team of attorneys has built up a strong reputation in the local community for being trustworthy, dependable, and effective. We understand that these cases can become very complex — but it’s our duty to provide valuable legal counsel to ensure that each client receives the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Understanding the details of what happens in a car accident injury lawsuit might not be easy. Many injured victims choose to seek settlements through negotiation or through arbitration, often under the legal counsel of a top motor vehicle accident lawyer Hyattsville MD trusts. However, if negotiations do not produce a settlement that is accepted by both sides, or if a liability dispute ties up the process, it might be in the claimant’s best interest to pursue compensation through a civil court lawsuit.
As a seasoned Hyattsville MD motor vehicle accident lawyer might agree, some of the confusion in personal injury cases is focused around the complicated terminology used by lawyers and in the courtroom. If you believe that your claim might require a lawsuit, it can be essential to understand what these terms and phrases mean. Here’s a quick guide to some important terms that may appear in a personal injury claim or lawsuit after an accident:
- Plaintiff: The individual who files the civil court complaint or insurance company claim. For a car accident injury, the plaintiff would be the injured victim.
- Defendant: The individual (or organization) against whom the complaint or claim is filed. In many car accident cases, the defendant would likely be the other driver’s insurance company. In truck accidents, the defendant may be the trucking company’s insurer or even the vehicle manufacturer, depending on how the accident occurred.
- Statute of limitations: The amount of time an injured person has to file an injury claim or a civil court lawsuit after an injury occurs. Each state has different regulations for these time periods and it’s important for an accident victim to file all necessary paperwork before this time is up.
- Settlement: When a car accident claim is negotiated outside of the courtroom, both sides agree on an amount of money that the plaintiff will receive. This amount is called the settlement. Settlements in a car accident injury case may include financial compensation for medical care, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering. It is important to keep in mind that many factors can affect the exact settlement for an injured victim.
- Burden of proof: This phrase references the person or party that has the responsibility of proving liability for an accident. In a car accident injury case, the burden of proof falls upon the plaintiff who makes the claim or files a lawsuit for damages.
- Negligence: Many car accident cases involve some form of negligence, as a seasoned motor vehicle accident lawyer Hyattsville MD trusts might explain. A person is considered legally negligent, and therefore liable if an accident occurs, when he/she fails to exercise reasonable care as is expected. “Reasonable care” for drivers often includes tasks that most drivers are trained to do for safety purposes; it may include signaling before making a lane change, checking in blind spots for other vehicles, and ensuring that all external equipment (e.g., brake lights) are in working order.
Some terms and phrases are more specific to civil court proceedings:
- Cause of action: This is the legal term used to describe specific reasons for filing a complaint in a civil court. In a car accident case, an injured plaintiff might choose to bring forth multiple causes of action; however, as an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer Hyattsville MD can provide might attest, this depends on what happened during the accident.
- Prayer for relief: The specific dollar amount that the plaintiff is requesting in his/her complaint, to be paid by the defendant to the plaintiff under the court’s instructions.
- Process and service: This procedure occurs after the plaintiff files his/her complaint with the appropriate court. The clerk produces a copy of the complaint and a summons for the defendant, against whom the complaint has been filed. There is a certain time period within which the complaint and summons must be served to the defendant. As a motor vehicle accident lawyer Hyattsville MD has to offer might explain, the process of serving these documents is different in every state and it’s essential that this procedure is done correctly.
- Defendant’s answer: After the plaintiff serves the necessary documents to the defendant, the defendant must file a response in court called the “answer.” This document outlines any defenses that the individual will present against allegations made by the plaintiff.
- Interrogatory: A written question-and-answer procedure conducted by a lawyer or law enforcement official to obtain information about an accident from a witness, defendant, or plaintiff. Interrogatories are conducted outside of the courtroom but the information provided in these written statements is considered under oath.
- Deposition: A verbal question-and-answer procedure conducted by a lawyer or law enforcement official to obtain information about an accident from a witness, defendant, or plaintiff. Depositions may be performed outside of the courtroom, but individuals who testify are still under oath when answering questions.
Contact a Local Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Hyattsville MD Residents Can Rely On
When you need a local motor vehicle accident lawyer in Hyattsville MD you can trust, Cohen & Cohen is here to help. We have provided legal counsel to countless accident victims in the past and we’re confident that we can assist clients even when their cases become complicated. By providing realistic expectations to our clients, and by providing clients with information about car accident injury claims, the local community knows that our legal team is dependable and effective.
For more information about Cohen & Cohen, or to schedule a free case evaluation with a top motor vehicle accident lawyer Hyattsville MD residents trust, contact us today.