Glossary of Personal Injury Terms
If you are involved in a personal injury lawsuit, you may encounter certain terms that you have never heard before or that have a specific technical meaning when used by lawyers, doctors or insurance companies in the context of a personal injury. Below are some terms which you may not be familiar with but that it may help to know in the course of your case or claim. If you have other questions or need advice and representation in a particular New York City accident or injury, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation.
Damages – The compensation sought for a personal injury or wrongful death is referred to as damages. Damages refer to any legal loss or detriment you have suffered, and can include compensation for property damage, past and future medical expenses, present and future lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of services.
Medically Stationary – This is the point where the patient is not expected to improve any further from medical treatment or the passage of time. This term is often used in the context of determining benefits under a workers’ compensation claim. Also, personal injury lawyers will generally wait until the client becomes medically stationary before filing a lawsuit or entering into settlement talks, because the full amount of damages can be estimated more fully after reaching this stage.
Med Pay – Med Pay is short for medical payments coverage. It is a type of coverage which may or may not be included in an insurance policy. When included, Med Pay usually covers reasonable expenses for medical costs and/or funeral expenses in the case of wrongful death. When Med Pay applies and what benefits it pays depends upon the particular terms of the policy. Med Pay generally does not cover future medical expenses or so-called non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Negligence – Negligence is usually defined as the failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would use in similar circumstances. A driver in a car accident is compared to other drivers in a similar situation, and a doctor in a medical malpractice case is compared to other doctors in the same field of medicine treating a similar case.
Statute of Limitations – this phrase refers to the length of time within which one is allowed to file a lawsuit following an accident or injury. If a lawsuit is not filed within this time frame, then any attempts to file a lawsuit may be unsuccessful, as the other party will likely file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In most cases, you have up to three years from the date of the injury, but there are significant differences depending upon the type of case, the defendant and other circumstances.
Tort – A tort is basically any civil (not criminal) wrong other than breach of contract for which the law provides a legal remedy, i.e. a lawsuit for damages.