By Alison De Villiers

It is our job as lawyers to make sure you understand what is happening in your case and to guide you through the process. In personal injury cases, not only will legal “jargon” be used, but clients must also sort through medical “jargon.” As such, we have created a cheat sheet for some of the terms you may encounter during a personal injury case.

Acceleration-Deceleration Injury: Injury caused by the hyperextension-hyperflexion of the neck, commonly diagnosed following a rear-end collision.

Acute injury: Injury with recent onset

Affidavit: A written statement made under oath.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Any method used to resolve disputes other than traditional trial proceedings, such as mediation or arbitration.

Ambulate: To walk

Answer: A formal court filing which contains the defendant’s response to the plaintiff’s complaint. A defendant, in the State of Ohio, has 28 days to answer, admit, or deny the allegations in plaintiff’s complaint.

Appeal: Asking a higher court to review the decision or sentence of a lower court because the lower court made an error.

Arbitration: An alternative to trial where a neutral panel is presented with evidence and issues a decision, which is often binding.

Bad Faith: Actions by an insurer which mislead an insured; Refusal of an insurer to fulfill a contractual or legal duty.

Bursitis: A condition where the small, fluid-filled sacs, called bursae, that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles near your joints become inflamed.

Cervical: Neck

Chronic: Persistent; long-lasting

Comparative Fault: A rule of law that requires a party to pay its share of the damages in proportion to its fault.  Under Ohio law, if a plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, the plaintiff cannot recover damages.

Complaint: A formal legal document that initiates a lawsuit.

Costs: Expenses in prosecuting or defending a case in court, which does not include attorney’s fees.

Damages: The harm resulting from an injury, usually compensated for with money.

Degenerative Disc Disease: Deterioration of the discs of the spine, usually caused by the aging process or the effects of trauma.

Default Judgment: Judgment in favor of the plaintiff when the defendant has failed to answer or otherwise appear before the Court.

Demand Letter: A letter sent to a defendant to initiate negotiations, usually specifying the basis for plaintiff’s claims and a monetary demand.

Deposition: Out of court testimony given under oath and typically reduced to writing.

Directed Verdict: Where the Court rules at the close of evidence that an opposing party has failed to put forth sufficient evidence, even when viewed in a light most favorable to the opposing party, to support their claims.

Disc Bulge: When a disc of the spine is slightly moved out of position, but the disc material remains contained within the disc.

Disc Herniation: When a disc of the spine ruptures or is pushed outside of its normal position, which can cause the disc to touch the nerve root and cause pain, tingling, and numbness.

DiscoveryA formal request by one party in a lawsuit to disclose information or facts known by other parties or witnesses.

Next time, we will go over terms E-L.

If you find yourself needing to pursue a personal injury case, you should keep as much documentation as possible, including records of medical visits, photographs, and contact information for witnesses. You should not submit to a recorded statement or sign any papers until you have consulted with an attorney.