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Need a Personal Injury Attorney? Know the Legal Language

plank-dennis-personal-injury-attorney-Lancaster-County-PennsylvaniaBy Dennis L. Plank, Attorney

Individuals who are looking for a Lancaster personal injury attorney have many concerns. How will they pay their medical bills? What will happen if they can’t return to work? Understanding the personal injury terms shouldn’t be one of them.

People who have suffered an injury in Lancaster County due to the negligence of another have legal options to alleviate some worries and seek financial compensation for lost work, medical bills, and more.

However, the complexities of a personal injury case, along with confusing legal language, often cause more stress and worry. If you know someone who is looking for a personal injury lawyer, sharing these important personal injury terms can help them be more knowledgable about the process:

Personal Injury Term: Adjudicate

To adjudicate means to make a judgment in a legal case.

Personal Injury Term: Assumption of Risk

When a personal injury attorney is working on a case, the defendant may use the assumption of risk defense to argue that the injured person knowingly participated in an activity that could cause them harm. To be effective, however, the injury must be related to the inherent risk of the activity. For instance, a spectator at a baseball game might assume the risk of injury from a foul ball, but not from collapsing bleachers.

Personal Injury Term: Civil Rights

Civil rights are a group of rights possessed by all citizens under the protection of the U.S. Constitution. If a person, company or government agency violates those rights, an individual can sue to recover damages. A personal injury attorney may be able to help.

Personal Injury Term: Claim

A claim is a legal demand for compensation for an injury due to negligence.


Comparative Negligence

In some personal injury cases, both parties are at fault. Comparative negligence is a legal rule that determines how much fault belongs to each party. Some states follow a pure rule, where each party can seek compensation, but their final award is reduced by their percentage of fault. Pennsylvania, however, follows a modified rule, meaning an injured party must be less than 51 percent at fault to seek compensation from the other party.


Damages is a term for the financial compensation awarded in a personal injury case. A qualified personal injury attorney will work to get you the damages you deserve. Economic damages can compensate for financial losses due to medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages address the less-tangible consequences of an injury, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of the ability to pursue activities of daily living and leisure.


The defendant is the person or group sued in a personal injury case.

Personal Injury Term: Fraud

Fraud occurs when a person provides false information regarding a personal injury claim, files a claim for an injury that never occurred, or provides false evidence to try to prove a claim. Filing a fraudulent claim can result in a loss of insurance coverage, fines, or even jail time. A responsible Lancaster personal injury attorney will not represent clients attempting to win damages based on fraud.

Personal Injury Term: Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is a total disregard for the safety of another that goes beyond simple carelessness or a failure to act. An example might be a nursing home that fails to provide a resident with food and water. Damages awarded are often higher in cases of gross negligence and may include punitive damages that are meant to punish the defendant. A skilled Lancaster personal injury attorney will help you identify gross negligence.


A legal action brought by one party, the plaintiff, against another, the defendant, to seek damages for an injury.


In a personal injury case, liability means that one party is legally responsible for the other party’s injuries.

Personal Injury Term: Negligence

Negligence is the failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or harm to another person. To prove it, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had a responsibility to avoid causing harm, that he failed to meet that responsibility, and that the breach of responsibility caused the injury. An experienced Lancaster personal injury attorney will help their clients prove negligence when warranted.

Partial Disability

A partial disability is any kind of disability in which a worker is no longer able to perform a job at full capacity.


Personal Injury

Personal injury is an injury to a person’s body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property.


An agreement between both parties in a lawsuit, resolving the claim for an agreed-upon sum of money. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you determine if your settlement is fair.

Personal Injury Term: Strict Liability

Also known as absolute liability, strict liability is legal responsibility for injury or harm regardless of whether there is proof of fault or negligence. Such cases typically involve injury due to defective products, in which the plaintiff does not need to prove the manufacturer acted carelessly but only that the product caused harm.


A verdict is a judge or jury’s final decision on a case.

Personal Injury Term: Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death is a lawsuit filed against an individual or company for the death of a person due to negligence or wrongful behavior. Often filed by a family member, the lawsuit typically seeks damages for pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses, loss of earning capacity and more. A seasoned Lancaster personal injury attorney will help you determine the amount of damages you may be entitled to in cases of wrongful death.

Are You Ready to Talk to a Lancaster Personal Injury Attorney?

These are just a few of the terms victims should know if they have suffered a personal injury. Fortunately, they don’t have to navigate the legal waters alone. Contact the Law Offices of Going and Plank for a free consultation. We determine if our clients have a strong case and help them receive the compensation they deserve.

Want to find out more about Dennis Plank? Read these articles and blogs:

Steps to Take After a Traffic Collision

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal Injury: Terms You Need to Know

Or click here to discover an even wider range of legal topics in our legal blog.

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