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Fort Lauderdale Workers' Compensation Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Standard Personal Injury Terms Defined

Standard Personal Injury Terms Defined

court hammer on top of money

gavel and settlement moneyInjury Attorney Helping Florida Victims Understand Personal Injury Terms

During your personal injury lawsuit, you will hear various terms from your attorney, from the paperwork that you read, and from the insurance company. While you do not need to attend law school to understand them, the more you know about the personal injury process and terminology, the easier it might be for you. Along the way, if you are ever unsure, ask your personal injury attorney to clarify what the terms mean.

What Are the Most Common Terms in a Personal Injury Case?

Every personal injury claim is different, but there are certain terms that are standard for every case – regardless of whether you have a nursing home neglect case or a motor vehicle accident, for example.


You, the injured party, are the plaintiff. You are the one bringing the lawsuit against the party that you feel is responsible for causing your accident.


The complaint is your personal injury lawsuit. It initiates the lawsuit by filing a complaint with the local court, and you express your grievances and resolution demands in the complaint.


The defendant is the party being held responsible for your injuries. It might be a person, business, or multiple parties.

Assumption of Risk

When you voluntarily proceed with something that is risky, despite knowing the dangers, the defense may argue that you have assumed the risk. Therefore, they may argue that you cannot seek damages because you were responsible for your injuries.

Comparative Negligence

Under Florida law, comparative negligence refers to your contribution to your own injuries and accident. If the courts feel that you are partially at fault, it can assign a percentage of fault to you. In this instance, the amount of fault assigned to you would be deducted from your compensation.

For example, say you receive a $100,000 settlement, but the courts decide that you are 20 percent at fault. Your claim would then be reduced by 20 percent, leaving you with a settlement of $80,000.

Compensation and Damages

Compensation is the money that you receive to make up for your losses. Damages are the monetary payments that you receive for your injury or loss due to a person’s negligence. Damages come in two forms: Compensatory and punitive.


“Duty” refers to the defenses duty or obligation to provide a reasonable standard of care in a situation. Their failure to do so resulted in the accident, and is the basis for your negligence complaint.


Negligence refers to the negligent acts or failure to act with reasonable care. It consists of four components: Duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. All four elements must be present in your case to file a claim for compensation.

Preponderance of the Evidence

In a personal injury claim, you are not proving that the defense is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, you are proving guilt by a preponderance of proof. Furthermore, the burden of proof lies on you, the plaintiff, to show that the defendant meets the four elements of negligence.

Turn to an Attorney Who Can Help You Navigate the Complex Waters of Injury Law

Personal injury claims are complex. Not only are there endless terms to familiarize yourself with, but you also have numerous procedures and statutes to deal with, too. So, focus on your recovery while the injury attorneys from the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld P.A. seek compensation on your behalf. Schedule your case evaluation with our attorneys today by calling 954-677-0155 or by asking our attorneys a question online.

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