Personal Injury Glossary

Learn More about Common Personal Injury Terms

The Roanoke personal injury attorneys at Skolrood Law Firm have compiled this list of common personal injury terms to help you understand the language used on our website or in legal documents related to your claim. If you have additional questions, please call us at (800) 477-5480 or fill out a free initial consultation form.

  • Appeal:
    A request from a plaintiff or defendant for a court to review a previous decision made on a case.
  • Beneficiary:
    The person who is designated to receive monetary benefits from a settlement, insurance policy, or conclusion of a case or trial.
  • Contingency Fee:
    The percentage of an award paid to an attorney at the resolution of a case or trial.
  • Damages:
    Money the insurance company pays or a judge or jury orders a defendant pay to a plaintiff in a civil case. Damages are either compensatory for repayment of loss or injury, or punitive and intended to punish the defendant.
  • Independent Medical Examination:
    A medical examination required by insurance companies and conducted by a doctor who is unaffiliated with a patient’s prior care. The examination reviews medical treatment and expenses and considers current and future impairment ratings and expected medical treatments.
  • Insurance Claims Adjuster:
    An employee of the insurance company who will review your claim, inspect your medical records and property damage, and negotiate a settlement offer on behalf of the insurance company.
  • Judgment:
    A decision by a judge or jury that finalizes a lawsuit or legal claim.
  • Liability:
    Legal responsibility of a person, company, or government for an incident that causes damage to another person or property.
  • Malpractice:
    Professional misconduct, often by a healthcare provider, that causes injuries or illness and is the result of negligence, carelessness, or malicious intent.
  • Negligence:
    The failure to take necessary or expected precaution and care for the circumstances of a situation, which causes injury or illness to another party.
  • Plaintiff:
    Party who brings legal action or a claim against another party for an injury or damages.
  • Settlement:
    A form of monetary compensation that’s agreed upon by both sides—with or without the admission of guilt—which brings the proceedings to a close without need of a trial.
  • Statute of Limitations:
    Time period when a legal claim is allowed to be filed. Any claims brought forth after the statute of limitations has expired are void and damages or compensation can’t be obtained.
  • Wrongful Death:
    Claim against another party for negligently causing death.