If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you may need to sue the business or person whose negligence caused your fall to obtain the compensation you need to care for your injuries. If you do file a lawsuit, you may hear your attorney, the opposing attorney, or the judge throwing around legal terms you have not heard before. Knowing what they mean can help you understand what is going on in your case—something that’s always important.
Eight Legal Terms to Know in Slip and Fall/Premises Liability Claims
While all legal cases are different, many legal terms are commonly used in most cases. Some of them that you may need to know include:
- Plaintiff. If you are suing a person or business that caused you to fall, you are the plaintiff. It is the person, group of people, or business that is filing a lawsuit against a person or business.
- Defendant. The defendant is the person or business the plaintiff sues in a lawsuit for compensation. The defendant knows he is being sued when he is served with a copy of the complaint filed by the plaintiff in court against him.
- Complaint. This is a legal document filed in court by the plaintiff to begin the lawsuit. It names the plaintiff and any defendants, states the facts of the lawsuit, specifies which laws give the plaintiff the right to sue, and states how much money the plaintiff is seeking.
- Answer. The defendant must file an answer to the complaint stating whether he agrees or disagrees with each statement in the complaint. He could also raise specific defenses in his answer, such as that the statute of limitations has expired or the plaintiff was comparatively negligent, which are called affirmative defenses.
- Statute of limitations. This is the time period a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit. Depending on the state law and the type of lawsuit being filed, the statute of limitations is generally between two and six years from the date of the injury. If a person does not file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, he loses the right to file one.
- Damages. This is the amount of money the plaintiff is asking that the defendant pay to him. Common types of damages a plaintiff might seek include medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and emotional trauma.
- Negligence. Negligence is the legal claim that can make a person or business liable to pay the plaintiff’s damages. If a party is negligent, he is being careless or acting without reasonable care. For example, if a business fails to clean up a puddle of water on the floor and a customer slips and falls because of it, the business may be negligent.
- Comparative negligence. A defendant could raise comparative negligence as a defense and would be claiming that the plaintiff was partially at fault in causing his accident. The defendant would be asking that the damages he is responsible for paying be reduced by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault in causing his injuries.
If you are filing a lawsuit against a business or person after your slip and fall accident, it is important that you understand how your case is progressing. Our experienced legal team is committed to fighting to get you the compensation you deserve and to keeping you informed of what’s happening in your case. Call us at 866-299-0558 today to schedule a free consultation.