5 Important Legal Terms to Know Before Contacting an Attorney

Legal Terms

Hiring an attorney can be a difficult choice to make. When you’re spending money, you want to make sure you are getting the most out of your investment. And nothing is as important as being able to explain your case.

Lawyers have a language all their own. You might ask yourself what legal terms and phrases you need to know to best convey your claim. Luckily, we have this glossary of 5 important terms to help you prepare for filing a claim.

1. Damages

One of the most important legal phrases, and often one of the most misunderstood. “Damages” refers to the amount of money you stand to gain from your claim.

This can also be broken down further into economic and non-economic damage; the first referring to the loss of wage or financial burden, and the second referring to other forms such as injury or emotional distress. Thus damages are the amount of loss suffered that can be recovered.

2. Default

Default is something you want to avoid. It refers to the barring of a party (you and your team, for example) from advancing a claim or defense. This is often a symptom of failing to do something required by the court.

Oftentimes, a default can work in your favor. If your opposing party fails to respond to the initial claim or documentation, a default can act as a sort of automatic, legally binding win. But be careful, this sword cuts both ways!

3. Credibility

Credibility is the notion that you can be trusted to give an honest accounting. This is one of the most important terms in personal injury claims. Oftentimes, it falls to the plaintiff (that is the person filing the claim) to prove that the defendant’s negligence or maliciousness was the cause of an accident.

There are many factors that can prove or disprove credibility, and it falls to you and your lawyer to ensure your credit is well accounted for. The opposing parties will try to prove that your injury or loss of income is the result of unrelated factors.

Credibility is one of the things used to prove liability, which is the notion that the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s damages.

4. Proof of Loss

What is a proof of loss form? Put simply, a proof of loss form describes the amount of money a policyholder is requesting from their insurance carrier.

It documents and provides a formal claim of damages for the insurance company in question.

5. Discovery

Discovery is the process by which one side may request that the other present information. This means that the side in question will have to file documentation within a time period of about 30 days on average.

There are several forms of Discovery including:

  • Requests for admission – One side asks the other to confirm or deny a fact under oath.
  • Depositions – a formal Q&A
  • Request for Production – One side asks the other to produce a document
  • Interrogatories – one side asks for a series of written questions to be answered under oath.

Your chosen lawyer should be able to give you a brief summary of what discoveries might be utilized in your case.

We’ll Help You Learn These Legal Terms and More

We get it, legal language can be complicated. Luckily, there’s a ton of professional help out there. If you’re looking for the best legal advice, head on over to our website and contact our team of experienced professionals.

You can also check out our blog for more legal tips and tricks!

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