Below are commonly used terms which may appear in a case involving personal injury or civil case. We at the Carter Capner Group want you to be informed throughout the entire process as much as possible. The purpose of this glossary is to provide you with a resource for easy access to check for basic meanings of terms that you are likely to come across when seeking compensation.

If you require further information regarding compensation, please call us on 1300 529 529


Act of GodAn accident or event resulting from natural causes without human intervention or assistance; no reasonable precaution or care could have prevented the act; for example, flood damage, lightning, earthquake or storms.
AnswerA formal written answer to a lawsuit filed by a defendant; a legal response.
AppealRequesting a higher court to reverse a court's decision when one party disagrees with the decision; requesting a higher court to examine the decision in hopes of getting it overturned.
ArbitrationA neutral third party whose decision will be final will hear and settle a legal dispute between the plaintiff and defendant. Often considered a mini-court case; the third party is often an off-duty judge or lawyer. The two parties enter into a contract where they agree that the decision of the arbitrators shall be final. It is often seen as a route that is more efficient, faster and cheaper than litigation.
Attorney-Client PrivilegeA law that prevents divulging or forcing disclosure of anything said between an attorney and their client. This prevents people from not trusting their lawyer, and vice versa, while at the same time preventing the opposing party from requesting the discovery information. Anything said between a lawyer and the client is private.


Bad-faith ClaimAn insured person's claim against their insurance provider for unreasonably denying or delaying their claim, or for refusing to pay out a full insurance claim without cause; usually filed when a person's claim was denied but they feel that it should have been covered.
Burden of ProofThe duty to prove one's claim is accurate and true; anyone who has the burden of proof must prove their claim to be factual. A claim for personal injuries, the complainant has the presumption of proof – proving a driver was reckless, proving a claim was made for bad faith, etc.


CausationTo bring about something; the act or process of causing something. In a negligence case , the plaintiff must show that their injury was directly caused by (or failed to do) something the defendant did.
ComplaintThe first document filed with the court by a person or entity, claiming legal rights against another Party.


DepositionOut-of-court question and answer session under oath is a form of testimony given under oath in a court case. The questions are asked by the opposing attorney
DiscoveryThe legal process by which opposing parties obtain evidence from one another, typically includes interviews, depositions, requests for documents and records.


Excess JudgementInsurance company may be found to have acted in bad faith when settling a claim.


Good FaithHonest intent to fulfil a promise to act or to act without taking an unfair advantage over another person. Acting without intent to defraud someone. An insurance company says.


HazardConditions that increase the probability of damage or injury include crack in sidewalk, spill in aisle, work truck without proper lighting.


Independent Medical ExaminationSecond medical opinion the defendant / insurance company usually asks for. By law, the complainant is required to gain this second opinion.
InsurerThe firm or entity that provides cover through an insurance policy.


JudgementThe final part of a court case which resolves all the contested issues and terminates the lawsuit.


Letter of ProtectionA letter sent by a personal injury lawyer to a healthcare professional that gives permission for an injured person to obtain medical care.
LiabilityLegal responsibility for one's acts or omissions; an obligation one is bound to by law to perform. One of the
Loss of earningsA situation in which the injured person was forced to take time off work, change jobs or give up work due to their injury resulting in reduced or no income affecting their financial status.


Medical MalpracticeNegligence by a healthcare provider who causes injury to a patient. Often difficult to prove. requires expert witnesses that can testify to the wrongs committed.
MotionA formal request that a judge make a ruling or take some action.


NegligenceFailure to use a degree of care considered appropriate in a specific set of circumstances; the four elements of negligence are: a duty owed to a plaintiff, breach of that duty by the defendant, proximate cause and injury or damage sustained by the plaintiff; carelessness.


Out-of-Court SettlementAn out-of-court settlement will typically be struck between the two parties' lawyers. Can be achieved on attorneys' own terms, during mediation, or at arbitration.
Out-of-Pocket ExpensesMoney spent out of the injured party's own funds on costs related to their injuries. Could include travel, medications, assistive devices, etc.


ParalegalSomeone qualified and accredited to perform any assistance function to a lawyer including: summaries, analysis, investigation, and record retrieval; licenced individual working in a law firm to assist a lawyer in the preparation of a case.
Pecuniary DamagesReferring to the loss of past and future income.
PlaintiffThe person who sues in a case or civil proceeding, usually the one who gets injured.
PrecedentIf a past case is heard by a high enough court, then their decision becomes the law.
Premise Liabilitypremises liability claims are usually based on negligence. A person can reasonably expect to be safe when they enter someone else's property, according to laws.


Reasonable CareThe level of treatment provided by a health care professional / establishment that a reasonable and rational person would find acceptable.
RehabilitationFollowing an injury, maybe after a car accident or slip-and-fall, the process of recovering required skills and normal activity for self-sufficiency.


SettlementNegotiated agreement by opposing parties in a civil suit before litigation has begun but before the court hears the case.
Statute of LimitationsA statute that defines the amount of time someone may have to bring legal action, usually from when the accident or harm occurs.


Third-Party ClaimsLiability lawsuits made by an allegedly hurt or injured insured individual. The insured person being the first party, the insurance provider being the second party, the injured person / claimant is the third party; a claim made against the insurance provider by another party, rather than their own.


Workers' CompensationThe system by which state-required no-fault benefits are provided by an employer to an employee due to a job-related injury.
Wrongful DeathClaims are generally made by those who were financially dependent upon the deceased. Damages could include medical expenses prior to death, loss of earnings of the deceased during their expected natural life, and loss of consortium.