For non-attorneys, trying to make sense out of legal terms can be a challenge. If you were injured in an accident in Kentucky, understanding some common terms used in personal injury lawsuits can help take some of the mystery out of the process. Our attorneys see these terms every day, but you may not be familiar with them. Here are seven of the top personal injury terms everyone should know:
Burden of Proof
In a personal injury case, the injured party must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the other party is liable for their injuries. This is known as the burden of proof.
Kentucky law states that if you were partially responsible for an accident, you bear some of the financial responsibility too. This is known as comparative negligence. For example, if you were 25 percent at fault and were awarded $10,000 in a lawsuit, the judgment amount would be reduced to $7,500 because of your 25 percent responsibility.
In the legal world, damages refers to the amount of money you are seeking to recover in your personal injury lawsuit. Damages includes both money for things you can quantify, such as medical bills, and things you cannot quantify, such as pain and suffering.
To prove the other party in your personal injury lawsuit was negligent, you must be able to show that they had a duty, that they violated that duty, that their breach of duty caused at least part of your injuries and that there were actual damages as a result of the injury.
Kentucky is a no-fault insurance state. This means you recover some of your damages from your own insurance company regardless of who was at fault. If another person has some fault, you likely will be able to pursue a claim against that person for damages that no fault doesn’t pay, which can be extensive.
Preponderance of the Evidence
To win a personal injury lawsuit, you must show that the evidence supporting your case makes it more likely than not that the defendant was liable in some way. This is a lesser standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations refers to how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you wait longer than that time period, you cannot take legal action. In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is one year; however, it is two years for a car wreck. You don’t need to become fluent in “legalese.” However, understanding these basic terms should help you be more comfortable and confident as your case moves through the legal system. To learn more about how the experienced personal injury attorneys at Edwards and Kautz have helped victims of motor vehicle accidents, dog bites and other personal injury accidents recover the compensation they were entitled to receive under Kentucky law, contact us online today, or call us at 270-908-4914.