For many, the words ‘issuing proceedings’ or ‘going to court’ sends a shiver down their spine. In actual fact, very few personal injury cases end up in court and most are settled well in advance.

The prospect of the court being involved in a personal injury claim can be very daunting and there is usually a lot of legal jargon thrown around in the process. To make you feel at ease, we have explained below some of the most common technical terms used in personal injury cases:

Admission of liability – When the Defendant, or their insurer, has admitted that the accident was their fault.

After-the-Event Insurance (ATE) – A policy taken out to cover your legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful.

Application – A court form prepared by your solicitor when making a request for something.

Asbestos – A rock mineral that builders used in construction pre-2000. When asbestos is disturbed and inhaled, it can develop into mesothelioma, which is a form of lung cancer.

Barrister – The legal representative who specialises in a specific area of law, who may prepare court documents for your case and represent you should the case go to court.

Breach of duty – Failure to perform a duty which is required by law.

Burden of proof – The obligation on the Claimant to prove their case.

Claimant – A person who has been wronged and is seeking compensation.

Claim Form – A legal document submitted to the court when issuing proceedings.

Causation – Relationship between the accident’s occurrence and injuries sustained. The Claimant must prove causation for their claim to be successful.

Clinical Negligence – The term used to describe a breach of their duty of care by a doctor, dentist or other health professional (also referred to as medical negligence).

Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) – Sometimes referred to as a ‘no-win no-fee’ agreement.

Contributory negligence – When the Claimant is partially responsible for the harm they have suffered.

Correspondence – Communication between different parties. This can be by way of telephone, letters, or emails.

Counsel – A formal term for a Barrister.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) – A government organisation which compensates victims of violent crime for the injuries they have suffered.

Damages – General term used to describe any compensation received by the Claimant.

Defence – A formal statement from the Defendant in response to the Claimant’s version of events.

Defendant – The party who the legal action is brought against. This could be an individual or a company/organisation.

Directions – Timetable provided by the court which gives instructions as to how the claim is to progress.

Disclosure – The process of revealing documents to the other party.

Duty of care – The requirement that a person or company/organisation behave in a certain way so as to avoid acts or omissions that may cause harm.

Evidence – Something which is used to prove an argument.

Expert – A person who specialises in a particular field, such as a GP who would be classed as a medical expert.

Fees – The money paid for legal services.

Funding – How the claim is paid for, usually by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement in personal injury claims.

General Damages – The term used to describe the compensation for your injuries only.

Inquest – Investigation into the cause of an unexpected death.

Interim Payment – An amount of compensation paid by the Defendant before the claim has settled, such as to pay for recommended treatment.

Issuing Proceedings – When the Claim Form is sent to the court as other attempts to settle the claim have failed.

Judgment – The decision made by the court.

Legal Expenses Insurance – A type of insurance policy which covers someone against the legal costs of bringing a claim against another party.

Letter of claim – The initial letter sent to the Defendant informing them of the claim.

Liability – A legal obligation or responsibility.

Limitation period – The time limit for bringing a claim. In personal injury claims this is generally 3 years from the date of the accident, but can be different in certain circumstances.

Litigation – Taking the case to court.

Litigation Friend – A person who acts on behalf of someone who is incapable of bringing a claim themselves, such as a child under 18 or someone who does not have capacity.

Loss of earnings – A claim for any unpaid time off work as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident. This could include loss of overtime and expected bonuses.

Mesothelioma – A cancer of mesothelial tissue, found in the lungs, abdomen, heart and testes, associated especially with exposure to asbestos.

Minor – A person under the age of 18.

Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) – A government scheme set up to compensate victims of road traffic accidents where the Defendant is uninsured or untraceable.

Negligence – Failure to act on a certain way that a reasonable person would have in that situation, where a duty of care exists.

Occupational disease – An illness contracted in the workplace.

Part 36 Offer – An offer of payment made by either the Defendant or the Claimant to settle all or part of the claim.

Particulars of Claim – The document submitted to the court which outlines the basis of your claim.

Product Liability – The responsibility of a manufacturer or seller of a product for injury caused by it being defective.

Prognosis – The time period during which the injured person is expected to make a full recovery, or as full a recovery as can be expected. This is generally provided in the medical expert’s report.

Protective Proceedings – When a claim is nearing the ‘limitation period’ a party can issue proceedings protectively, meaning the claim is prevented from being ‘time barred’.

Quantum – Value of the case.

Remuneration – Compensation, usually a financial award.

RTA – Road Traffic Accident.

Settlement – An agreement of compensation which brings an end to the claim.

Schedule of Special Damages – A document submitted to the court which details the financial losses.

Special Damages – Compensation for financial losses suffered, such as loss of earnings or medication expenses.

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) – An organisation which protects the public by ensuring that solicitors work to a high standard of practice.

Statement of Case – Any of a number of formal documents prepared for the case, such as Particulars of Claim or Defence.

Statement of Truth – A signed statement at the bottom of court documents. The person who signs the documents must believe that the facts in that document are true.

Stay of proceedings – A ruling that the matter is paused at court whilst the parties undertake specified tasks.

Success Fee – Payment made to your solicitor when you win your case. This will be a percentage of your settlement and can be no more than 25%.

Time barred – When the ‘limitation period’ for bringing a claim has passed and it is no longer possible to bring a claim in relation to that specific incident.

Trial – When a claim proceeds to court and liability and/or the compensation is decided by a judge.

Vicarious liability – When someone is responsible for the actions of another, such as an employer being responsible for the actions of their employee.

Witness – A person who can give a first-hand statement about what they saw, heard or experienced.

Witness statement – A formal statement given by a witness.

Witness Summons – A document sent to a witness which requires them to attend court to give evidence.

At Farleys, we pride ourselves on providing legal expertise with a down to earth approach. We actively seek to avoid using confusing legal jargon and will discuss matters in a way in which our clients feel informed and supported throughout the process. To discuss your case with a member of our personal injury team, please call 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.