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Glossary of Legal Terms

Jump the jargon, learn the lingo and conquer the confusion with our personal injury claims guide to legal terms. You'll hear and see these throughout your injury case so know what they mean:

Advocacy

Describes to act of your solicitor/barrister appearing in court for you. At the beginning of your case your solicitor/barrister will ask you to grant them this authority so that they may make pleas and actions in your name.

Basic Charges

These are the charges your solicitor/barrister makes for the legal work they do in pursuing your claim. These are normally fixed and you will receive a price list before starting your claim that you have to agree to.

Claim

Your demand for financial compensation for damages relating to personal injury.

Counterclaim

The person you are seeking compensation from generates their own claim against you in response to your Claim. This may be because they feel you are responsible for the accident and personal injury to them.

Damages

This is the financial 'reward' that you receive from your opponent at the end of a claim. This can be as a result of a court order or through an amicable agreement outside of court. This does not only refer to your injuries but to financial loss, long-term effects of the injuries, ongoing hardship and so on reaching the full extent of your Claim.

Disbursements

These are the payments made on your behalf by your solicitor/barrister for fees other than the solicitor's/barrister's own Basic Charges. These include, but are not limited to court fees, accident report fees, expert witness costs, the solicitor's/barrister's travelling expenses and so on.

Interim Payments/Damages

This is a payment made to you by your opponent either as the result of a court order or as offered by your opponent before a case is settled. This could be as a result of you being out of work for some time as a result of the accident and enduring severe financial hardship. In this case the opponent may be asked, if it is quite certain that they are the responsible party, to pay part of the estimated final settlement before the case is actually finished to relieve some of that hardship.

Interim Hearing

Throughout the case you/your solicitor may be in court several times before a decision is reached. A court hearing that does not reach a final decision is called an Interim Hearing.

Lien

Your solicitor has the right to hold onto all documentation and money gained from a case until such time as you have paid the solicitors fees. Remember, your opponent will not be sending you a cheque directly, payment will be made to your solicitor (the same as selling a house) and he will issue you the remaining balance once his fees have been taken. This is only if the agreement you made with the solicitor requires you to pay his fees at the end of a case.

Litigation Friend

For a minor (under 18) to make a personal injury compensation claim they must have a 'Litigation Friend' to pursue the case on their behalf. This does not need to be a family member, it can be anyone which the minor is comfortable to have pursue the case and have knowledge of all the details concerning the claim.

Lose, Losing a Case

This term is not only used if the judge dismisses your claim, it is also used if you withdraw from pursuing the claim under your solicitor's/barrister's advice.

Part 36 Offers/Payments

When your opponent first receives your Claim they can make a personal judgement on how much they 'believe' the claim is worth and will make a Part 36 offer. If you do not accept the amount that they offer then the case goes to court for evidentiary hearings as to why you think you should receive more. Be warned, if you refuse to accept the Part 36 offer and the judge awards a lower amount later, the defendant can claim costs from you.

Provisional Damages

At the end of your case it may be that the injuries you sustained may cause complications later in life. In this instance the court will award Provisional Damages based on what your injuries are 'worth' at the time of claiming. This means that if your condition deteriorates or you develop new complications as a result of your injuries then the case will be reviewed and more Damages could be awarded later.

Success Fees

At the beginning of the case your solicitor may have you enter into an agreement whereby they receive a percentage of the Damages awarded from pursuing your Claim. The amount will be agreed between yourselves at the start of the case and cannot exceed 30 % of your compensation. The success fee is on top of any other Basic Charges or Disbursements that you may have agreed to already.

Win, Winning Your Claim

Finally does generally mean that you have your money and it is over. Even if the court rules in your favour your opponent may still appeal the decision and bring forward other evidence which could overturn the original decision. Rule of thumb is not to relax until the cheque is in your hands.


This list was compiled based on the most requested explanations that we receive. If there is a term relating to you personal injury case that you do not understand please email it to us.

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*Disclaimer: Although this site is updated as often as possible the information provided may not accurately reflect the current laws, procedures and/or facilities available to you. To ensure that you get the most up to date information make sure you consult an actual injury solicitor before pursuing any action. The articles on this site are for informational purposes only and are not intended to advise any particular action or inaction. Please read our terms of use for more information.

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