Wrongful Death Glossary | Wrongful Death Legal Terms

Wrongful Death Legal Glossary

Absolute Liability: A type of liability that arises from extremely dangerous operations. An example would be in the use of explosives: A contractor would almost certainly be liable for damages, injuries or death caused by vibrations of the earth following an explosive detonation. With absolute liability it is usually not necessary for a claimant to establish that the operation is dangerous.

Acceptance: Acceptance prevents a buyer rejecting goods for breach of contract (i.e. if goods are faulty). There are 3 ways in which a buyer will be regarded as having ‘accepted’ goods: 1. If he tells the seller that he accepts the goods; 2. If he retains goods beyond a reasonable time without telling the seller that he wishes to reject them; and 3. If he does an act which suggests that the seller no longer owns the goods (i.e. if he gets someone other than the seller to repair faulty goods).

Addiction: A physiological and psychological compulsion for a habit-forming substance. In extreme cases, an addiction may become an overwhelming obsession, which may cause injuries or even death.

Affidavit: A written statement affirmed or sworn by oath before a commissioner for taking affidavits in British Columbia or a notary public, for use as evidence in court.

Affirmed: In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.

Age of Majority: The age when a person acquires all the rights and responsibilities of being an adult. In most states, the age is 18.

Aggregate Products Liability Limit: This limit represents the amount of money which an insurer will pay during the term of a policy for all Products Liability claims which it covers.

Alcohol Education Program: One of the required penalties of an OUI conviction. First offenders must take a 16-week course; second offenders must participate in a 2-week inpatient program. There are also some accelerated first offense programs available.

Allegation: Something that someone says happened.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Methods for resolving problems without going to court.

Amicus Curiae: Latin for “friend of the court.” Refers to a party that is allowed to provide information (usually in the form of a legal brief) to the court even though the party is not directly involved in the case.

Analgesic: Generic term for medications that relieve pain. Some analgesics like aspirin have a low pain-relieving threshold, whereas others like Oxymoron have a much higher ceiling.

Answer: In a civil case, the defendant’s written response to the plaintiff’s complaint. It must be filed within a specified period of time, and it either admits to or denies the factual basis for liability.

Appeal: A request to a supervisory court usually composed of a panel of judges, to overturn the legal ruling of a lower court.

Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgment of another lower court or tribunal.

APS or Administrative Per Se: In many states, there are two separate cases that arise from a single drunk driving arrest. The court case, and the Administrative Per Se, or APS case, with the Motor Vehicles Department. In cases where someone is arrested for DUI, DWI, OUI, OWI, or a related drunk driving charge, and gives a breath or blood test with results that are above the legal limit, the Motor Vehicles Department will take an administrative action against the driver. Most states limit the time a driver has to request a hearing to contest the APS action. Usually, it is just a few days.

Arbitration: A method of alternative dispute resolution in which the disputing parties agree to abide by the decision of an arbitrator.

Arraignment: The first court appearance after an arrest, where the charges are formally read, and you plead not guilty.

Assignment: The transfer of legal rights, such as the time left on a lease, from one person to another.

Assumption of Risk: A defense raised in personal injury lawsuits. An Assumption of Risk asserts that the plaintiff knew that a particular activity was dangerous and thus bears all responsibility for any injury (or possibly a death) that resulted.

At Fault: Found responsible. Sometimes fault is shared between parties involved, depending on the circumstances of each case.

Attorney-Client Privilege: Generally, all communications between an attorney and their client are privileged, that is they are entirely confidential, being given special protection under the law, and no one else (particularly their opponents in a lawsuit) are entitled to gain access to them. This is referred to as the Attorney-Client Privilege. Also, most documents produced by an attorney and his staff in regard to the client’s case are also privileged. This is referred to as the attorney work-product privilege. Often times, a defense attorney may, through the discovery process, seek to acquire access to these documents developed by the personal injury attorney and his client. There are only very narrow and specific instances where they are entitled to do so. However, it is the job of the personal injury attorney to know these exceptions and to zealously guard the confidentiality of these documents and the privacy of his clients.

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