Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms
  • Accident Benefits:

    Benefits provided to persons injured in a motor vehicle accident (regardless of who is at fault). Typically, accident benefits are paid in the form of cash or assistance and can include: medical and rehabilitation expenses such as equipment, treatment, or therapy, attendant care, income replacement benefits and housekeeping expenses.

  • Adjuster:

    A person who investigates insurance claims or claims for damages and makes a recommendation for an effective settlement.

  • Arbitration:

    A process for deciding a legal dispute out of court, ie: without going to trial.

  • Attendant Care:

    Attendant Care is a type of accident benefit to assist a person with a disability to accomplish activities of daily living. Mostly, these include costs related to tasks that the individual is unable to physically perform or has a great deal of difficulty doing. These include such things as bathing, dressing, cooking and feeding, mobility, cleaning, laundering, dispensing of routine medications and similar tasks.

  • Brain Injury:

    An injury that has impaired the functioning of the brain. Most brain injuries are permanent in nature but short-term or temporary brain injuries can also occur. Permanent brain injuries are very serious since they can effect ones ability in the work force so brain injury compensation must consider income loss over a person’s lifetime.

  • Caregiver Benefit:

    A weekly benefit that is paid when the injured person was a family’s primary caregiver and can no longer perform that function. It is designed to compensate for expenses incurred providing services to those in need of care because the injured person can no longer perform those duties.

  • Case Manager:

    A healthcare professional who coordinates the delivery of services as they relate to an injured person’s rehabilitation and support programs.

  • Catastrophic Impairment:

    The most severe of personal injuries, catastrophic impairment can include: injuries resulting in 55% impairment of the whole person, quadriplegia, paraplegia, and brain damage scoring 9 or below on the Glasgow Coma Scale. Most awarded claims of this type are paid over the injured person’s lifetime. They include rehabilitation and medical needs (maximum $1million), plus attendant care (maximum $1million).

  • Claim:

    A formal declaration of the right to claim compensation for injuries.

  • Claimant:

    An injured person requesting compensation for his or her injuries.

  • Damages:

    A dollar amount awarded after a personal injury case is settled.

  • Deductible:

    A statutory amount that a Defendant, after the compensation for pain and suffering has been awarded to the Plaintiff in a motor vehicle accident case, has the right to deduct from the total award.

  • Defendant:

    The person and/or corporation being sued in a personal injury lawsuit. This can include the insurance company, a municipality, a property owner, a leasing company, etc. Most defendants are insured and will be represented by an insurance company’s lawyer.

  • Economic Loss:

    When establishing the compensation to be awarded to an accident victim it is necessary to consider the economic losses that will result from the injuries. This may include current lost wages and well as an estimate of future income losses including salary, bonuses and benefits. Economic loss also includes out of pocket expenses such as funeral and medical costs.

  • Emotional Distress:

    In addition to physical injuries, accident victims often suffer emotional and psychological distress as a direct result of an accident. Damage awards need to consider these psychological injuries as well.

  • Functional Limitations:

    Limitations in physical and mental capabilities that occur as a result of a serious injury or accident.

  • Future Damages:

    An assessment of the future cost incurred as a result of an accident. The cost may include lost income as well as expenses associated with care and recovery.

  • Glasgow Coma Scale or GCS:

    A standardized system used to assess the degree of brain impairment from an accident. A medical test to identify the seriousness of an injury using a rating system from 3 (most severe) to 15 (least severe). Persons receiving a GCS rating of 9 or less are usually considered to have suffered a catastrophic impairment.

  • Glasgow Outcome Scale or GOS:

    A system for classifying the outcome of head injury survivors. Medical tests performed several months after a brain injury to measure the ongoing ability for a person to function independently. Persons receiving a GOS rating of 2 (vegetative) or 3 (severe disability) are considered to have suffered a catastrophic impairment.

  • Healthcare Expenses:

    Healthcare Expenses are a broad category of tort entitlement and benefits required by an injured person. This can include medical and dental costs, drugs, prescription eyewear, rehabilitation expenses and attendant care costs.

  • Income Replacement Benefit:

    Benefits that a person injured in a car accident is entitled to receive in order to live while they recuperate.

  • Limitation Period:

    The time limit, imposed by law, after an accident or incident for legal proceedings to begin. If a claim is not issued within the specified time period, the right to compensation is lost.

  • Mediation:

    Mediation is the process of negotiating in order to achieve a settlement without a formal trial.

  • Non-earner Benefit:

    An accident benefit that can be claimed by individuals who were unemployed prior to an accident, such as students, retired individuals and homemakers.

  • Personal Injury Law:

    The practice of law involving persons who have been injured in an accident. In addition to motor vehicle accidents, this can include assault, slips and falls, medical malpractice, etc.

  • Plaintiff:

    The person suing another person or entity that has been alleged to have caused personal injury.

  • Pre-Claim Examination:

    Prior to paying any claims, an insurance company may choose a healthcare professional to assess an injured person to determine if benefits should be paid. The injured person has the right to refuse this examination without penalty.

  • Pre-Trial Conference:

    A conference where both lawyers and a Superior Court of Justice judge meet in an attempt to settle a claim without going to trial. If a trial is required, the judge will attempt to narrow down the issues prior to trial.

  • Statement of Claim:

    This document is most commonly prepared by the lawyer of the Plaintiff. It initiates a lawsuit and states the damages being claimed based on the Defendant’s negligent act that caused injury to the Plaintiff.

  • Statement of Defence:

    This document is most commonly prepared by the lawyer of the Defendant. It is the response to a Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim. Usually, it will argue against the allegations written in the Statement of Claim.

  • Threshold:

    Testing standards to determine if a person injured in a motor vehicle accident qualifies to claim for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. For instance, the threshold test can require that the injury be a serious and permanent disfigurement, such a facial scar, or a serious and permanent impairment of an important physical, psychological, or mental function (ex: loss of eyesight). A personal injury lawyer will help a Plaintiff determine if their injuries “meet the threshold”.

  • Tort:

    An area of law that involves an injury or wrong committed by a person (Defendant) against another (Plaintiff), resulting in injury or harm. This is different from motor vehicle accidents where benefits are payable even if the Plaintiff was the one at fault.

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