Do You Know What These Personal Injury Legal Terms Mean?

caution slip and fall sign on the ground

Are you working with a tort or personal injury lawyer in New Orleans? Sometimes you’ll hear a legal term that you might not understand. This “legalese” is just the language of lawyers; don’t ever be afraid to ask your legal representative to define a word or term they use that you don’t fully understand. It’s important that you know what’s going on with your case! In an effort to help take the mystery of legalese, we’ve put together this quick glossary of common legal terms related to torts and personal injury law. See how many of them you know!

Torts and Personal Injury Law Glossary


Arbitration is a more formal process than mediation, but less formal than going to a trial. Arbitration allows both sides to present their case, including testimony and evidence. A neutral arbitrator then makes a legally binding judgment on the case, similar to what a judge would do if the case when to trial.

Assumed Risk

Also known as “assumption of risk.” This means that the person who was injured knew there was a risk of injury and proceeded with the activity that led to their injury anyway. For instance, you knew the pool was empty and you could hurt yourself if you jumped in; therefore, there was an assumption of risk and the pool’s owner is not responsible for your actions.


This is the money or other compensation awarded to the injured party in personal injury cases.


A defendant is a person responding to the personal injury lawsuit. It’s likely the person or parties who are accused of negligence.

Duty of Care

This may also simply be called “duty.” This is the term that describes when someone has a responsibility to act in a certain way or to provide a certain level of safety and care. For instance, a pool owner may have a duty of care to put a fence around their pool to prevent small children from wandering in. Or a dog owner might have a duty of care to keep their dog leashed in order to prevent it from attacking a pedestrian.

Intentional Tort

While a tort is an act that results in someone else being hurt, an intentional tort is specific to an act that was done in order to intentionally harm someone. If someone accidentally hits you, it’s a tort. If they purposes hit you, it’s an intentional tort.


The obligation to do something legally. Someone might be found liable for damages; that mean they are legally obligated to pay compensation to someone else.


If someone is negligent, they have failed to do what a reasonable person would be expected to do in order to keep someone safe from harm. For instance, if a grocery store fails to mop up a spill on the floor and someone slips and falls, they are being negligent. There is a reasonable expectation that they should mop up the spill in order to prevent an accident.

Personal Injury

Here, personal injury refers to the area of law that covers cases where there has been harm done to someone because of negligence. This can include car accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, product liability, medical malpractice and more.


This is the person who files the case against someone. It is usually the person who has been injured, though in some cases someone else may file on their behalf.


An act that results in someone being hurt either due to the negligence or intentional act of another party.

Do you still have questions about some of the legal terms you’ve heard recently? Our torts and personal injury law firm in New Orleans has the answers. Schedule a consultation with us today.

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