Lake Worth • Pompano Beach
West Palm Beach
Free Case Consultation
ESPAÑOL: Necesitas Ayuda?
Personal Injury Attorneys 800.608.2965

Your guide to common terms used in a personal injury case


Accidents are actions or events that happen inadvertently or through lack of proper preparation, or through carelessness or other factors. An accident will often produce injuries or damage to property.

Accident Insurance

Accident Insurance is often mandatory insurance to financially protect an individual or entity in the case of an accident.

Average Daily Wage

Average daily wage is the calculation of how much a particular person makes on a daily basis. This is used to determine how much a person can be compensated in a lawsuit.

Average Weekly Wage

Average weekly wage is the calculation of how much a particular person makes on a weekly basis. This is used to determine how much a person can be compensated in a lawsuit.


Causation is an action or lack of action that "causes" an injury or property damage to occur.

Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit is when multiple clients headed by attorneys sue a company or entity based upon negligence.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is when the injured person is found to be partially responsible for their own injury. A jury then determines by what percentage the injured person is at fault, and the value of the award is reduced accordingly.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages refers to the money paid to the injured person, often called "monies" or "monetary awards" for damages such as loss of wages and related medical bills. It does not cover punitive damages or emotional damages.


Disability is a minor or major lack of function, most often physically but also emotionally, that will make a person unable to perform physical or emotional/intellectual tasks.


Duty is the obligation of a person or corporation to take action or refrain from an action to avoid injuring others. Those actions are typically defined by existing laws, or contracts.


Endangerment is a crime (or tort) in which an individual or entity exposes others to potential harm or danger.


Forseeability is a term in "tort law" that states that a person should have or will "foresee" or anticipate that an injury will occur through the action or lack of action of another party or themselves

Homeowner's Claim

If you are not satisfied from the results of your homeowners insurance when an incident happens to your home, you have the option to use a lawyer to recover damages. While the first step is generally to use a public adjuster, the additional step of hiring an attorney can bring you closer to receiving the compensation you deserve.

Immigration Law

Without knowing the proper laws, your immigration status could take years or not be approved at all. The United States allows more than 1 million non-citizens to become legal Permanent Residents each year. Having an immigration lawyer on your side can save you time and money.

Independent Medical Examination (IME)

Independent medical examination is a medical examination done by either party in a law suit to determine the state of plaintiffs' injuries.

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts are when damage to property or personal injuries are caused by a willful or reckless disregard for another person's safety or rights

Legal Malpractice and Attorney Negligence

Legal malpractice and attorney negligence are similar terms and actions. Attorney negligence occurs when your lawyer has practiced neglect either by intent or error, has a conflict of interest or errors in legal documentation or other paperwork, does not know the law or is not aware of changes to the law, or by failing to keep appointments, or failure to keep you reasonably informed about the progress of your case.

Living Will

A living will is a legal document that describes a person's wishes if he or she sustains a severe injury and is on life-sustaining medical equipment and no longer possess the mental abilities to make decisions.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium is the legal term for the condition which occurs when sexual activity between spouses is lost or decreased because of an injury.

Lost Wages

Lost wages are damages that can be sued for after an injury. When a person is unable to work because of the injury he or she can sue to make up the lost income.


Medicaid is a government program designed to help people who cannot afford regular medical care.

Medical Malpractice

When doctors mistreat an illness, through neglect, errors, or by intent, or when a medical facility does the same, the act of medical malpractice has occurred. Anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 people die in hospitals annually because of medical errors that could have been prevented. Many more are harmed. When this happens you have a right to seek damages.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses are the costs of operations, emergency room visits, medicines, medical devices, chiropractic, and other alternative medical treatments, and any other item or service needed to treat an injury. These types of costs are damages to you and can be recovered in a lawsuit.

Mental Anguish

Mental anguish is a recovery for damages that will result in psychological or emotional distress. Conditions include being nervous, having worry, anxiety, fright, apprehension, shock, grief, embarrassment or more. Especially in the case of disfigurement, in addition to the other conditions, damages can be sued for.


Negligence is the failure of a reasonable person to take actions or to end actions that any ordinary person would do to ensure the safety of others. "Negligence" is different from the intent to harm others.

No-duty Doctrine

No-duty doctrine is the idea that a defendant cannot be held accountable for events which may cause injury or damages.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering include physical pain or emotional "pain" that results from an accident. This is often the basis in a lawsuit where one sues for damages.

Patients' Rights

Patients' rights is the term used by healthcare providers that address patient care, confidential information and consent to procedures.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

Permanent partial disability is the term used for a disability that is permanent, but is not complete, i.e. When a person has partial but not complete movement of an arm or leg, PPD benefits are payable.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

Permanent total disability is a disability that is permanent and complete. It would include the complete inability to use limbs and in an accident would warrant compensation.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal injury protection is often referred to as "no-fault" coverage. Florida is a "no-fault" state which means that regardless of whose fault the accident is, the personal injury protection is to be paid without regard to who is at "fault" in the accident. This is a type of car insurance that covers medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages and other damages.

Physical Therapy (PT)

Physical therapy is a medical treatment that involves exercises to help heal injuries.

Public Duty Doctrine

Public duty doctrine is the idea that a local, state, or federal government is not liable for injuries or damages that result when a public officer acts outside of laws and regulations.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are often called "exemplary damages" and are a punishment for behavior that is deemed egregious or outrageous. This level of "monetary award" is in addition to compensatory damages such as medical bills or lost wages.

Reasonable Person Standard

Reasonable person standard is a test or idea that a "reasonable person" should have acted or not acted in a way and under specific conditions to avoid an accident, the possibility of an accident and injury to others. In a trial, the defendant is compared to the "reasonable person" standard.


Recover is the term that is used to describe a judgment or damages that equal the amount in damages that an individual has suffered in an accident.

Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI)

Social security disability benefits are benefits or payments that are given by the Social Security Administration to individuals who have been determined to be "disabled."

Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW)

Statewide average weekly wage is the calculation of how much an average person in a particular state makes on a weekly basis. This is used to determine how much a person can be compensated in a lawsuit.

Strict Liability

Strict liability is the idea that a company does not always have to be negligent or have intent in injuring a person. "Strict liability" says that the product itself caused the injury and this can be used to begin a lawsuit.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

Temporary partial disability benefits are payable to an injured employee whose partial disability is determined to be temporary, meaning that the victim will be able to recover from the injury after a certain amount of time.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

Temporary total disability is a total disability that is determined to be temporary, meaning that the victim will be able to recover from the injury after a certain amount of time.

Tort Law

Tort law is a term that means "personal injury law." A tort is the injury that has happened to an individual or property resulting from negligence, strict liability or willfulness.

Uninsured Motorist (UM)

Uninsured motorist insurance is an often required policy that provides for a driver to receive damages for any injury he or she receives from an uninsured, negligent driver. If the accident qualifies, the insurance company pays the difference between what the uninsured driver can pay and what the injured driver would be entitled to if the other driver was insured.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

Vocational rehabilitation is a rehabilitation service that helps injured workers return to their jobs or seek new careers after a severe work related injury.

Wage and Hour Disputes

In Florida many thousands of workers are denied overtime pay, paid less than the minimum wage, and are cheated out of tips and commissions. They are not given full compensation for their efforts and work. These are violations of federal and state labor laws. As an employee, whether W-2 or 1099, you are entitled to a fair wage.

Workman's Comp

Workers' compensation laws were designed to stop frivolous and expensive lawsuits, and often you are unable to sue for damages when an injury occurs. However if an employer shows gross negligence, or in other words sets up situations that would lead to workplace injuries, you still have the right to sue and collect damages.

Wrongful Death

If someone suffers a wrongful death, the survivors and relatives of that person must file a claim before the statutory deadline passes. In Florida the statue of limitations is 2 years from the time the incident occurs. The same timeline applies for when medical malpractice that leads to a death has been discovered.

Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach

For a free consultation with an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer, call (800) 608-2965 today. Let an attorney at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., guide you to the result you need and deserve. We are caring lawyers who put clients first. We speak Spanish and English.

Request Free Case Consultation