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Accident & Injury Law Glossary Of Terms

At Litman and Litman PC we take care of our clients as if they were part of our family. Even though we handle all the critical elements of your case, it can be helpful to know some of the legal terms that will be used in the paperwork and at trial. Abstract of Title: The chronologically ordered summary of all official records and recorded documents affecting the title to a piece of the real property.

Abstract of Title: A chronological summary of all official records and recorded documents affecting the title to a portion of real property.
Accident Report: A detailed, formal account of an event documented from the scene of the incident by an authority figure.
Act of God: Natural causes, neither human interaction or intervention, resulting in an accident or event - including damage from storms, floods, earthquakes and lightning.
Actual Cash Value: Also known as market value, it is the cost your vehicle could be sold just before it was destroyed or damaged in the car accident. Insurance companies typically pay the owner actual cash value if the vehicle is deemed a total loss....
Additional Insured: This is an individual other than the protected individual as named in the automobile insurance policy.
Adjudicate: To resolve a legal case.
Affidavit: A written declaration under oath.
Alternative Dispute Resolution: Methods, including mediation and arbitration, instead of  litigation to resolve a legal dispute.
Answer: A formal written legal response complaint filed by a defendant.
Appeal: To petition a higher court to evaluate the decision of a trial court with the hope that it be  overturned.
Arbitration: A legal dispute between a plaintiff and defendant that is heard and settled by a neutral third-party. 
Attorney-Client Privilege: A law that ensures communication between an attorney and his or her client may not be disclosed; it remains private.
Automobile Insurance: This insurance protects the owner against losses to his or her vehicle. Types of coverage include medical payments, bodily injury, property damage, and collision and comprehensive physical vehicle damage. 
Bad-faith Claim: An assertion brought against an individual’s insurance provider for refusing to pay or unreasonably delaying or denying their claim without cause.
Benefit: For legal purposes related to personal injury law, benefits are financial assistance that an individual receives from an employer, insurance company, or social program (such as social security) in a time of sickness, disability, or unemployment. 
Bodily Injury:  Damage caused by an accident and including cuts, burns, bruises, broken bones, and more to an individual’s body.
Burden of Proof: This term refers to the plaintiff, also known as the individual who initiates the claim or lawsuit, who must prove what occurred in the case. In a car accident she or he has the burden of proof that the other party involved caused the accident.
Case: Any acton, cause, lawsuit, proceeding or controversy initiated through the court system by filing a petition, indictment or complaint.
Cause of Action: Synonymous with a legal claim.
Causation: The act or process of causing something.
Claim: A civil action referring to the physical or mental harm suffered by the plaintiff, or on behalf of the injured victim, due to the defendant’s negligence.
Claim Adjuster: An insurance company employee who serves as a liaison between the insured and the insurance company who investigates and oversees the claim on behalf of the insurance company.
Compensable Injury: An injury caused by an accident at an individual’s workplace while working.
Complaint: An official document that initiates a lawsuit and includes the wrongdoing asserted by plaintiff against defendant.
Contingency Fee: Monetary compensation of a lawyer if the case is won.
Claim: An assertion of a right to property or money.
Comparative/Contributory Negligence: When more than one party is at fault in an accident, fault will be determined by an insurance company or the court. The total damages will be decreased by the percentage of plaintiff’s negligence compared to that of the defendant’s negligence.
Damages: Monetary, physical, and mental costs caused by the unlawful act or negligence of another party and include income, emotional distress, pain and suffering, medical treatment, and property loss.
Deductible: The amount an insured individual required to pay before the insurance company will pay the remainder of each covered loss, up to the limits of the policy.
Defendant: In civil cases, a defendant is the individual a civil action is brought against.
Demand Letter: A formal letter, often threatening legal action, sent to the opposing party with a request for action.
Deposition: An out-of-court question and answer session under oath.
Disclosure: Providing documents and other information requested by the opposing party.
Discovery: The legal process by which opposing parties obtain evidence from one another and  typically includes interviews, depositions, requests for documents and records, and more.
Duty of Care: A requirement that an individual behaves toward others and the public with the caution and attention of any reasonable individual in similar circumstances.
Expert Witness: Testimony given by an individual qualified to speak with authority about professional, technical or scientific matters.
Evidence: During trial, the legally presented proof including documents, records, witnesses, photos, and more.
Fault: An intentional or negligent failure that causes injury to another person. 
Good Faith: Taking an action without intent to defraud someone.
Hazard: Conditions that increase the probability of damage or injury.
Hearing: An in-court proceeding before a judge that typically allows the public to attend.
Hit and Run: When an individual causes an accident but does not stop to help or cooperate by sharing information.
Injure: To violate the legal rights of an individual by causing harm. 
Insurance: A contractual relationship that exists between the insurer, for a recurring fee known as a premium, agrees to reimburse the insured, for damage or injury caused by certain hazards or dangers. 
Insurer: The company or entity who provides coverage through an insurance policy.
Insured: The individual protected under an insurance policy.
Judgment: The ultimate determination by a court of the rights and claims of the parties in an action.
Lapse in Coverage/Policy Lapse: A point in time when a policy has been canceled or terminated for failure to pay the premium, or when the policy contract is void for other reasons.
Liability: Liability in a car accident determines who is at fault and responsible for damages to others. Assessment criteria includes vehicle damage, evidence at the scene, witness statements, and police reports.  
Legal Malpractice: A situation when an attorney breaches their legal duty.
Liability: The legal responsibility for one’s omissions or acts or omissions. There is an obligation that an individual is legally bound to perform and often involves the payment of monetary damages.
Litigant: An individual who is engaged in a lawsuit and may refer to a defendant or plaintiff.
Litigation: The process of taking a legal action which may include filing a lawsuit.
Loss: The monetary value assigned to an injury or damage in an individual injury claim and including future medical care, current medical bills, pain and suffering, past and future income,  and more.
Loss of earnings: When an injured individual must take time from work, change work, or give up work due to their injury and causing decreased or no income.
Malpractice: Misconduct or negligence by a professional, including doctors, lawyers, accountants, who failed to meet a standard of conduct or care.
Mediation: Outside involvement by a neutral third-party in settling a dispute.
Medical Malpractice: Negligence by a professional healthcare provider, including hospitals and doctors falling short from the applicable standard of care, and by act or omission causes injury to a patient.
Motion: A formal request for a judge to rule or take action.
Negligence: A driver is negligent when he or she unintentionally breaches the duty of care and fails to operate a vehicle safely.
Negotiation: To arrange or settle by discussion and mutual agreement.
Out-of-Court Settlement: An agreement reached between a defendant and plaintiff that does not require the approval of a judge or court.
Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Money spent out of the injured party’s own funds on costs related to their injuries, which may include: travel, medications, assistive devices, etc. 
Parties: Individuals, organizations, or corporations who initiated a lawsuit or who are defendants.
Personal Auto Policy: Auto insurance policy referred to as PAP and providing coverage for physical damage protection, liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and medical payments. 
Physical Damage: Collision, crash, fire, theft, vandalism, or other objects that damage a vehicle.
Plaintiff: The party who initiates an action, sues or complains is named a plaintiff or petitioner by the court.
Policy: The written documents of an insurance contract between the insurance company and the insured individual. Documents may be attachments, riders, forms, and endorsements.
Pecuniary Damages: A term that refers to the loss of past and future income.
Plaintiff: An individual in a court or legal case that is suing, typically due to injury.
Pleading: Any formal statement, document, or request filed with the court in which an individual involved in the legal case responds to claims, allegations, denials, or defenses.
Precedent: When a previously decided case is cited as the authority and basis for determining future cases.
Premise Liability: The legal parameters that hold tenants and property owners responsible when an individual is hurt due to a dangerous condition on their premises.
Proceeding: Any court appearance or hearing related to a legal case.
Product Liability: The accountability of a business, merchant, or manufacturer for property damage or bodily injury caused by a defect in their product.
Prognosis: The prediction of an individual’s recovery from an injury as determined by a doctor.
Quality of Life: The level of existence of an individual either before or after an accident or injury.
Quid Pro Quo: Latin for “this for that” and refers to the exchange of something by both parties establishing a contract.
Rehabilitation: The process of reestablishing required skills and normal movement for self-sufficiency after an injury.
Request: A request or petition by an individual for something to be accomplished or granted.
Settlement: A monetary payment in a car accident is known as a settlement. It is used to resolve claims of individual injury and vehicular damage. Legal rights are forfeited by signing a settlement release, so a future lawsuit would not be allowed.
Sexual Assault: Any sexual behavior or contact occurring without the explicit consent of the recipient.
Slip-and-Fall: A personal injury case in which an individual slips or falls on someone else’s property who is then legally responsible.
Standard of Care: This is the level of medical services and assistance practiced by the average, qualified, reasonable provider.
Statute of Limitations: A law determining the time allowed for someone to file legal action, typically beginning when the injury or damage occurs.
Subpoena: A court-issued command to appear at a certain time and place to provide testimony.
Subrogation: A legal act allowing one party to make a payment on behalf of another party, and to collect that money later from the party who owed the money.
Third-Party Claim: A liability claim brought by an injured/harmed individual against another party’s insurance company.
Tort: A civil or private wrong, not deemed a crime, leading to legal liability. Most common type is personal injury law.
Total Loss: A vehicle is considered a total loss if it is damaged beyond repair or the costs to repair surpasses the vehicles value. 
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UIM): This is coverage for individuals who have been hit by a driver who does not have insurance or inadequate insurance to cover damages caused by the car accident.
Verdict: A final outcome of a case made by a judge or jury.
Voir Dire: Also referred to as jury selection with attorneys examining prospective jurors.
Witness: An individual who testifies under oath before a court, with regard to what he or she observed, heard or saw.
Workers’ Compensation: In cases of job-related injury and death resulting from a workplace accident or illness, state-required no-fault benefits are provided by an employer to an employee or the family thereof.
Wrongful Death: A claim made on behalf of the beneficiaries or survivors of an individual who has died as a result of wrongful conduct, both intentional or negligent.

What to do if you've been injured by a defective product

What do you do if your injured by a defective productWhat do you do if your injured by a defective productThe strength of your legal case is a direct result of the actions you take after a defective product has caused injury.

Seek medical attention. A record of your injury is of the utmost importance. Visit a doctor or hospital immediately upon sustaining a harmful product injury.
Report the accident. Do not give a verbal or written statement before speaking with a product liability lawyer. If at work, report the accident to your supervisor and contact your insurance company.

Compile evidence. Immediately take photographs of the accident location and the product that caused the accident. Write down your account of the situation, including your actions that preceded the accident. Get the contact information of any witnesses. 
Do not communicate on social media. Resist the impulse to share your experience publicly. Your legal case could be affected by the opposition taking your words and using them against you. 

Call Litman and Litman, P.C.  Taking swift action will influence the outcome of your case. With product liability cases, it’s essential to secure valuable evidence and record a clear account of the sequence of events. 

Call us today for a free evaluation by our proven product liability attorneys. You don’t pay us a penny unless we recover damages for you.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT AND NEED IMMEDIATE LEGAL ASSISTANCE PLEASE CALL: TOLL-FREE: 1-800-LAW-4334 (1-800-529-4334)JEFFREY E. LITMAN, ESQ. 516-353-1500  KEN LITMAN ESQ.  516-359-6333 We are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Actions To Take If You Are In Car Accident

Car accidents are always unexpected and hugely stressful stay calm and try to control your emotions. Get support from people you feel you can trust.:

  1. Be Safe
  • Move the car out of harm’s way, such as the shoulder of the road if the car accident is minor.
  • If unable to move the car, confirm that the vehicle is in Park position, turn the engine off, and engage the hazard lights.
  • Check that it is safe for you to get out of the car and then do so.
  • If available, use warning triangles or safety cones to alert others of the accident.
  1. Seek Help
  • Check for injuries - your own and others who are involved; always err on the side of calling an ambulance if injuries are questionable.
  • Contact the police, no matter how minor the accident. A police report is useful in the claims process while determining who was at fault.
  • Do not leave the scene of the accident if you are the driver who has injured a pedestrian or the other driver. You could be considered a hit-and-run driver and subject to criminal penalties.
  1. Gather Information
  • Collect details from others involved in the accident.
    • Drivers and passengers: names and contact information
    • Driver's license numbers
    • License plate numbers
    • Vehicle descriptions (make, model, year)
    • Insurance companies and policy numbers
    • Eyewitnesses: names and contact information
    • Location of accident - exact address, if possible
    • Police officer: name and badge number
  • Capture photos of all vehicles involved and the accident scene
  • Only sign your insurance form or police report, no other documents
  • Cooperate but do not admit to fault
  1. File a Claim
  • A claim can be started immediately at the location of the accident
  • Keep track of medical expenses
  • Keep track of repair expenses
  • A claim can also be filed online
  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible
  1. Call for Vehicle Assistance

Contact your insurance company or local towing business for roadside help if your vehicle cannot be driven

  1. Contact Litman & Litman, P.C.

Litman & Litman PC car accident lawyers are available around the clock to answer your call and evaluate the circumstances of your accident. We will take a straightforward approach to evaluating your circumstances, your claim, and your chances of receiving a judgment.

TOLL-FREE: 1-800-LAW-4334 (1-800-529-4334)
JEFFREY E. LITMAN, ESQ. 516-353-1500  
KEN LITMAN ESQ.  516-359-6333

We are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

3 Million Dollar Judgement Awarded but would rather have their Dad back.

August 14, 2013 by JOHN VALENTI AND ELLEN YAN / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


An Islip Terrace man was killed after losing control of his cement truck on Sunrise Highway in Holbrook Wednesday, Suffolk police said.

John Gagliano, 57, was thrown from his 1990 Mack Truck after it struck a median and overturned at 7:39 a.m., just west of Nicolls Road, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Eastbound lanes were closed until 1 p.m.

Investigators are looking into reports by witnesses who saw the front left tire blow out, police said.

The truck is owned by Giaquinto Masonry Inc. in Deer Park, police said, and was impounded for a safety check by the department's Motor Carrier Safety Section. Calls to the company were not immediately returned or answered. Gagliano's brother-in-law Gary Innes said Gagliano was a safe driver in a job he took after more than 20 years as a New York City firefighter.

The father of seven was not just a "workaholic," he needed a paycheck because three children are in college, Innes said.

"He'd do anything for his family and friends -- give the shirt off his back," said Innes, of Deer Park.

Three months before the 2001 terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center, Gagliano had submitted his FDNY retirement papers, Innes said, but when 17 of his station house colleagues died at Ground Zero, he pulled the papers back and worked another three years.

Gagliano was the same driver who lost control of another cement truck seven years ago on Sunrise Highway in East Moriches. That crash accidentally killed state transportation worker Patrick Mapleson who was making road repairs, police said.

According to court papers, Gagliano said he was distracted because he was trying to grab a water bottle when he lost control.

With Gary Dymski

JEFFREY E. LITMAN, ESQ. 516-353-1500  
KEN LITMAN ESQ.  516-359-6333