Understanding Common Personal Injury Words And Phrases

Understanding common personal injury words and phrases

It is no secret that the law is a unique language comprised of many confusing words and phrases.  Law school teaches future lawyers a unique language set.  The law is filled with language not found in other professions.  This is especially the case with personal injury law.

If you’ve suffered an injury from an accident and you are pursuing a claim for financial compensation, it is important to know the meaning of some words and phrases you may encounter.


This is one of, if not the most, common term used in personal injury law.  Negligence is generally defined as failure to act as a reasonably prudent person in a particular situation. For example, if another motor vehicle rear ends your vehicle, that would be considered negligence.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is when the one bringing the claim is also considered to be legally responsible, or at fault, for causing the accident.  This is commonly seen with slip and fall and trip and fall claims.

For example, if you slipped and fell in a supermarket due to a liquid on the floor, you may be considered comparatively negligent for failing to see, and avoid, slipping and falling on the liquid.

Average Weekly Wage

This is a workers compensation legal term.  Average weekly wage is what determines an injured employee’s weekly workers comp check for both total disability and partial disability.  In order to determine average weekly wage, the total wages the injured worker received for the past 52 weeks are divided by 52.  That is what determines the wages owed to an injured worker.


Damages are losses occasioned by a personal injury event. They are classified as either economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages (also called special damages) include medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity.  Non-economic damages (also called general damages) are pain and suffering damages.  Generally, economic damages are more readily calculated than are non-economic damages.  That is because it is difficult to assign a value to one’s pain and suffering.


In order to collect financial compensation for damages, it must be shown that the negligent act caused the injuries.  If the injuries alleged arose from another event, or were preexisting, then the causation element is not met.

If you need a lawyer for a personal injury or workers compensation lawyer for an accident case, contact us today to get started.