IMPORTANT LEGAL TERMS
Following are the legal terms that are frequently used by legal professionals be in in court room or under some legal settings. These help us to understand the laws, rules, regulations, order, decree order or notification ,etc as well as the official interpretation of the happenings of the court proceedings in accurate manner.
- Accord and Satisfaction:
A method of discharging a claim upon agreement by the parties to give and accept something in settlement of the claim something different from or less than that which the creditor is claiming or entitle to. The accord is “the agreement” and the satisfaction is “the execution and a new contract.”
In criminal law, it is a verdict of not guilty. In contract law, it is a release, absolution, or discharge from an obligation, liability, or engagement. Acquittal is a noun which is distinguished from the verb “acquit.”
- Compensatory damages:
Damages that are recovered for injury or economic loss. e.g., if someone is injured in a car accident and the party who injures them has to pay compensatory damages, the party at fault must cover cost of things such as the ambulance, doctors’ bills, hospital stays, medicine, physical therapy and lost wages.
An agreement between two or more parties to do or refrain from doing something; this often involves a promise of something in return for something of value. There are both written and oral contracts, though in some states oral contracts have little or no standing.
- Credibility :
Credibility is simply another way of saying you are believable when you speak; the ability to appear honest and trustworthy when telling your side of the story. Credibility is central to almost every law suit. This is particularly true where the two sides are telling very different stories and a fact finder (either a judge or jury) is forced to choose one version over the other. When a client is credible, the entire case is more valuable. And while we often say something is “incredible” when we mean it is really good, in a courtroom, “incredible” means not believable, a lie. Your credibility is constantly at issue: it starts with being open and honest with your lawyer, it continues through your deposition and may end when you testify at trial.
Lawyers generally use the word Damages to refer to the amount of money that a client recovers in a law suit. Of course, it can also be broken down into further categories, like economic damages (lost wages, lost profit, out of pocket costs, etc.) and non-economic damages (physical injuries, emotional distress, pain and suffering, scars, permanent disability, loss of enjoyment of life’s pleasures, etc.). While business law suits have a different measure of damages (or the types of things that can be compensated), the idea is the same: damages are the loss suffered and that can be recovered in a law suit.
A Default is a process where the court bars a party (plaintiff or defendant) from advancing claims or defenses because that party failed to do something required by the rules of court or statutes (law). While defaults can be a valuable tool in a lawsuit, judges often open (or lift) the default when the party complies with the requirement in question.
The Defendant is the person defending himself/herself in a law suit, or the person who is being sued. Although Defendants can bring their own claims against the person suing in the same case, called counterclaims, we generally think of a Defendant as the person accused of wrongdoing.
A formal response to a complaint filed in a lawsuit, pleading for dismissal and saying, in effect, that even if the facts are true, there is no legal basis for a lawsuit.
- Discovery (discovery process):
Various statutes and court rules permit both sides of a lawsuit to file certain papers in court requesting the other side to furnish information about the case. This is what we call Discovery – we discover information that the other side has about the case. When either side seeks discovery from the other, the requests must be responded to within a fairly short time – often as short as thirty (30) days. There are various types of discovery devices that the law allows. Some of them include:
(a). Interrogatories- This is a series of written questions which one side asks the other. They must be answered in writing and under oath.
(b). Request for Production- Each side may request the other to produce documents or things that might relate to the case.
(c). Depositions- This is a formal question and answer session, where a witness, or deponent, swears an oath to tell the truth in response to attorney questioning, and a court reporter, or stenographer, takes down every word. The record of the deposition is produced by court reporter and is called a deposition transcript and is often reviewed and signed off on as accurate by the deponent.
(d). Requests for Admission. This is a document where a party is asked to admit or deny a specific fact, and his answer can be used at trial to conclusively establish that the fact is true if admitted (or false if denied).
A Docket is the way the court keeps track of a case. It sometimes happen we come to know that case is “on the docket,” meaning that it is scheduled for some type of hearing. State courts control their dockets in a number of ways. Following are always used while analyzing docket.
(a). Motions and Pleadings List- This is where the parties move the case forward by filing complaints, answers, defenses and various other papers with court. These documents, called pleadings, move the case forward. There are also papers called motions that essentially ask the court to make a decision as to who is right or wrong on a particular issue or issues.
(b). Trial List- This is where the case is ready for trial and the pleadings are closed, meaning that all papers that need to be filed have been filed. A case can be on either the jury list ( where the case will be decided by a jury) or a courtside list (where the case will be decided by a judge).
(c). Hearing in Damages List- This is where a default has entered and the case goes forward to determine what the damages will be since the entry of the default means that liability is already proven/ established.
A serious crime which is punishable by death or at least one year in a state or federal prison. Felonies include crimes like arson, rape, perjury and homicide. When theft is involved, the value of that which was stolen determines whether the offense is considered a misdemeanor or felony.
Liability is the term often used to say that a defendant has responsibility for the damages. In another way, the purpose of a law suit is to prove that one party is liable for the injuries and damages suffered by the other.
At its most basic, Negligence is defined as follows:
- i) A party has a duty to another person – like a driver has a duty to remain in his own lane;
- ii) A party breaches (or breaks) the duty – like the driver who crosses over the yellow line;
iii) The breach of the duty causes injury (this is also called causation); and
- iv) The “innocent” party suffers a compensable injury (damages).
However, negligence can also be applied to a whole range of situations, from failure to shovel snow off stairs, to failure to maintain a deck, to failure to properly represent facts in a business deal, to many other scenarios.
- Punitive damages:
Damages awarded over and above compensatory damages for punishment. If the act causing the injury was committed out of negligence or malice, punitive damages serve not only as a punishment, but as an example or deterrent to others. It also helps put the injured party on a level playing field. For instance, an individual who loses a leg when hit by a drunk driver cannot be awarded a new leg, but a monetary award can help that person face the resultant obstacles.
A Plaintiff is the person who brings a lawsuit, sometimes also called a claimant. A plaintiff is the one who seeks to recover damages for a wrong committed by a defendant.
To testify means to make a statement (or testimony) under oath, whether it be at trial, at a deposition or in an affidavit (a written statement made under oath). Testimony should be both truthful and believable.
The legal basis ownership of real or personal property or a document that serves as serves as evidence of this ownership. Deeds for real estate, and titles for cars and boats are examples of titles.
Sometimes referred to as a “felony wobbler,” a wobbler is a crime that can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor. In some states, even if an offender is charged with a felony in a wobbler case, the judge may have the authority to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor.