Taking the Mystery Out of Some Legal Terms

The legal field has a language all its own. Some legal terms and concepts can be new and confusing. We created this quick reference guide to help our clients become familiar with some terms from the personal injury and medical malpractice genres. The more our clients understand and are comfortable with the process, the more they can contribute to securing our goal of a favorable outcome for their cases.

Birth Injuries
The birth of a child is usually a joyous occasion. However, sometimes an obstetrician or hospital staff can be negligent in the delivery of a child, causing severe birth defects or injuries to the mother. Common birth injuries include cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, brain damage, and hypoxia. If your child suffered a birth injury, you should speak with a New York personal injury lawyer about investigating the circumstances and potentially filing a claim on your infant’s behalf.

Car Accidents Negligence Claims
When you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you have a right to bring a claim against the negligent driver. Car accidents include rear-end collisions, head-on collisions, rollovers, T-bone collisions, pedestrian knockdowns, and other types of traffic accidents. Many auto accident victims suffer soft tissue accidents to the neck and back area due to the whipping effect of the accident. Some accident victims suffer broken bones, contusions, and lacerations from where their body struck a hard surface. Often motor vehicle incidents result in death and these are called “fatal incidents.” If you were hurt or a loved one died in a car accident, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at Peter DeFilippis & Associates can help handle the claim.

Construction or “Labor Law” Accidents
Construction is the most dangerous major industry for workers in the United States. Employees at construction sites are subjected to falls from heights, machinery and equipment accidents, trips and falls, and crane accidents. When a worker is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation claim with the company’s insurance carrier and potentially pursue a claim against negligent third parties as well. If you were hurt at a construction site, a NYC personal injury lawyer and construction accident attorney at Peter DeFilippis & Associates can help.

Contingency fee
Our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis meaning our firm does not charge a legal fee until we are successful in obtaining compensation for you, our client. Litigation costs and expenses are advanced by the firm and reimbursed when your case settles or after a trial and judgment. You do not get a “bill” in a personal injury or medical malpractice case for our legal services. if there is a settlement the legal fee is deducted from the settlement amount. The Attorneys do not set the percentage of the legal fee rather it is a percentage of the amount established by the High Court (Appellate Division) of New York State.

Defective Products (aka Products Liability)
Americans use thousands of different products every day. Each of these products could potentially be defective, and some defects cause injury. A defective product could be an automobile, infant safety seat, child’s swing set, food item, prescription drug or a tool. Any person who is injured by a defective product has a right to sue the manufacturer for the injuries the product caused. If you were hurt by a defective product, a NYC personal injury law firm can help you get compensation for your pain and suffering and any other harm and losses.

A deposition or Examination Before Trial (EBT) is a witness’s sworn out-of-court testimony. It is used to gather information as part of the discovery process and, in limited circumstances, may be used at trial. The witness being deposed is called the “deponent.”

FDA and Prescription Drugs 
Medications must be approved by the FDA to be sold in the United States. Products approved by the FDA, yet used for unapproved purposes may be unsafe and carry dangerous risks. The timely, efficient and effective resolution of defective medical products often calls for an attorney who is experienced in handling these matters and dedicated to providing the client with personal service. The average person needs a law firm that is ready, willing and able to stand up to those that are marketing drugs and supplements that can have potentially dangerous side effects.

Medical Malpractice
When we entrust a doctor or other medical professional with our care, we expect them to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that we are safe and healthy. Unfortunately, some doctors are negligent in their diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of their patients. When surgery is performed, doctors can also commit surgical malpractice. If you were injured because of some sort of medical mistake, you should contact a Manhattan personal injury lawyer as soon as possible as often strict time limitations exist. We are experts in processing medical malpractice claims and will evaluate your potential case with a free consultation.

Litigation has a broad definition when it comes to court cases, whether those cases involve personal injuries, divorce, criminal defense, family law or civil matters. Essentially, it is defined as a “lawsuit or legal action, including all the procedures involved.” That broad definition includes filing documents, filing petitions and motions, appearing in court to conference a case, handling depositions and submitting settlement documents in a civil case or handling a plea deal in criminal court. It does not necessarily include just actual trial work.

Personal Injury
Personal injury attorneys and lawyers typically represent clients (plaintiffs) who have been injured either financially or physically due to the fault (negligence) of another. When the injury results in a death, the claim becomes one for “wrongful death.”  See below.

Slip and Falls
A slip and fall accident, also called a premises liability accident, occurs when there is a dangerous condition in a building or on a piece of property. Dangerous conditions can include trip hazards, defective sidewalks, broken or wet stairs, ice, or a spill on the floor that was unattended. If you injured yourself due to a defect in someone else’s building or property, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you are eligible to file a New York personal injury lawsuit. Evidence must be preserved at the onset of the case as delaying could impact the case.

A subpoena is a document that requires its recipient to appear in court as a witness. If you receive a subpoena, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong; it just means you may have information that’s needed by the court.

Work-Related Accidents
An accident in the workplace can be a serious, debilitating, and even fatal accident. Many jobs have serious hazards, including jobs that involve heavy machinery, heights, or heavy lifting. However, almost any job can have a health or safety hazard. A nurse can injure his/her back while lifting a patient. A worker who handles asbestos can develop mesothelioma. A construction worker can be injured in a crane accident. All of these injured workers need a NYC personal injury attorney who can help them get a fair Workers’ Compensation settlement or pursue a claim against other persons or entities who may be negligent.

Wrongful Death
When someone dies through the negligent act of another, a wrongful death claim can result. In a wrongful death case, the personal representative of the estate of a deceased person is authorized to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the person’s death. A wrongful death case can arise from any type of personal injury case including medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, airplane accidents and all other torts.

The death of a loved one is a profound and horrible event. Our Firm specializes in dealing with families that have experienced such tragedy and we have developed a unique ability to help those affected by the death. We realize how important it is to provide our clients assistance with basic legal issues that arise after a death and how important it is that the wrongful death action be tenaciously prosecuted so that a full financial recovery can be obtained. The law in a wrongful death case in New York is multifaceted and our attorneys have both the experience and expertise to build a solid case against all negligent parties.

We also retain expert economists and financial analysts because every wrongful death case has its own set of associated losses, including lost wages, the cost of care, and many other monetary costs as well as pain and suffering. In order to accurately assess what these costs will be in the future, we use these financial professionals in order to derive the best possible resolution for our clients.