Legal Definitions

As your case progresses, you will come across various terms that may be unfamiliar to you. Martinez & Associates has put together a glossary to aid your understanding as we prosecute your wrongful death or injury claim.

Affidavit - A written formal statement that is declared under oath.

Arbitration - A procedure which occurs outside of the courtroom where dispute takes place before a neutral arbitrator.

Attorney Client Privilege - All communications that take place between the attorney and client are confidential.

Complaint - A legal document that is filed in order to initiate a civil lawsuit. The complaint outlines the plaintiff's allegations against the defendant. It also includes their prayers for relief.

Contingency Fee - Instead of an hourly or fixed fee, a contingency fee is paid out to an attorney when the case is won. It is a percentage of the verdict settlement amount. In the event that the lawyer is not successful, no fee charged will be charged to the client.

Decubitus Ulcer - Areas of damaged skin and tissue which are caused by circulation to an area of the body being stifled. The lack of circulation in the area results in death of the tissues. Most bed sores take place when a bedridden person can't switch positions. These are also referred to as pressure sores or bed sores.

Defendant - The individual against whom the lawsuit is brought.

Deposition - Oral testimony that is taken under oath where one party presents questions to the other's relevant witnesses.

Discovery - An investigation that happens prior to the lawsuit going to trial.

Docket - The docket is a calendar of cases that will take place in court in a set period of time.

Elopement / Wandering - The nursing home resident's being able to leave the premises without supervision.

Fall Risk Assessment - Assessment performed by the nursing home staff in order to determine the resident's risk of falling.

The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act/OBRA - The Act sets the precedent of care and regulations that a nursing home needs to follow to respect the rights of nursing home residents.

Federal Tort Claims Act - In the event of negligent actions of a federal employer that results in physical injury, property damage, or loss of life to another person, the victim has the right to seek out compensation from the government under Federal Tort Claims Act of 1946.

Interrogatory - Describes the exchange of written questions between parties of a lawsuit used to disclose important information.

Medical malpractice - The care offered by a healthcare provider that does not meet the established standard of care and causes a patient's injury or death.

Motion - A request to have a judge's ruling on an issue where both parties cannot agree made orally or in writing during a lawsuit.

Plaintiff - The party that starts the lawsuit against the defendant.

Power of Attorney - A document that gives someone legal authority to act on behalf of another person.

Product Liability - The area of personal injury law that is focused on defective or dangerous products. Manufacturers must be held legally responsible for injuries or damages caused by their defective products.

Sepsis - A blood infection that is bacterial in nature, also referred to as septicemia.

Settlement Mediation - A dispute resolution tactic that is aimed at helping parties reach a settlement in order to avoid going to court. A neutral third party helps each person reach a satisfactory resolution.

Statute of Limitations - The specific time limit outlined for a plaintiff to be able to file a lawsuit.

Summary Judgement - The judge's decision that resolves a lawsuit in favor of one of the parties. When one person is entitled to judgment by law and there aren't enough material facts to dispute between parties.

Summons - A legal document that is prepared by the plaintiff and issued by court to tell the defendant they are being sued.

Tort - Wrongful or negligent conduct by one person causing injury to another which results in damages being brought.