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Legal Terminology 101

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Legal Books

At Hirsch Andrade, LLP, we keep our clients informed about their case throughout the claim process. During client discussions, we are frequently asked to explain some of the legal terms we use, which some may find confusing.

We compiled the following list of frequently-used legal terms that you may come across during your personal injury case.


This describes evidence that can be considered by a jury or a judge.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) means resolving disputes outside of court. Unlike litigation, which will have a binary outcome (win or lose), parties can use ADR to tailor the desired outcome.

ADR includes negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. The ADR process allows parties to combine these methods and tailor the rules to fit their needs.


When an injured person (plaintiff) files a personal injury claim against another party (defendant), the dispute can sometimes result in a civil trial. If the plaintiff is unhappy with the result of the trial, he/she has the option to appeal the court’s decision.

Bench Trial

Trial without a jury. The judge serves as the fact-finder. This would mean that the judge reviews the evidence and listens to the arguments of counsel before rendering a decision.


Money that a defendant must pay a plaintiff in a civil case if the plaintiff wins. Damages may be compensatory (for loss or injury) or punitive (to punish and deter further misconduct).


An individual who the lawsuit is against.


Procedures used to obtain disclosure of evidence before trial.

Due Process

Due process is a requirement that legal matters be resolved according to established rules and principles, and that individuals be treated fairly.


Evidence that has been presented by a witness who did not see or hear the incident in question. Rather, they heard about it from someone else.


The process of calling a witness’s testimony into doubt.


Litigation is the act of bringing a case to court to settle a dispute. The term describes the actual legal process where parties argue their case against each other in our court system.


Negligence is a key factor in personal injury claims and lawsuits. If an individual or entity has been negligent or guilty of wrongdoing which causes the unnecessary injuries of another, the negligent party(ies) may be held legally responsible.


The conduct of legal proceedings against someone.


A civil wrong. Negligent or intentional injury against a person or property.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In an accident, the insurance of the at-fault person is supposed to compensate the other injured person. If the at-fault party's policy has a limit below the cost of the damages, the injured party's underinsured motorist coverage would cover the rest, up to the limits of said coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is a component of an auto insurance policy that provides coverage when an injured person is involved in an accident and (1) the at-fault driver does not have insurance; (2) the at-fault vehicle does not have insurance; (3) the at-fault driver flees the scene; (4) the at-fault vehicle was stolen.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, reach out to the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Hirsch Andrade, LLP. Call us at (203) 331-8888 for a free consultation today.


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