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Legal Terms

Glossary of Terms

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)

A term that describes small, open buggy or tricycle motorized vehicles that typically operate off-road in rural areas. Both child-size and adult-size ATVs have come under scrutiny for the hazard they pose because of their high speeds and lack of exterior

Appeal

The process for requesting a higher court to review and formally make a change to an official legal decision. The appellate court is the higher court who reviews the lower court's decision, often a supreme court.

Compensatory Damages

Money awarded to a plaintiff in a civil court case for actual economic losses.

In some states, compensatory damages may cover only actual economic losses, like medical bills and lost income. In others, compensatory damages may include compensation for things like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Contingency Fee

Our office works on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay for attorney's fees or costs unless we get your personal injury case settled or we win at trial. In essence, we win if you win.

Damages

The amount of money awarded to the plaintiff in a civil court case. Money may be awarded for compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Defendant

In a civil court of law, the party against whom the civil lawsuit has been filed.

Demand Letter

A letter expressly stating a legal right and an amount due as reasonable compensation for injuries to person and/or property.

Discrimination

Unequal and unfair treatment of individuals based on race, sex, age, marital status, religion or any other factor in consideration for employment, housing, arrest and other.

Due Diligence

In tort law, the effort made by a prudent or reasonable party to avoid or prevent harm to another party. If the party is determined in court not to have acted with due diligence, that party may be considered negligent.

Mediation

A procedure by which an impartial third person meets with all the parties and attempts, in an informal setting, to find common ground so that a compromise can be reached to settle the claim or complaint.

Medical Lien

This is where medical provider cares for you with the understanding that they will be paid when the case is settled.

Negligence

Failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in like circumstances in protecting others from a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm in a particular situation.

Personal Injury

An injury not to property, but to the body, mind, or emotions. For example, if you slip and fall on a greasy floor in the grocery store, personal injury covers any actual physical harm (broken leg and bruises) you suffered in the fall as well as the humility suffered from the accident.

Plaintiff

The plaintiff is the one who is claiming damages for injury.

Release

Waiver, relinquishment, or giving up a right, claim, or demand.

Relevant Evidence

Evidence having a tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more or less probable than it would be without the evidence. Generally, only relevant evidence is admissible.

Statue of Limitations

A state law limiting the amount of time within which legal action may be taken.

Summons

A summons is a paper issued by a court informing a person that a complaint has been filed against her.

Tort Law

The body of the law, which allows an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury.

Witness

Someone with knowledge pertaining to the facts of the case. Each party identifies his/her witnesses prior to trial or arbitration.

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Committed To Our Community

As a native of Fresno, Darryl B. Freedman is committed to California's Central San Joaquin Valley. He works to improve lives in our community by practicing law in the community he loves. Raised in the San Joaquin Valley, Mr. Freedman attended Fresno High School and went on to earn his bachelors degree in Public Administration from California State University, Fresno.