Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Duhaime's Tort and Personal Injury Law Dictionary

This is a specialized sub-listing of our comprehensive Law Dictionary, where we've grouped terms relevant to this topic. If your term or phrase is not here, do a SEARCH using the search box above.

Abate
To put an end to, to nullify or to become void.
Absolute Immunity
Shields public officials from being sued for official acts without regard to motive.
Absolute Liability
Offences in which it is not open to a person to avoid liability on the ground that she or he acted under a reasonable mistake of fact which, if the facts had been as the accused believed them to be, would have made his act innocent.
Absolute Nuisance
Intentional conduct or an abnormally dangerous condition that cannot be maintained without injury to property, no matter what precautions are taken.
Absolute Privilege
An absolute defence to an otherwise defamatory statement because of the venue or context in which the statement was made.
Abuse
Physical or nonphysical misuse or maltreatment or use or treatment so as to injure, hurt, or damage.
Abuse of Process
The use of legal process in an improper or unauthorized manner.
Accident
An unlooked for mishap or occurrence.
Actio Personalis Moritur Cum Persona
Latin: any right of action dies with the person.
Act of God
An event which is caused solely by the effect of nature or natural causes and without any interference by humans whatsoever.
Actuary
Professionals uniquely skilled in the application of mathematics to risk management, contingent events and opportunity.
Actus Dei Nemini Facit Injuriam
Latin: An act of God causes legal injury to no one.
Ad Damnum
Latin: to the damage.
Agent
A person who has received the power to act on behalf of another, binding that other person as if he or she were themselves making the decisions.
Aggravated Damages
Damages awarded by a court to reflect the exceptional harm done to a plaintiff of a tort action.
Alia Enormia
Latin: The catch-all phrase in trespass pleadings to refer to all such other harms and damages that may have been caused by the alleged trespasser other than those specified.
Ambulance Chaser
One who follows up cases of accident and tries to induce the injured party to bring suit for damages.
Ancient Lights
An opening through which light has flowed uninterrupted for twenty years and which can, in some circumstances, support a claim for nuisance if blocked.
Apology
A statement of regret and responsibility for an act or omission.
Arthritis
A medical condition characterized by the inflammation of the joints.
Assault
The touching of another person with an intent to harm, without that person's consent.
Automatism
An act done by a person who is not conscious of what he is doing.
Avulsion
The removal of land from one real property and its deposit on the property of another, by the sudden action of nature (eg. water or volcano).
Barrator
A person who, on more than one occasion, incites litigation or spreads false rumours.
Battery
Offensive and intentional contact, direct or indirect, which causes injury.
Bonus pater familias
Latin: the good family man.
But For
A test in tort law linking the tort and the damages (aka causation), which are stated as: "but for" the defendant's negligence, the plaintiff would not have been injured.
Cartoon
A normally humourous and pictorial parody which by caricature, analogy or ludicrous juxtaposition sharpens the public view of a contemporary event, political or social trend.
Causa Causans
The real, effective cause of damage.
Causa Proxima Et Non Remota Spectatur
Latin: the immediate, not the remote cause, is to be considered.
Causa Sine Qua Non
An intervening cause of loss which, though not direct, may nonetheless contribute to the loss.
Causation
The cause and effect relationship between an act or omission and damages alleged in a tort or personal injury action.
Civil Code
A document in civil law jurisdictions that purports to be a compendium of the applicable law as it pertains to the citizen.
Civil Conspiracy
A business tort; an agreement by two persons or more to do an unlawful act or a conspiracy to injure another.
Civil Law
A body of law derived and evolved directly from Roman Law, the primary feature of which is that laws are struck in writing; codified, and not determined, as in the common law, by the opinions of judges based on historic customs.
Civil Liability
A civil law requirement to compensate another because of an unlawful injury to his/her person or property.
Class Action
When different persons combine their lawsuits into one opposed to a common defendant, because the facts are sufficiently similar.
Collateral Source Rule
A tortfeasor is not allowed to deduct from the amount he or she would be held to pay to the victim of the tort, any goods, services or money received by that victim from other 'collateral' sources as a result of the tort (eg. insurance benefits).
Commodum Ex Injuria Sua Nemo Habere Debet
Latin: a wrongdoer should not be enabled by law to take any advantage from his actions.
Commonality
A feature of a group of people seeking to be certified for a class action, that there are questions of law and fact common to the prospective group (class).
Common Interest Privilege
A privilege which protects defamatory statements if made in good faith to an individual with an interest in the statement.
Common Law
Judge-declared law. Law which exists and applies to a group on the basis of customs and legal precedents developed over hundreds of years in Britain.
Common Law Malice
A species of malice relevant to defamation proceedings, which focuses on the defendant's feelings towards the plaintiff, and which may give rise to punitive damages.
Common Nuisance
A public nuisance; an unreasonable interference with a right common to the general public.
Comparative Negligence
An tort law analysis which considers the negligence of the victim and which may lead to a reduction of the award against the defendant, proportionate to the contribution of the victim’s negligence.
Compensatory Damages
Damages that compensate the injured victim for injuries actually endured.
Conspiracy
An agreement between two or more persons to commit a criminal act.
Contingency Fee
A method of payment of legal fees represented by a percentage of an award.
Contract Law
That body of law which regulates the formation and enforcement of contracts.
Contribution
The right of a person who has discharged a common liability to recover proportionate share from the other(s) that were so liable.
Contributory Negligence
The negligence of a person which, while not being the primary cause of a tort, nevertheless combined with the act or omission of the primary defendant to cause the tort, and without which the tort would not have occurred.
Corrective Force
Force used upon those over which an individual generally has guardian responsibilities, used to remove a dependent from a particular situation or to secure compliance with instructions.
Criminal Negligence
Reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.
Crumbling Skull Rule
A legal theory, companion to the thin skull rule, which limits a tort defendant’s exposure to a plaintiff’s injuries to the plaintiff’s condition at the time of the tort.
Culpa Lata
Latin: gross negligence.
Damages
A cash compensation ordered by a court to offset losses or suffering caused by another’s fault or negligence.
Damnum Absque Injuria
Latin: harm absent a wrong.
Damnum Injuria Datum
Latin: wrongful injury to the property of another.
Deadly Force
Force which creates a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury.
Death
Irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions and of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem.
Deceptive Trade Practice
An intentional act or omission in the course of trade or commerce that has the tendency or capacity to mislead or create the likelihood of deception.
Defamation
An attack on the good reputation of a person, by slander or libel.
Defamatory Libel
Deliberate publication of defamatory lies which the publisher knows to be false.
Defendant
The individual, company or organization who defends a legal action taken by a plaintiff and against whom the court has been asked to order damages or specific corrective action redress some type of unlawful or improper action alleged by the plaintiff.
De injuria sua propria absque tali causa
Latin: of his own wrong (or injury) without any other cause.
Deliberate Indifference
Ignoring a situation known to exist.
Delict
A civil law term which imposes liability on a person who causes injury to another, or for injury caused by a person or thing under his custody.
Detinue
A common law action similar to conversion and also involving the possession of property by the plaintiff may also ask for damages for the duration of the possession.
Disability Insurance
An insurance contract in which the insurer agrees to pay money or to other benefits in the event that the person insured becomes disabled.
Disclaimer
A renunciation or refusal of rights or liability which might otherwise fall upon the person.
Domitae Naturae
Animals which are of a nature easily tamed and may be readily domesticated.
Due Care
The degree of care which a person of ordinary prudence would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.
Duty
A legal obligation for a person to conduct himself to a certain standard failing which he could be liable for negligence if damages occur in the result.
Duty of Care
An obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of another against an unreasonable risk of harm.
Economic Tort
Intentional tort wherein a defendant uses an unlawful means to cause a plaintiff some economic loss.
Eggshell Skull Doctrine
A tort-feasor or a wrongdoer takes his victim as he finds him.
Exculpate
That which excuses from fault; justifies a wrong action.
Ex Turpi Causa Non Oritur Actio
Latin: Of an illegal cause there can be no lawsuit.
Fair Comment
A comment made which though defamatory, is not actionable as it is an opinion on a matter of public interest.
False Arrest
The intentional and total confinement of a person against his will without lawful justification.
False Imprisonment
Intentional and total imprisonment of a person against his or her will and without lawful justification.
Fault
A breach of duty or negligence and, in some circumstances, the errors or omissions of others or of things under a person's control.
Ferae Naturae
Latin: wild in nature; usually in reference to wild animals such as monkeys or lions.
Firefighters' Rule
Public safety officers have no claim for injuries suffered during the performance of their duties on the premises of a hazard, even if intentionally created.
Force Majeure
French for an act of God; an inevitable, unpredictable act of nature, not dependent on an act of man.
Furtum
Latin: theft or a thing stolen..
General Damages
Damages not readily calculated such as pain and suffering.
Ghost Surgery
Surgery performed by an unauthorized substitute surgeon.
Global Deterioration Scale
A psychiatric tool charting stages of dementia.
Golden Rule Argument
A suggestion made to a jury that it place itself in the defendant's position.
Gross Negligence
An action or an omission in reckless disregard of the consequences to the safety or property of another.
Hazing
Unofficial punishment administered by peers.
Hedonic Damages
Damages sought for loss of enjoyment of life.
Humanitarian Doctrine
A principle of tort law which requires an individual to take every action at hand to avoid an accident where peril to another human being is otherwise imminent.
Incapacitated
An individual who lacks the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care.
Incompetency
An individual who has a significant risk of personal harm based upon an inability to adequately provide for nutrition, health, housing, or physical safety.
In Defense of Life
A justification for self-defense.
Indemnity
Contract with a third-party to perform another's obligations if called upon to do so by the third-party, whether the other has defaulted or not.
Inducing Breach of Contract
An intentional, economic tort; knowingly and intentionally procuring the breach of a contract, without lawful justification, causing damage to another party to the contract.
In Jure Non Remota Causa Sed Proxima Spectatur
Latin: In law the near cause is looked to, not the remote one.
Innuendo
In defamation, the inferential, inherent or secondary meaning of words.
In Pari Delicto
Latin: both parties are equally at fault.
Inscrutable Fault
A judicial finding that a fault has occurred but the court is unable to locate the source, to pinpoint a tort-feasor.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
The malicious and outrageous causation of severe emotional distress.
Intentional Infliction of Nervous Shock
A wilfully false statement that comes to and causes mental anguish to another.
Intentional Tort
Torts actionable upon evidence of an intent to cause harm on another, such as assault, trespass, false imprisonment, private nuisance, defamation or invasion of privacy.
Intimidation
An intentional, economic tort against a person who issues a threat to engage in unlawful conduct if specified demands are not met.
Intrusion Upon Seclusion
A privacy tort; intentionally intruding upon the seclusion or private affairs or concerns of another if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
Inverse Passing-Off
Where a provider of goods or services takes the benefit of another's reputation by claiming that goods or services for which the other properly deserves the credit, were in fact hls.
Joint and Several Liability
Liability of more than one person for which each person is liable to pay back the entire amount of a debt or damages.
Jones Act
A section of a 1920 American law which gave injured sailors, or their estate, the right to sue the employer if the injury or death resulted from the employer's negligence.
Judicial Proceeding
Procedurals and hearings before a court, or a tribunal or administrative board that performs a judicial function
Jury
A group of citizens randomly selected from the general population and brought together to assist justice by deciding which version, in their opinion, constitutes 'the truth' given different evidence by opposing parties.
Jus Ex Injuria Non Oritur
Latin: a legal right or entitlement cannot arise from an unlawful act or omission.
Justification
An answer or defence to an allegation of wrongful conduct that the act or omission, though admittedly committed, was not wrongful in all the circumstances.
Laches
An allegation that a legal right is stale under the circumstances and no longer able to support enforcement.
Last Clear Chance Doctrine
A principle of tort law which requires an individual to take every action at hand to avoid an accident where peril to another human being is otherwise imminent.
Learned Intermediary Doctrine
A doctrine of American personal injury law which places upon a prescribing physician the primary responsibility to warn patients of the hazards of prescribed pharmaceutical products.
Lex Causae
Latin; law of the cause.
Lex Loci Delecti
Latin: the place of the wrong.
Liability
A legal obligation, either due now or at some time in the future.
Libel
Written form of defamation such as on the Internet, in a newspaper or a letter.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Damages claimed based on alleged detrimental alterations of a person's life or lifestyle or a person's inability to participate in the activities or pleasures of life that were formerly enjoyed.
Lubricum Linquae Non Facile Trahendum Est In Poena
Latin: the law tends to overlook rash or inconsiderate language spoken in the heat of the moment.
Lunatic
An individual who, though once of sound mind, can no longer manage his person or his affairs.
Mala Fides
Latin: bad faith.
Malice
Spite or ill-will.
Malicious Prosecution
An intentional tort which redresses losses flowing from an unjustified prosecution.
Man on the Clapham Omnibus
Phrase coined by English courts in negligence cases, to refer to the reasonable person.
Mansuetae Naturae
Latin: animals which are now generally domestic, presumed gentle and readily tamed, such as dogs, cats, cows and horses.
Medical Malpractice
Negligence of a health care professional in the diagnosis, care, and treatment of a patient.
Mitigating Circumstances
Facts that, while not negating a wrongful action, tend to show that the defendant may have had some grounds for acting the way he/she did.
Mitigation of Damages
The obligation upon a person who sues another for damages, to minimize - mitigate - those damages, as far as reasonable.
Necessitas Indicit Privilegium Quoad Jura Privata
From necessity spring privileges upon private rights.
Necessity
A defense or excuse from conviction of a crime committed.
Negligence
A breach of a duty to take care.
Nemo Debet Locupletari Ex Aliena Jactura
Latin: no one should be enriched by another's loss.
Nervous Shock
A recognizable psychiatric illness caused by the breach of duty.
Non-pecuniary Damages
Damages which are not readily quantified or valued in money, such as proposed compensation for pain and suffering.
Non Compos Mentis
Latin: Not of sound mind.
Nuisance
Excessive or unlawful use of one’s property to the extent of unreasonable annoyance or inconvenience to a neighbor or to the public.
Occupation
A job, employment or the character of being physically inside or upon a place.
Occupational Therapy
The employment and function assessment and treatment of post-injury, illness or disability.
Occupiers' Liability
Liability of a person who controls land or building(s) in regards to damages caused to others who enter thereon.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and other forms of distress caused by another's tort.
Passing-Off
Making some false representation likely to induce a person to believe that the goods or services are those of another.
Peril of the Sea
Damage to property occurring as a result of an accident at sea.
Per Quod Consortium Amisit
Latin: whereby he loses the company of his wife.
Personal Injury
Injury to the natural body of a person.
Personal Living Expenses
Expenses reasonably necessary to maintain health and well-being, to enjoy life's activities, and the capacity to earn money.
Phillips v Eyre, Rule in
When a tort has been committed on foreign soil, it cannot be brought on home soil unless it was actionable if it had of occurred on home soil, and without legal justification at the place it occurred.
Pierringer Release
A proportionate share settlement agreement
Pit Bull
Dogs which exhibit appearance and physical characteristics of any of a pit bull terrier or Staffordshire, American or American Staffordshire bull terrier.
Place of the Wrong
A selection of a venue to serve as the nexus of a tort when the tort evolves from a series of events, and for the purposes of establishing liability that may flow from the alleged tort.
Plaintiff
The person who initiates, who brings or files a case with a court; who sues.
Political Speech
Expressions which comment on government action rather than the private conduct of an individual.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
A mental disorder that results from an extreme traumatic stress.
Premises Liability
The liability of an occupier of real property towards injury to others.
Prescription
A method of acquiring or extinguishing rights through the inaction of the legal owner.
Private Nuisance
An unreasonable interference with the use or enjoyment of land.
Proximate Cause
The most direct, effective or substantial cause of a tort; relevant where the negligence of more than one person contributed.
Publication
Communication of the alleged defamatory statement to a third-party.
Public Duty Doctrine
A principle of personal injury law; that government owes duties to the public at large rather than to individuals.
Public Nuisance
A nuisance (tort) which interferes with public convenience or welfare.
Punitive Damages
Special and highly exceptional damages ordered by a court against a defendant where the act or omission which caused the suit, was of a particularly heinous, malicious or highhanded nature.
Qualified Immunity
Shields public official from any litigation in regards to acts undertaken in good faith.
Qualified Privilege
A defence in defamation actions that defeats the claim when the alleged defamation issues during specified occasions.
Quantum
Latin: amount or extent.
Quasi-Delict
Civil law: a delict (wrong) caused by negligence.
Qui Facit Per Alium Facit Per Se
Latin: he who acts through another, acts himself.
Qui Jure Suo Utitur Neminem Facit Injuriam
Latin: he who exercises his legal rights harms no one.
Qui Jussu Judicis Aliquod Fecerit, Non Videtur Dolo Malo Fecisse, Quia Parere Necesse Est
Latin: One who does a wrongful act by order of a Court having jurisdiction, is not liable in tort, because he must obey the law.
Qui Non Obstat Quod Obstare Potest, Facere Videtur
Latin: an individual who does not prevent something which he/she could of prevented, is taken to have done that thing.
Rapina
Latin: to take away forcefully.
Reasonable Man
An ethereal concept of an average person and his/her conduct, against which the actions of another is weighed.
Remedy
Remedial judicial action to right a wrong or to prevent a infringement upon a legal right.
Res Ipsa Loquitur
Latin: the thing speaks for itself.
Respondeat superior
Latin: let the principal answer.
Restitutio In Integrum
Latin: restitution to the original position.
Reverse Passing-Off
The action of a provider of goods or services who purchases another's goods or services, removes the latter's trademark and replaces it with its own.
Right to be Forgotten
A right to have personal information deleted from some second party's electronic or paper records or databases.
Rylands v. Fletcher, the Rule in
Strict liability for landowners for damage caused by dangerous substances which escapes from their land and damages others.
Scienter
Latin: actual or guilty knowledge; knowingly.
Self-Defence
A person is not responsible for an act if the conduct is carried-out in self-defence of self or of another.
Semayne's Case
A 1604 English case that established the right of a home-owner to defend his premises against intrusion ("every man's house is his castle") yields to those seeking to enter with lawful authority such as to make an arrest.
Sexual Abuse
The tort or crime of an assault of a sexual nature.
Sexual Assault
A sexual act upon or directed to another which is unwanted and not consented to by the other.
Shock
A sudden and disturbing impression on the mind.
Sic Utera Tuo Ut Alienam Non Laedas
Latin: use your property in such a fashion so as to not disturb others.
Sine Qua Non
Latin: without which, not.
Slander
Verbal or spoken defamation.
Slander of Title
Intentionally casting aspersion on someones property including real property, a business or goods (the latter might also be called slander of goods).
Solidary Obligation
Civil law: a legal relationship where one or more of several debtors are each liable to pay the entire amount, or one or more of several creditors each able to collect the whole.
Son Of A Bitch
A derogatory and possibly defamatory reference to another person suggesting that they are of substandard lineage.
Special Damages
Damages capable of precise calculation such as out-of-pocket expenses and loss of earnings.
Spite Fence
A fence built not to any beneficial purpose but, rather, to annoy a neighbor.
Static Condition
A condition that does not change and is dangerous only if someone fails to see it and walks into it.
Statutes
The written laws approved by legislatures, parliaments or elected or appointed houses of assembly.
Storm in Progress Rule
A doctrine of personal injury law excusing a property owner for injuries occurring before the owner has had a reasonable chance to address hazards created by a storm.
Strict Liability
Tort liability which is set upon the defendant without need to prove intent, negligence or fault; as long as you can prove that it was the defendant's object that caused the damage.
Substantial Awareness Test
The realization by a person of the harmful nature of a crime or a tort perpetrated against him/her.
Sudden Emergency Doctrine
A principle of tort law which alleviates the standard of care in emergency circumstances.
Superficial Wound
A scrape, bruise, discoloration, or swelling, of minimal severity.
Superseding Cause
An intervening act or event which overwhelms a defendant's antecedent negligence and prevents him/her from being liable.
Temporal Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction of a state or of a court of law over a legal action as it may be affected by the effects or passage of time.
Thin Skull Rule
An additional exposure in tort liability towards persons who are particularly vulnerable or more fragile than the norm, who may have inherent weaknesses or a pre-existing vulnerability or condition; the tort-feasor takes his victim as he finds them; he compensates for all damages he caused, even if damages are elevated compared to a norm because the plaintiff was thin skulled.
Tort
The body of the law which allows an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury.
Tort-Feasor
The person(s) who has committed a tort.
Trade Libel
Defamatory statements made in regards to the quality of a business' product(s) or services.
Trespass
Unlawful interference with another’s person, property or rights.
Trover
An old English and common law legal proceeding against a person who had found someone else’s property and has converted that property to their own purposes.
Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium
Latin: For every wrong, the law provides a remedy.
Ultrahazardous Activity
Activities that can cause injury to others, even when conducted with the greatest prudence and care.
Unlawful Interference with Economic Interests
An intentional and economic tort; one person using unlawful means with the object and effect of causing economic or other damage to another.
Vicarious Liability
Liability for the tort of another even though the person being held responsible may not have done anything wrong.
Vigilantibus Et Non Dormientibus Jura Subveniunt
Latin: the law assists those that are vigilant with their rights, and not those that sleep thereupon.
Volenti Non Fit Injuria
Latin: to one who is willing, no harm is done.
Waiver
An intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege.
Waiver By Conduct
The abandonment of a right implied from a person's conduct.
Waste
The abuse, destruction or permanent change to property by one who is merely in possession of it as in the case of a tenant or a life tenant.
Whiplash
Soft tissue (nerves and muscles) damage to the neck or lower brain area, often caused by a rear-end motor vehicle collision.
Wild Animal
Animals that, as a matter of common knowledge, are naturally ferocious, unpredictable, dangerous, mischievous, or not by custom devoted to the service of mankind at the time and in the place in which it is kept; ferae naturae.
Wrongful Birth
A mother's claim in tort that she would not to have given birth to the child with serious genetic defects but for the defendant's negligence in testing or counselling.
Wrongful Death
A claim for non-economic damages for post-death loss of society and companionship and other claims relating to the death of a tort victim.
Wrongful Invasion
In the context of the tort of nuisance, the enjoyment of property rights of another.
Wrongful Life
A child's tort claim for bringing the child to birth where the person so doing knew or ought to have known that the child would be born into a life of painful and debilitating disease.
Wrongful Pregnancy
A tort claim alleging that the defendant's negligence has caused an unwanted pregnancy and birth.

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