Basic Lawsuit Terms and Definitions for Personal Injury Cases

Every personal injury lawsuit is different. However, all cases will involve some basic legal terminology and procedures. Whether you are injured in a car crash or slip and fall accident, understanding some classic personal injury and courtroom terms will help you better understand your rights to being compensated for your damages and losses as a wrongfully injured victim.

Continue reading to familiarize yourself with the basic terms and definitions you’ll likely hear during the process of your personal injury case.

Personal Injury Law Firm Indianapolis 317-636-7497
Personal Injury Law Firm Indianapolis 317-636-7497

Personal Injury Glossary Terms


A tort is an act that is wrongful, but neither criminal nor deriving from a contractual agreement. Tort cases are adjudicated in civil court, not criminal court. However, some torts can also be penalized as criminal offenses if they are intentional. An intentional tort is a wrongful act that was done knowingly and on purpose. Anyone guilty of an intentional tort can be penalized in both civil and criminal court.

Example of torts include drunk driving accidents, wrongful deaths, medical malpractice, product defects, dog bites, and negligent supervision. Victims who are wrongfully injured or damaged by torts may seek damages in a personal injury lawsuit.


Negligence is the central factor in all personal injury cases. Negligence can be intentional or unintentional, as well as an action or inaction. Failing to act with reasonable care or behaving carelessly or recklessly are basic acts of negligence in personal injury cases. In order to be successful in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff party holds the burden of proving negligence.

Here in Indiana, state law recognizes modified comparative negligence. This means that an injured victim or plaintiff party can collect compensation from an at-fault party/parties so long as they are less than 50% responsible for the accident.

Burden of Proof

The plaintiff party holds the burden of proof, meaning they are responsible for proving negligence on behalf of the at fault party, whether that be a company, government sector, or individual person. In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff party must demonstrate 4 things:

➀ The opposing party had a legal duty of care to the plaintiff party.
➁ The opposing party violated or breached their legal duty of care.
➂ The opposing party’s violation was a direct cause of the victim’s damages.
➃ The victim’s damages are real and tangible.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations are the time restrictions set by the state in which a plaintiff can bring about a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault party. Once these time limits have passed, and injured victim is no longer eligible to pursue legal action against the party who caused their injuries in subsequent damages. Most personal injury statutes of limitations are two years from the date of the accident or incident, but other types of personal injury cases may have shorter or longer time restrictions.


The person or group of people who file a personal injury claim against another party is known as the plaintiff or plaintiff party.


The person, group of people, company, or government sector being sued by a wrongfully injured victim is the defendant in a personal injury case.


A complaint is the filing and initiation of a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a complaint is essentially a plaintiff’s means of expressing their grievances to the courts. Complaints must be filed with the proper court.


Following the filing of a complaint, the defendant must provide a formal answer expressing their position regarding the allegations decreed in the personal injury complaint.


Damages are the economic and non-economic losses experienced by the injured victim and or their surviving families. Economic damages can be quantified, while noneconomic damages are not easily quantifiable. Common personal-injury damages include medical expenses, hospital bills, lost wages from missing time at work, pain-and-suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, different levels of disability, and all future and foreseeable losses like prolonged physical therapy, rehabilitation, counseling, and more.

Prayer for Relief

A prayer for relief is included within the plaintiff’s personal-injury complaint. It is basically a phrase to describe how much the plaintiff is asking for in compensation.

Are you and injured victim looking for a skilled civil litigator to represent your personal injury case in Indiana? Contact Carl Brizzi LAW at 317-636-7497 to speak with a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. Meet over the phone or in person for a free consultation!

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Carl Brizzi Law Indianapolis Indiana
Carl Brizzi Law Indianapolis Indiana 317-636-7497

Does Riding a Bicycle Make You a Pedestrian or Driver?

Cycling is a prevalent and historically admired past time for people of all ages and genders. Riding your bike is a great way to get some healthy exercise and enjoy yourself at the same time. It is also a convenient and economical means of transportation for thousands all around the world. But when you are on a bike, are you considered pedestrian or a driver? Furthermore, our bicyclists legally permitted to ride in the road with other vehicles or are they required to remain on designated sidewalks and writing paths?

Continue reading to learn whether riding a bicycle makes you pedestrian or driver, and what to do if you are injured in a pedestrian accident in Indiana.

Indiana Pedestrian Accident Lawyers 317-636-7497
Indiana Pedestrian Accident Lawyers 317-636-7497

Bicyclists Versus Drivers

The determination of a bicyclist being a driver or pedestrian largely depends on the local jurisdiction, which will vary greatly among municipalities. This makes it difficult to determine the proper categorization without first reviewing local and state laws. It is important to do so in order to ensure such ordinances are aligned with your cycling practices.

Although bike riding laws and ordinances vary among jurisdictions, the general consensus among most municipalities is that bicycles are a type of vehicle, and therefore, anyone riding a bike on the road is considered a driver. Accordingly, bicycle riders must adhere to all traffic rules and laws, or at least the majority of them. Some states actually require bicycles to have registered license plates if they ride on the road.

Here in Indiana, bicycle riders are considered drivers, which means they must obey all stop signs, stop lights, traffic signals, and road rules. Bicyclists must also remain on the very right outer edge of the road when cycling off the sidewalk.

Some municipalities are even enacting laws restricting bike riders from using their cell phones or texting, as it is considered a dangerous form of distracted driving that can lead to serious car accidents and pedestrian accidents.

Pedestrian Laws and Rights

Pedestrians also have rules they must follow in Indiana, including obeying all traffic signals and crosswalk signals. Pedestrians must also refrain from obstructing the flow of traffic and only use marked crosswalks and authorized crossing paths. When using marked crosswalks and designated crossing paths, pedestrians and cyclists have the right of way.

Justice for Injured Cyclists and Pedestrians

Although bicyclists are not necessarily considered pedestrians, they are still just as vulnerable and exposed to dangers when out on the open road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 6,000 people lost their lives in pedestrian accidents in 2018 alone. In the same year, 115 Hoosiers in Indiana lost their lives in pedestrian accidents.

For these reasons and more, pedestrians and cyclists alike are protected under the law from wrongful accidents and injuries. If you are injured in a pedestrian accident in Indiana, it is vital that you contact a reputable personal injury law firm before time runs out on your case or all evidence is lost to support your claim.

Get started on your Indiana pedestrian accident injury claim right now! Contact Carl Brizzi LAW at 317-636-7497 and schedule a free case evaluation with a skilled Indianapolis Indiana pedestrian accident lawyer you can trust. Our law firm serves clients all throughout the state of Indiana.

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Carl Brizzi Law Indianapolis Indiana
Carl Brizzi Law Indianapolis Indiana 317-636-7497

Do I Need a Workplace Accident Lawyer in Indiana?

After being injured on the job, many workplace accident victims wonder if they need to hire a personal injury Worker’s Compensation lawyer in Indiana. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about retaining professional legal counsel for workplace injury lawsuits, including how to get started on your worker’s compensation claim today.

Workplace Accident Lawyers Indiana 317-636-7497
Workplace Accident Lawyers Indiana 317-636-7497

Indiana Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

In all cases of workplace injuries, it is wise to retain legal counsel from a professional personal-injury lawyer who is well-versed and experienced in Worker’s Compensation law. It is always best to know your rights in full before agreeing to any sort of settlement or financial agreement through your place of employment. This is mostly due to the fact that your case could be worth thousands of dollars more than what your place of employment or representing insurance company has evaluated it at.

Additionally, a seasoned worker’s compensation lawyer can ensure that you are receiving financial recompense for all past, current, and future losses resulting from your workplace accident. This requires professional investigation, due diligence, and a comprehensive understanding of tort and workers compensation law.

Important Qualities to Look for in an Indiana Workplace Injury Lawyer

As you begin your search for Indiana workplace injury lawyers, you will discover that there are many law firms in Indianapolis and its surrounding areas to choose from. So, how do you know which workers’ comp attorney is right for you? Look for these important and professional qualities:

Free Initial Case Evaluations –

There should never be a fee to discuss your case for the first time with the personal-injury lawyer. Most personal-injury law firms in Indiana provide free initial consultations. After your first consultation, there may be a small consultation fee; however, if you hire the law firm, and they work on a contingency fee payment arrangement, you may not owe this fee until they recover a settlement or verdict for you.

Contingency Fee Payment Arrangements –

Indiana personal injury law firms that work on a contingency-fee payment arrangement are those that do not charge any upfront attorney fees or costs. Under this arrangement, all lawyer fees are paid at the outcome of the case, but only if the law firm recovers compensation through a settlement or Social Security verdict for the client. Basically, if you don’t get paid, neither do they. At the commencement of your legal relationship, you will agree to a specific percentage that the law firm will retain for their services at the outcome of your case.

Flexible Scheduling and Meeting Options –

A reputable Indianapolis IN personal injury law firm will have the resources to provide flexible scheduling and meeting options for their clients. This includes providing case evaluations and all other meetings over the phone, via online video conference (Zoom, Skype, etc.), or in person at their office locations or a communal public space, such as a restaurant, café, or similar venue.

Experience in Indiana Personal Injury Law –

It is important to choose an Indiana accident law firm that retains substantial experience in personal injury law, and whose legal teams are well-versed in the particular area of tort law that pertains to your recent accident. For instance, if you are in an accident at work, you would want to look for a personal injury law firm who either specializes in or has extensive experience representing worker’s compensation cases.

Notable Professional Accolades and Awards –

To know for sure that the personal injury law firm in Indiana you are hiring is a professional and dependable company, keep your eyes open for notable professional accolades and awards. Professional organizations and memberships to specialized legal associations are a good start, as well as positive client reviews and testimonials.

Are you wondering where you can find the best workplace injury legal representation in Indiana? Contact Carl Brizzi LAW at 317-636-7497 to schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana. We represent clients throughout the state and can be over the phone or in person at our Metro Indy office.

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Carl Brizzi Law Indianapolis Indiana
Carl Brizzi Law Indianapolis Indiana 317-636-7497

Can I Sue Someone for Financially Exploiting My Elderly Loved One?

Financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly is a civil wrongdoing that can be penalized under tort law. If your senior citizen loved one, whether parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle, has become a recent victim of financial manipulation or abuse, it is important to speak with an experience elder abuse lawyer right away. Your family could be entitled to restitution, as well as additional compensation for any damages suffered as a result of the abuse. The same rights apply to cases of financial exploitation involving mentally handicapped, challenged, or disabled persons.

Continue reading to learn more about financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly, and how to get started on your Indiana nursing home abuse or elder abuse claim today.

Financial Elder Abuse Lawyers in Indiana 317-636-7497
Financial Elder Abuse Lawyers in Indiana 317-636-7497

Protecting Our Elders From Financial Abuse and Exploitation

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, financial abuse is among the most common types of abuse suffered by elderly citizens in our country. Even the National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that an average of $2.9 billion are scammed out of senior citizens in the form of financial exploitation. It is estimated that by 2030, around 20% of the total U.S. population will be those aged 65 and older. So, as a fast-growing populace, this is a problem that will only worsen without more personal intervention.

For these reasons alone it is encouraged to keep a close eye on how your elderly loved ones are managing their money, whether they are living on their own, in a care or assisted living facility, or even in your own home. Online predators are out there, and they can manipulate and exploit your loved one’s finances under your own roof.

What is Elder Financial Abuse?

Well, the Federal Elder Justice Act, which was enacted in 2010, defines financial elder abuse as, “the fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act… that uses the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results in depriving an elder the rightful access to, or use of, benefits, resources, belongings, or assets.”

Predators typically target the elderly because they retain fuller assets in their late life, and many often suffer from mental incapacities, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Other elderly folk are simply lonely for companionship, which is a need that is taken advantage of by financial abusers and exploiters.

Types of Elder Financial Exploitation and Abuse

There are many ways such predators use and abuse senior citizens for their money and assets, the most common ones being identify theft, telemarketing scams, and con-artists. It is more common for such abuse to take place domestically rather than in a hospital or care center. The perpetrator in domestic cases of elder financial abuse is usually a family member or Power of Attorney guilty of stealing, transferring, or gaining access to money or assets.

Nursing home and senior care facility staff members are another common predator to watch out for, as there are many cases of employees manipulating elderly patients or residents into giving them money or adding them to their will as beneficiaries.

Common Signs of Senior Citizen Financial Abuse

Signs that suggest elder abuse can come from your elderly loved one or the person exploiting them. Here are the most common signs to look for:

▷ Having a new “best friend” or suspicious friend
▷ Sudden interest or concern over their finances
▷ Missing money or assets
▷ Giving gifts or personal items away
▷ Requests to amend their will or estate plan
▷ Disputing over future inheritance or trust funds
▷ Unexplained financial transactions
▷ Increased or unusual bank account activity

Seniors and elderly citizens are protected under Indiana law from such injustices. If your older adult loved one is a victim of financial abuse or exploitation, it is important to take action as soon as possible. You may contact the state or local Adult Protective Services agency, but your first call should be to a licensed Indianapolis personal injury lawyer who specializes in nursing home and elder abuse cases to learn your rights to pursing legal action against the perpetrator or establishment.

Are you looking for a seasoned personal injury law firm in Indiana to represent your claim? Contact Carl Brizzi LAW at 317-636-7497 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our skilled elder abuse lawyers in Indianapolis, Indiana. Although based out of Indy, we serve clients all throughout the state.

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Carl Brizzi Law Indianapolis Indiana
Carl Brizzi Law Indianapolis Indiana 317-636-7497