Understanding Legal Jargon: Common Injury Law Terms to Know

Have you or someone you love recently been involved in a serious accident resulting in personal injury? At James H. Brown and Associates, we know that facing life after a serious accident can be frightening, and the prospect of handling a legal suit for injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents can often seem overwhelming. Since 1993, we’ve partnered with Albertans to make injury law easy and accessible and to serve as your advocates for just compensation when it matters most. Our team knows that having access to experienced legal counsel is the best way to navigate the complicated accident injury law system and to ensure you get the compensation you deserve on your road to recovery.

With over 250 years of award-winning injury law experience, James H. Brown and Associates are proud to be one of Alberta’s most trusted firms when it comes to serious personal injury cases and accident law. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most common terms and definitions that victims (and their counsel) frequently encounter when navigating a personal injury case. Read on to learn more.

Here to Help & Educate

At James H. Brown and Associates, we believe that knowing your rights and having access to the best information is crucial when it comes to planning your recovery and receiving adequate care. We also know that, unfortunately, dealing with legal matters can be stressful, especially when it comes to navigating the many terms and definitions involved in injury law. The last thing you need when facing the realities of a personal injury is to worry about confusing legal jargon; your partners at James H. Brown and Associates will always be here to make things as simple as possible. A few key terms to be aware of in the world of accident and injury law include:


Within personal injury law, an “injury” can be physical, emotional, or financial. From minor injuries like whiplash and sprains to major traumas like brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries (SCI), permanent disfigurement, and even loss of wages due to the inability to work, the purpose of accident law is to restore some level of “normalcy” or “indemnity” to victims through the awarding of just compensation.


In this specific legal context, damages refer to more than just the outright physical injuries caused by an accident. In order to make sure victims are awarded adequate sums for their suffering, damages will also take a closer look at the cost of projected medical care as defined by qualified professionals, the need for emotional support and/or counselling, wage loss, and even the strain caused by being unable to maintain your home while you recover. Each element is considered as part of the final “damage assessment” and informs your final settlement.

Damages can be physical, emotional, or financial ranging from visible injuries to Traumatic Brain Injures (TBI), Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI), Cognition issues, loss of wages, and overall suffering to your quality of life.


Liability is a key part of injury law and refers to the legal obligation of any involved individuals to have behaved in a responsible, reasonable manner. Liability extends to a vast array of behaviours and actions, from operating a car safely to ensuring your commercial property is adequately cared for and easily navigable for visitors. If someone chooses to act in a manner that would circumvent a reasonable degree of responsibility (i.e. stopping fully at a 4-way intersection), they may be declared liable and face consequences when it comes to covering some, if not all, of the costs of the subsequently occurring damage.

Burden of Proof

Just as liability assumes one is expected to behave in a reasonable, responsible manner, the burden of proof requires that a plaintiff (the party claiming to have been injured) must prove that they were injured by the defendant (the person accused) in order to recover damages.

Under the burden of proof, you (and your legal team) must prove, to a “more likely than not” standard (also referred to as the balance of probabilities), that the damages in question are legitimate and it is reasonable to assume they have happened due to a lack of standard care on the defendant’s part.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death refers to the death of an individual resulting from the legal fault of another party. The death can be the result of negligence or other harmful action but must be proven to have been avoidable in the presence of proper care. Examples include deaths resulting from car accidents, medical malpractice, gross neglect of a caretaker, and more.

Statute of Limitations

Finally, the limitation period refers to the time period accident and injury victims have to file a legal claim under the current standards and regulations. In Alberta you have 2 years to file most injury claims. To build the strongest case and increase your odds of adequate compensation, it’s important to take steps toward legal action as soon as possible to begin building your case.

Need help with other legal terminology? Check our legal glossary here.

Injury Law You Can Trust

At James H. Brown and Associates, we’re here to take the headache out of injury claims and make getting the help you need easy. We’re proud to stand up for your rights no matter where you are in Alberta.

Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation injury claim evaluation with James H. Brown and Associates’ Alberta’s precedent-setting injury lawyers.

related post