Common Legal Terms and their meanings

When you are involved in a legal case, whether it be against another person or a company, you might start hearing a lot of different legal terms. When you are going through the process, your attorney will of course explain everything to you but knowing a few legal terms and what they mean can be helpful. Here are some common legal terms that you might hear and their meanings:

·         Plaintiff: person who brings a case against another to court.

·         Defendant: an individual or company that is being taken to court.

·         Complaint: formal legal document that lays out all the facts and reasons why the plaintiff is bringing a case against the defendant.

·         Compensatory damages: given in civil court cases where loss has happened because of negligence or unlawful conduct of the other party.

·         Contract: a written or verbal agreement that is enforceable by law.

·         Depose: to testify or give evidence.

·         Malfeasance: illegal or dishonest activity, usually used when referring to a public official or corporation.

·         Punitive damages: damages awarded above and beyond compensatory damages to further punish the defendant to deter from repeating whatever act caused the case to be brought forward against them.

·         Affidavit: a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made under oath.

·         Statute of limitations: laws passed to set the maximum time after an event when legal proceedings may be start.


ESR Law Group represents clients in the Chicago area for personal injury, medical malpractice, and worker’s compensation cases. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Read: More Common Legal Terms You Should Know


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