The foundation of your work as Legal Nurse Consultant (LNC) is based on an understanding of legal terms and concepts. The challenge at times is reaching a shared understanding of those terms and concepts.
Let’s go back to basics as we familiarize ourselves with common legal terminology. As a continuation to our original post 7 Must Know Legal Terms for LNC’s: Part I, we would like to expand the list to 9 additional terms:
- Plaintiff: A plaintiff is the person or party who filed a lawsuit in a court of law. For deceased subjects, the plaintiff is usually the spouse or an adult child of the decedent, acting as the personal representative of the estate of the decedent.
- Decedent: The person who has died. In some cases, the lawsuit is brought by the personal representative or next-of-kin of the decedent.
- Defendant: The party sued by the plaintiff. There can be more than one defendant.
- Complaint: Typically, once a demand is denied, the claimant files a complaint in a court. This claimant now becomes a plaintiff. A complaint is a pleading document filed by a plaintiff in a court of law that states the facts of the case, the legal basis for the lawsuit (or cause of action), the alleged wrongdoing of the defendant, the injury that resulted from the wrongdoing, and the damages sought by the plaintiff.
- Injury: Injury is the harm suffered by the person, including (1) physical harm, such as disfigurement, additional surgery, (2) pain and suffering such as mental anguish, depression, anxiety; (3) loss of past and future income, (4) loss of enjoyment of life, (5) loss of consortium, (6) death, etc. In lawsuits, injuries are allegations and must be proved to a judge and/or jury.
- Products Liability: A products liability lawsuit refers to a lawsuit filed by a consumer typically against the manufacturer of the product based on design defects, manufacturing defects, or failure to warn against a product’s latent danger.
- Adverse Event (AE): An adverse event is an undesirable condition caused by the use of the product.
- Verdict: A decision made by a judge or jury in a court of law about a disputed issue. In criminal cases, it’s guilty or not guilty. In medical malpractice, it’s negligent or not negligent. In Products liability, it’s whether the product was defective or whether the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of the dangerous side effects, etc.
- Work Product: Confidential materials prepared in anticipation of litigation or for trial.