When you work in personal injury law for any length of time, the terminology becomes second nature. It is easy to forget that for a lot of clients, it will all be new – and potentially confusing!To try and help demystify the process, we have put together a little personal injury glossary of commonly used words and phrases. We hope it might come in useful when you are considering bringing a claim!

Personal injury glossary

Clinical Negligence

Also referred to as medical negligence or medical malpractice. This is an area of law that specialises in cases relating to failings in care or treatment provided by the NHS Trust, GP’s, Dentists and any other healthcare providers or their employees.

Personal Injury

This is a wide term that covers physical injuries, illnesses and psychological injuries. It also includes employers’ liability, public liability and road traffic accidents.


If you are an individual/party that is bringing a claim, you will be referred to as the Claimant throughout the proceedings. Sometimes known as the Applicant.


If you are an individual/party that is defending a claim, you will be referred to as the Defendant. Sometimes known as the Respondent.


If we consider that someone has acted negligently, we are of the opinion that the person has failed to act in a way that an ordinary person would have acted in the same/similar situation. For example, if a person was to drive the wrong way down a dual carriage way and as a result of that crashed into an oncoming car, we would argue that person has acted negligently because they did not act in a reasonable way.

Standard of Care

This is different for each individual case. The standard of care is something that we will measure the defendant’s actions against to decide whether they have failed to meet that standard.

Breach of Duty

If the defendant has failed to meet the standard as above, then they have breached their duty of care.

For example, if someone attended the hospital for an operation and at the end of the operation the surgeon closed the patient up and left a surgical knife within their body, the first thing we would consider is what standard of care should that surgeon be held to. The surgeon will be measured against a professional standard, and therefore compared to other surgeons. We would ask the question ‘would another surgeon have left the knife in a patient?’. The answer is highly likely to be ‘no’.

We then consider whether that surgeon breached the standard of care. In this instance, by leaving the knife within the patient the surgeon breached their duty of care.


Once breach of duty has been established, you must then show that the particular breach caused your injury. There are two aspects that your solicitor will deal with at this stage – the factual and the legal causation.


When we say that someone is liable, this means that we consider that they are responsible for your injury. If you get an admission of liability, the defendant accepts that they have breached their duty and that breach caused your injury.

If you get an admission of liability, the next stage of your claim would be to assess the quantum.


This is essentially an exercise where we value your claim. It includes an assessment of your general and special damages.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Rather than proceed to a trial, you may want to consider alternative dispute resolution. This usually consists of a Joint Settlement Meeting (JSM) where both Claimant and Defendant and their legal representatives hold a meeting to discuss how to resolve the issues between the parties. JSM’s can have a successful outcome for both parties and does not involve the time and stress for the client associated with a trial.

A mediation is another form of dispute resolution, like the JSM described above, a mediation is where both parties attend with their legal representatives. There is a mediator (a neutral person agreed on between the parties) who is present to oversee the meeting and facilitate discussions between the parties, helping them to see each other’s point of view.

Want to speak to a personal injury solicitor?

With so much legal terminology involved with personal injury cases, it is our job to always make sure you understand all aspects of your claim. This is so you do not encounter any unpleasant surprises throughout the process.

If you would like to speak to one of our personal injury solicitors about a potential claim, get in contact. Ring 0800 988 7756 or email your enquiry to info@levidirect.com.

If you wish to discuss a personal injury claim and your options,call our team now on 0800 988 7756

Speak to a solicitor now