ABC’s of Whiplash Injuries

Treatment for your whiplash and car accident injuries

The legal and medical language of Motor Vehicle Collisions (MVC) can be complex. Learn the ABC’s of whiplash injuries here.*


Anxiety – Whether a driver or passenger, being involved in an auto accident often results in physical and/or mental trauma. Symptoms can include anxiety, nervousness, fear, irritability, shock, anger, and even grief. These symptoms can progress to bigger problems like PTSD and depression.

Air Bag – Patents for air bags date back as early as 1951. The benefits of airbags include reduced accident mortality, fewer chest injuries, lowered insurance rates and helps prevent head injuries. Air bags saved over 50,000 between 1987 and 2017.

Acceleration/Deceleration Injury – Medico-legal term for whiplash injury.

Activities of daily living – These are activities the average person does every day. They include things like child care, chores around the house and even normal exercise or driving to work.

Adjuster – After an auto accident, a claims adjuster will investigate the insurance claim by interviewing claimants and witnesses, consulting police and hospital records, and inspecting any property damage to determine the extent of the insurance company’s liability.

“At Fault” – This term is describes the party responsible for an accident. Determination of who is at fault for an accident can affect your settlement.

Acupuncture – Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles through the skin at specific points on the body along “meridians”. As a key part of traditional Chinese medicine, the most common use of acupuncture is for pain management.

Accident Report – A formal, detailed recording of an event documented at the scene of an accident. Accident reports are done by authority figures like police officers and hospital staff member.

Act of God – An accident or event resulting from natural causes without human intervention or assistance. These acts can’t be prevented by reasonable precaution or care; for example, damage from floods, lightning, earthquake, or storms.

Alternative Dispute Resolution – The use of methods other than litigation to resolve a legal dispute, such as mediation and arbitration. See arbitration and mediation.

Answer – (Legal) A formal written response to a legal complaint filed by a defendant; a legal response.

Appeal – When a party asks a higher court to reverse the decision of a trial court because one party doesn’t agree with the decision. This can also be a petition for a higher court to examine the decision in hopes of getting it overturned.

Arbitration – The hearing and settlement of a legal dispute between a plaintiff and defendant by a neutral third-party. These decisions are final. Often considered a mini-court case; often the third-party is an off-duty judge or attorney. The two parties enter a contract in which they agree that the arbitrators decision will be final. It is often considered a more efficient, faster, and cheaper route than litigation.

Attorney-Client Privilege – This prevents anything said between an attorney and their client from being shared without both parties permission. This ensures people can trust their lawyer, and vice-versa. It also prevents opposing parties from requesting the information in discovery. Everything that is said between an attorney and the client is private.


Bad Drug – See Defective Medication

Bad-faith Claim – An assertion filed by an insured person against their insurance provider for unreasonably denying or delaying their claim, or for refusing to pay out a full insurance claim without cause. Bad faith claims are filed when a person’s claim was denied, but they feel it should have been covered.

Benefit – For legal purposes related to personal injury law, a benefitis financial assistance that a party receives from an employer, insurance company, or social program (such as social security) in a time of sickness, disability, or unemployment. When a person receives financial compensation for their wages or when a person’s surgery is covered by the insurance company and paid directly, both are considered benefits.

Bodily Injury – Any damage to a person’s body; for example: bruises, burns, cuts, poisonings, broken bones, nerve damage, etc. Bodily injury may result from an accident, negligence, or an intentional act. Causing bodily injury on purpose is a crime (assault, battery, etc.) while accidental and negligent harm may result in a lawsuit.

Brain Fog – Brain fog isn’t necessarily considered a medical condition itself but a symptom of a medical condition. It’s a type of cognitive dysfunction involving:

  • memory problems
  • lack of mental clarity
  • poor concentration
  • inability to focus

Some people also describe it as a form of “mental fatigue”. Depending on the severity of brain fog, it can interfere with work or school.

Bruise – An injury that causes small blood vessels to rupture, discoloring the skin. Bruises can occur on the shoulder and hip bones in even minor auto accidents. If you have bruising after an accident, document your injuries with photos.

Burden of Proof – The obligation to prove one’s claim is accurate and true; whoever has the burden of proof must show their claim to be factual. In a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove a driver was negligent or show that a claim was made in bad-faith, etc.


Capsule – In anatomy, a joint capsule is the tissue that creates an “envelope” surrounding a joint.

Causation – To make something happen; the act or process of causing something. These mainly refer to negligence cases. The plaintiff must prove their injury was caused by something the defendant did (or failed to do).

Chiropractic – Chiropractors understand that one of the main causes of pain and disease is misalignment and abnormal motion of the vertebrae in the spine. This condition is called a subluxation. Chiropractic works by removing these subluxations in the spine, relieving pressure and irritation on the nerves, restoring joint mobility, and returning the body back to a state of normal function.

Claim – A civil action relating to the physical or mental harm suffered by the plaintiff, or on behalf of the injured victim, due to negligence of the defendant; a request to the insurance company by the insured requesting coverage and payment for damage or injury.

Claims Adjuster – The liaison between the insured and the insurance company, responsible for investigating and overseeing the claim on behalf of the insurance company, as well as approving medical and rehabilitation treatment plans. Claims adjusters work for the insurance company and are obligated to them.

Compensable Injury – An injury caused by an accident arising from a person’s employment and in the course of the employee’s work. A compensable injury is any injury that will be covered (or will be compensated) by workers’ compensation. This term is used to rule out injuries that did not occur at work or because of employment that may come up during a workers’ comp case. For example, if someone drops a brick on their left foot while on the job site, their injury would be compensable. If during that case it is found that the injured party also has an injured left knee, from years of running marathons, that injury would not be compensable. The term compensable can be applied to other situations, both civil law-related and not, but it’s most commonly used in WC cases.

Compensatory Damages – See Damages.

Complaint – The first document filed with the court by a person or entity claiming legal rights against another party; the official document that starts a lawsuit. Includes what wrongdoing the plaintiff feels the defendant did.

Compulsory Medical Examination – See Independent Medical Examination.

Concussion – A traumatic brain injury from a violent blow or jolt to the head that alters the way the brain functions. It’s commonly associated with a loss of consciousness, however this is not a prerequisite for the syndrome. Often causes nausea, dizziness, disorientation, and headaches, among other medical issues. Multiple concussions can be life threatening. See Post-Concussion Syndrome.

Contingency Fee – A sum of money that a lawyer receives as payment only if the case is won. The fee is dependent upon the attorney winning a settlement.

Contusion – A region of injured tissue or skin in which blood capillaries have been ruptured; medical term for what is more commonly called a bruise.

CPT Code – The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set is a medical code created by the the American Medical Association. CPT codes are used to describe practically every medical, surgical, and diagnostic service performed by a health care provider. Designed to be a uniform “language” for physicians, patients, insurance companies, insurance coders, accreditation organizations, and payers to use when communicating with each other.


Damages – Payment, usually monetary, recovered in a civil court case for an injury or loss caused by another person’s negligence.

Deductible – The amount of money the insured person is responsible for paying toward a claim. After the deductible has been reached, the insurance company will cover the remainder of the costs.

Defendant – In civil law, the defendant is the person being sued. This is usually the person who caused the injury and their insurance company.

Demand Letter – A formal letter sent to the opposing party formally requesting some action from them and usually with threat of legal action.

Deposition – out-of-court question and answer session under oath; testimony given under oath, recorded in an authorized place outside of the courtroom and usually documented by a court reporter. The questions are asked by the opposing attorney, with the party’s attorney present. This is done in order to have an official, written account of what happened.

Design defects – A design defect exists when a product is manufactured properly but the defect is inherent in the design of the product itself.

Disability – Injuries resulting from a MVC can result in impaired ability to perform physical and sometimes cognitive functions. Immediate evaluation and treatment of injuries resulting from a MVC help to reduce the risk disability.

Disclosure – The release of documents and other information requested or otherwise sought by the opposing party; to divulge information that is relevant to the case.

Discovery – The legal process by which opposing parties obtain evidence from one another, typically includes interviews, depositions, requests for documents and records, request for plaintiff to receive a medical exam, and request for admissions. See Requests.

Distracted Driving – The practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity causing one to lose focus from the road and tasks of driving; may include: talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, text messaging or emailing, eating, grooming, adjusting the audio system, texting.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – The act of operating a moving vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, chemical substances, or controlled substances. In Colorado, a blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher means the driver could be convicted of a DUI without any other evidence of impairment. Colorado also has an “aggravated DUI” charge, which permits enhanced penalties if the driver has a BAC of 0.17% or higher. Additionally, Colorado enforces a “zero tolerance law” for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 years old whereby any BAC of 0.02-0.05% could result in an Underage Drinking and Driving infraction conviction.

Dry Needling – Dry needling is similar to acupuncture. Instead of targeting acupuncture points, dry needling stimulates specific anatomical landmarks. Dry needling helps to restore function and range of motion to an injured area.

Duty of Care – A requirement that a person act toward others and the public with the watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would use. If a person’s actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for negligence. For example, a business open to the public has a duty of care to keep their store free from any hazards and generally safe.


Exemplary Damages – See Punitive Damages, under Damages

Electric Muscle Stimulation – A form of therapy that uses interferential current to relieve muscle spasm inflammation, and pain.

Emergency Medical Condition (EMC) – A medical condition with severe symptoms—for example, severe pain or trauma—such that a lack of immediate medical attention would reasonably be expected to result in any of the following: serious danger to a patient’s health, serious damage to bodily function, or serious damage to any bodily organ or body part. Florida PIP laws now require that a healthcare professional deem a patient to have an EMC before they can receive the full $10,000 in benefits. See PIP.

Excess Judgement – Amount of additional damages that an insurer is required to pay above the policy limit, usually awarded by a judge if it is found that the insurance company acted in bad faith when settling a claim.

Exhaustion of Benefits – When all of the money available in an insurance policy has been paid out, the benefits are considered exhausted.

Expert Witness – Testimony given by someone who is qualified to speak with authority about scientific, technical, or professional matters. For example, an attorney may bring in a neurologist to testify about their client’s brain damage so that the court can hear the information directly from an expert.


Failure to Warn – A failure to provide sufficient or appropriate instructions, warnings, or recommendations for the use of the drug or about the drug.

Fault – An intentional or negligent failure to act reasonably, according to law, or according to duty; it is a wrong act or error that causes injury to another person. The wrong act or error can arise out of ignorance, carelessness, negligence, or even unskillfulness. This means that not knowing any better, not taking proper precautions, not taking into account those around you, or even lacking the skills necessary to perform a function can all be considered acts of fault if the result is injury to another. The most common use of fault is in relation to car accidents, where the term appears often (i.e. Who was at fault? A no-fault insurance claim. My client was found to have no fault in this accident, et cetera).

Field Adjuster – Similar to a claims adjuster, but does a majority of the outside-the-office work involved in an accident claim, including: conducting face-to-face meetings with claimants, scene investigators, and/or damage inspectors; hold negotiations with the above parties; and inspect the cause and outcome of an accident. Claims adjusters may do some of these duties but their main responsibility is to get the claim settled.

First-Party Claims – Claims made towards one’s own insurance company (as opposed to against someone else’s insurance company).

Fractures – A fracture is simply a medical term for a broken bone. If you are experiencing pain after your accident it is a good idea for your health care provider to take x-rays of the injured areas to rule out broken bones.


General Damages – Monetary damages that are subjective in value, including pain and suffering, future problems and crippling effect of an injury, loss of ability to perform various acts, shortening of life span, mental anguish, loss of companionship, humiliation from scars, loss of anticipated business, and other harm that is not easily assessed a value. Still considered compensatory.

Good Faith – Honest intent to fulfill a promise to act or to act without taking an unfair advantage over another person; acting without intent to defraud someone. An insurance company says they will cover certain damages in an accident, and when that unfortunate event happens, they follow through without much trouble.


Hazard – Conditions that increases the probability of damage or injury. Examples include a crack in a sidewalk, a spill in the aisle, a work truck without proper lighting, or inadequate lighting on steps in front of a business.

Headaches – Headaches are a common symptom of whiplash. The physics of acceleration/deceleration injuries can cause headaches by injuring the cervical spine or as a result of concussions (traumatic brain injuries).

Head Rest – A properly positioned head rest is important in preventing or at least minimizing injury to the cervical spine.

Health Care Expenses – The costs incurred by seeing a number of different healthcare providers, such as doctors, therapists, and specialists; the collective cost of all one’s medical care.

HIPAA Act – Acronym that stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; a US law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information; requires patient’s or authorized person’s approval to gain medical information.


ICD-10 – The 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). It contains codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases.

Income Replacement Benefits (IRBs) – Money in place of the income one would usually make working; received by a person injured in a car accident who can no longer work, typically paid by the car insurance company.

Independent Medical Examination – This exam is a a “second opinion” and is usually requested by the defendant/insurance company. The plaintiff is required by law to gain this second opinion. Sometimes called a Compulsory Medical Examination since they are widely seen as being biased.

Insurance – A contractual relationship that exists when one party—the insurer—for a reoccurring fee (called a premium) agrees to reimburse another party—the insured—for damage or injury caused by certain hazards or dangers. (Sometimes called assurance.)

Insured – The individual protected under an insurance policy.

Insurer – The company or entity who provides coverage through an insurance policy.

Interferrential Current Therapy – See Electric Muscle Stimulation

Integrative Health and Rehabilitation – An integrated medical practice that specializes in treating auto accident injuries with a team approach. This ensures fast healing of the injuries associated with auto accidents. They have helped thousands of patients in Denver metro area suffering from acute injuries as well as chronic conditions.

Interrogatories – Written questions created by one party’s attorney for the opposing party to answer under oath within a specific amount of time. After the document is filled out, the plaintiff’s attorney reviews it then it is signed by the answered in front of a notary.


Joint – The connective tissue that connects two bones together, enabling motion. Joint injuries are the most common types of injuries resulting from car accidents.

Judgement – The final part of a court case which resolves all the contested issues and terminates the lawsuit; a final decision is made about the rights and claims of each side in a lawsuit.

Jury Instructions – Directions given to the jury before deliberation, including their instructions for reaching a verdict, the laws pertaining to the case, and what must be proven and by whom.


Known Loss Rule – This rule states that you can’t obtain insurance for a loss that has already occurred. This prevents individuals from buying insurance to cover something that is already damaged, lost, or otherwise in need of coverage.


Legal Malpractice – When an attorney breaches their legal duty; generally, all cases of legal malpractice involve four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. A lawyer has a duty in all dealings and relations with their client to act with: honesty, good faith, fairness, integrity, and dependability. Attorneys must also possess the legal skill and knowledge that is ordinarily possessed by members of the same profession. A lawyer should not take any action that is improper or which even suggests the appearance of being improper. See Malpractice.

Letter of Disbursement – After a case is closed, the claimant can use this to pay doctor’s fees directly from the settlement money.

Letter of Protection – A letter sent by a personal injury lawyer to a healthcare professional that gives permission for an injured person to obtain medical care they otherwise cannot afford on credit in exchange for a promise to pay for the services directly out of their settlement or judgment.

Liability – Legal responsibility for one’s acts or omissions. Also an obligation someone is bound by law to perform. They typically refer involving the payment of monetary damages. One of the most significant words in the field of law.

Lien – A lien is a claim against assets that are typically used as collateral to satisfy a debt. Health care providers will often accept a lien from a patient involved in an auto accident. This allows the patient to receive the care they need and delay payment until a settlement is reached.

Ligament – Ligaments are the tissue the connects two bones together. They differ from tendons in that tendons tie muscle to bone.

Limitation of Risk – This is the maximum amount an insurer can be obligated to pay in any one loss event.

Litigant – Someone engaged in a lawsuit is a “litigant”. This term can include either the defendant or the plaintiff. Does not include a witness or attorney, but can include a co-defendant or co-plaintiff.

Litigation – The process of taking legal action and/or filing a lawsuit.

Litigation Risk – The likelihood of winning a personal injury lawsuit in court (rather than settling out of court) usually assessed by your attorney; the risk of attending court since there are unpredictable factors, like getting a strict judge, poor witness presentation, a sudden surprise from the defendant, last minute evidence, etc. Going to court is risky.

Loss – The monetary value assigned to an injury or damage in a personal injury claim, including: pain and suffering, past and future income, future medical care, at-home assistance, current medical bills, etc.

Loss of earnings – A situation where the injured person has had to take time off work, change jobs, or give up work due to their injury resulting in decreased or no income, impacting their financial situation.

LLLT Treatment

Low Level Laser Therapy – Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) applies low-level (low-power) lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to the surface of the body. Unlike high-power lasers used in laser surgery that cut or damage tissue, LLLT relieves pain, inflammation, and edema.


Malpractice – Negligence or misconduct by a professional (e.g. a lawyer, a doctor, a dentist, or an accountant) who has failed to meet a standard of care or standard of conduct. Malpractice occurs when a client or patient is injured or damaged because of error, negligence, or occasionally, intent. See Medical Malpractice and Legal Malpractice.

Mandate – Command from a court directing the enforcement of a judgment, sentence or decree.

Manufacturing defects – An item that is improperly manufactured (e.g. a car part), a car is manufactured improperly or the car is put together improperly.

Massage Therapy –

Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) – This is the point when an injured person’s condition or injury stabilizes and no more improvement is expected. In other words, their condition is “is as good as it’s going to get. This term is usually used in workers’ compensation cases when temporary benefits are provided until the patient reaches MMI. At this point the patient is assessed for permanent disability and any further benefits. This is because no insurance company will continue to pay for treatments if a doctor thinks that the condition cannot improve any further. (AKA Maximum Treatment Benefit (MTB))

Mediation – Outside help settling a dispute; a non-binding method of resolving a case in which a neutral third party, agreed upon by both parties, helps the disputing sides to reach a mutually agreeable settlement.

Medical Malpractice – Negligence by a professional healthcare provider, such as a doctor or hospital, who departs from the applicable standard of care, and by act or omission causes injury to a patient. Often difficult to prove; requires expert witnesses that can testify to the wrongs committed. See Malpractice.

Medical Payments – AKA “med-pay” provides coverage for reasonable medical expenses for you or your passengers involved in an auto accident. Since 2009, all Colorado insurance companies must offer their customers a $5,000 medical payments policy.

Motion – A formal request that a judge make a ruling or take some action; the judge either denies or grants the request.


Named Insured – Any individual whose name appears on an insurance policy. This is opposed to someone that may be covered but is not named on the policy.

Negligence – Failure to use a degree of care considered reasonable under a given set of circumstances; the four elements of negligence are: a duty owed to a plaintiff, a breach of that duty by the defendant, proximate cause, and an injury or damage suffered by the plaintiff; carelessness.

Negotiation – To arrange or settle by discussion and mutual agreement; in a personal injury case, negations are common. Negotiations take place between the plaintiff (usually the accident attorney, or injured person directly) and the insurance adjuster. Negotiating to reach a final settlement is a back-and-forth type of bargaining in order to reach an agreed upon amount the injured person will take and the insurance company will pay. Both parties know roughly how much the claim is worth (if both parties are being honest and realistic with themselves).

The injured person/attorney knows how much they are willing to take for the case, and the insurance adjuster knows how much they are willing to pay. However, neither side knows how much the other side is willing to actually pay or receive. This is where negotiating, the process of testing each other back-and-forth, takes place. The plaintiff starts high and the insurance company starts low, eventually meeting in the middle.

No-Fault – Abbreviated term for Personal Injury Protection, a type of auto insurance coverage that provides first-party benefits for medical expenses, loss of income, funeral expenses, and similar expenses without regard to fault; party does not need to prove who was at fault or negligence in order to receive benefits or damages. See PIP.

Notary – A person with legal training, licensed by the state to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular, witnessing signatures on documents. Their seal and signature on a document is proof that the person who signed the document did so willingly and is who they say they are.

Notice to the Company – See Notice to Insurer.

Notice to Insurer – Written notice to the insurance company about an incident upon which a claim is to be based. Also called Notice to the Company.


Opening Statement – The initial statement made by each attorney at the beginning of a trial. These statements outline the facts each intends to establish during the trial.

Out-of-Court Settlement – An agreement between a plaintiff and defendant that doesn’t require the approval of a court or judge. Out-of-court settlements usually occur between the parties’ lawyers before the trial takes place. These are reached on an attorneys’ own terms, during mediation, or at arbitration.


Paralegal – A trained and certified assistant to a lawyer. They provide summaries, research, investigation, and the retrieval of records; certified person who works in a law office helping an attorney prepare a case.Parties – Persons, corporations, or associations who have started a law suit, or who are defendants in a lawsuit.

Pecuniary Damages – Referring to the loss of past and future income. See Damages.

Personal Injury Protection – (Also known as PIP). Commonly used acronym for Personal Injury Protection. This coverage requires insurers to provide benefits for medical expenses, loss of income, funeral expenses, and similar expenses regardless of who’s at fault. In Colorado, coverage can vary from $5,000 to $25,000. Auto insurers in Colorado are obligated to offer this coverage and it can only be revoked by the insured.

Plaintiff – The person in a court or legal case that is suing another person. The plaintiff is usually the person injured in an accident.

Pleading – Generally, any document, statement, or request filed with the court. These documents are part of the legal case responding to allegations, claims, denials, or defenses.

Post-concussion Syndrome (PCS) – This disorder consists of various symptoms—such as headaches, nausea, irritability, and dizziness. These can last for weeks or months after the injury that caused the concussion. PCS is also a form of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – A mental health condition that is triggered by either experiencing or witnessing a a terrifying or stressful event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. PTSD not only occurs in people involved in a war, in fact, it is quite common in people who have been involved in a serious accident or suffered severe injury.

Prayer for Relief – A request addressed to the court by the plaintiff (through their attorney) requesting specific remedies or damages. Also called Demand for Relief.

Precedent – When a previously decided case(s) is recognized as the basis and authority for determining future cases. If a past case is heard by a high enough court, then their decision becomes the law regarding that situation.

Premise Liability – The legal principles that hold landowners and tenants responsible when someone enters their property and gets hurt due to a dangerous condition. Premise liability claims are usually based on negligence. This concept comes from laws that state that a person can reasonably expect to be safe when they enter someone else’s property.

Proceeding – Any hearing or court appearance related to a legal case.

Product Liability – The accountability of a merchant, business, or manufacturer for bodily injury or property damage because of a defect in their product.

Prognosis – The anticipated chance of recovery from an injury, based upon the symptoms and nature of the particular case; prediction of how a person will heal or recover determined by a doctor.

Proximate Cause – An event sufficiently related to an injury recognized to be the cause of that injury.

Punitive Damages – These are are considered a way to “punish” a defendant in order to “teach them a lesson”. Rare in civil litigation, but does happen in extreme cases of negligence or intentional wrongdoing.


Quality of Life – The type of existence a person was living prior to the accident/injury or after the accident/injury. A quality of life assessment could include factors such as those listed below.

Qui Tam – A legal claim in which an individual alleges fraudulent billing by a government contractor. Funds recovered by the government because of the claim are divided between the government and the person who brought the claim (the “whistleblower”), who is given a percentage of the recovered funds as a reward. “Qui tam litigation” is often used to recover misused government funds (e.g. Medicare fraud). Usually brought on by someone who is privy to the information.

Quid Pro Quo – This is Latin for “this for that.” It pertains to the exchange of something by both parties to form a contract. In workers compensation, employees trade their right to sue their employers in exchange for no-fault benefits. Every deal is technically an example of ‘quid pro quo’, whether the term is used or not.


Reasonable Care – The amount and type of treatment provided by a doctor and considered to be “adequate and fair” by a sensible person.

Radicular Pain – Radicular pain radiates from the spine down the arms or legs. The pain signal travels along the spinal nerve root. The pain can be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Radicular pain occurs when spinal nerves are compressed, stretched, or inflamed.

Rehabilitation – The process of restoring necessary skills and normal movement for self-sufficiency after an injury, perhaps after an auto accident or slip-and-fall.

Rehabilitation Benefits – Treatments and programs offered by private or employee-based health insurance with the intent of helping an injured person recover from or eliminate the effects of their injury to restore their life back to normal, or as close as possible. See Rehabilitation.

Request for Admission – A request made by a party in a lawsuit to another in that lawsuit to admit to the truthfulness of a fact or the genuineness of a piece of evidence.

Request for documents – A request made by a party in a lawsuit to another in that lawsuit to provide specific documents or other physical evidence.

Requesting a physical or mental examination – A request made by a party in a lawsuit to another party in that lawsuit to undergo a physical or mental examination provided that the condition being examined pertains to the case.


Sciatica – Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.

Seat Belt – An important safety device found in every legally licensed vehicle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 90 people die each day in the US from car crashes. There are 3 major risk factors for car crash deaths in Denver. They are speeding, drunk driving and failure to wear a seat belt.

Settlement – The conclusion of a legal matter. It can also be a negotiated agreement by opposing parties in a civil suit before or after litigation has begun. It must occur before the court hears the case, eliminating the need for the judge to resolve the controversy.

Slip-and-Fall – These cases involve a person slipping or tripping on someone else’s property. This usually falls under the broader category of premises liability claims. Slip and fall accidents occur on property owned or maintained by someone else that is held legally responsible.

Sprain – A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The most common location for a sprain is in your ankle. Initial treatment includes rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Special Damages Monetary damages actually caused by an injury. These include medical and hospital bills, ambulance charges, loss of wages, property repairs, and replacement costs. Considered compensatory.

Stacking of Coverages – The application of two or more policies’ limits to a single occurrence or claim. Commonly applied to auto liability or uninsured/underinsured motorists’ coverage when two or more vehicle policy limits can be stacked to apply to a single accident.

Standard of Care – the level of medical assistance and services at which the average, sensible provider would practice; how similarly qualified practitioners would have managed the patient’s care under similar circumstances. In medical malpractice, the plaintiff must show the appropriate standard of care was not met.

Statute of Limitations – A law that determines the period of time that someone has to file legal action, usually beginning when the injury or damage occurs. In Florida, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is four (4) years, with the exception of Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death which is two (2) years. If the personal injury claim is against the city, county, or state government, the limit is three (3) years.

Strain – A strain occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn. This usually occurs as a result of fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle. Strains can happen in any muscle, but they’re most common in your lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring, which is the muscle behind your thigh.

Strict Liability – A legal idea that expands the responsibility of wrongdoing to another party regardless of their direct involvement in the incident. For example, if a car company produces a car with faulty brakes, and those bad brakes lead to an accident, the car company could be deemed accountable for the accident due to strict liability. These cases essentially shift the burden of proof from the plaintiff to the defendant, causing the defendant to prove they are not liable.

Subpoenas – A command, issued by the court, to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony for a case.

Subrogation – A legal right that allows one party to make a payment that is actually owed by another party, and then later collect that money from the party whom originally owed it. For example, if you are in a car wreck and it is taking too long for the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay for your car to be repaired, your insurance may step in and cover the cost. However, they are not legally or contractually obligated to pay for the repair, they are just doing it to help out their customer.

Subrogation allows your insurance company to later reclaim that money from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Once by their insurance and then again later by the other insurance. Subrogation also applies to other types of insurance, like health insurance. For example, private healthcare may pay for some initial treatments after a car accident.


Tendon – A tendon is a tough high-tensile-strength band of dense fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. It is capable of withstanding tension and transmit the mechanical forces of muscle contraction to the skeletal system.

Tendonitis – Simply the condition of an inflamed tendon.

TENS – A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a battery-operated device used to treat pain. TENS units deliver small electrical impulses through adhesive pads (electrodes) that are attached to the skin. These impulses interrupt pain signals, reduce muscle spasms, and cause the body to release natural pain killers called endorphins.

Texting – Considered one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. Texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver.

Third-Party Claims – Liability claims brought by a person allegedly injured or harmed by the insured. The insured person is the first party, the insurance carrier the second, and the injured person/claimant is the third. A claim brought against another party’s insurance company, rather than their own. See First-Party Claims.


Tort – A civil or private wrong (that is not a crime) that leads to legal liability. Personal injury law is the most common type of tort law.

Total Loss –

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – A type of injury that occurs when an external force causes brain dysfunction; usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object penetrating the skull, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, can also cause traumatic brain injury.

Trier of Facts – The jury; or in a non-jury trial, the judge. The person or group that analyzes evidence in order to make a decision about the case or issue in dispute.

Trigger Point – A Trigger Point (TrP) is a hyperirritable spot, a palpable nodule in the taut bands of the skeletal muscles’ fascia. Direct compression or muscle contraction can elicit jump sign, local tenderness, local twitch response and referred pain which usually responds with a pain pattern distant from the spot.

Trigger Point Injection – Trigger point injections (TPI) are applied directly into the trigger point for pain management. The injection may be an anesthetic such as lidocaine (Xylocaine) or bupivacaine (Marcaine), a mixture of anesthetics, or a corticosteroid (cortisone medication) alone or mixed with lidocaine.


Ultrasound – Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to penetrate soft tissue (ligaments, muscles, and tendons). Ultrasound is used to treat pain and promote tissue healing.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) – An auto insurance policy provision that extends coverage to include property and bodily damage caused by a motorist without enough insurance coverage. This coverage compensates the injured party beyond what is allowed by the at-fault party’s policy.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) – This coverage is in addition to standard automobile insurance policies that provide coverage in the event the other driver is both at fault for the accident and is not insured; protects the first-party from having no coverage in the event that someone who is driving without insurance (illegal in Florida) crashes into them.


Vertebrae – The small bones forming the backbone, having several projections for articulation and muscle attachment, and a hole through which the spinal cord passes.

Verdict – A formal decision about the outcome of a case made by a judge or jury.

Voir Dire – Commonly known as jury selection. Attorneys go through a selection process to choose who sits on the jury, ensuring they meet certain criteria. More specifically, it refers to the examination of the prospective jurors. Pronounced “vwahr-deer” or “vor-deer”


Workers’ Compensation – The system by which state-required no-fault benefits are provided by an employer to an employee—or the employee’s family—due to a job-related injury (including death) resulting from an accident or illness which happened at work.

Wrongful Death – A claim made on behalf of a survivor or beneficiary of a person who has died as a result of wrongful conduct. These claims are made by people financially dependent on the deceased. Damages could include medical expenses prior to death, loss of earnings of the deceased during their expected natural life, and loss of consortium (depravation of a marital/sexual partner or familial relationship).

Whiplash – Also called an “Acceleration / Deceleration Injury”. “Whiplash” describes the injuries that occur to someone involved in an auto accident.


X-rays – X-rays are taken after a motor vehicle collision to assess the condition of the spine. Positional changes of the vertebrae can indicate ligamentous injury.


No terms available


Zygapophoseal Joint – Also known as an apophyseal joint. It is a synovial joint between the superior articular process of one vertebra and the inferior articular process of the one directly above it. There are two facet joints in each spinal motion segment.

Some of these definitions are partially referenced from the following: Black’s Law Dictionary,,,,,, The Florida Bar, and The Free Dictionary by Farlex. *These definitions are not meant to replace the advice of a licensed attorney.