PERSONAL INJURY LEGAL GLOSSARY
Glossary of Personal Injury Law Terms
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Elements of a Crime: Specific factors that define a crime
which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order
to obtain a conviction. The elements that must be proven are (1)
that a crime has actually occurred, (2) that the accused intended
the crime to happen, and (3) a timely relationship between the first
Eminent Domain: The power of the government to take
private property for public use through condemnation.
Emotional Distress: Mental anguish.
Employee Verification Form: In a workers' compensation case,
it's a bi-annual report of earnings to be completed by the injured
employee. The form is required to be returned to the insurance
carrier within 30 days of receipt or benefits may be stopped.
En Banc: All the judges of a court sitting together.
Appellate courts can consist of a dozen or more judges, but often
they hear cases in panels of three judges. If a case is heard or
reheard by the full court, it is heard en banc.
Enjoining: An order by the court telling a person to stop
performing a specific act.
Entrapment: A defense to criminal charges alleging that
agents of the government induced a person to commit a crime he or
she otherwise would not have committed.
Equal Protection of the Law: The guarantee in the
Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that all persons be
treated equally by the law. Court decisions have established that
this guarantee requires that courts be open to all persons on the
same conditions, with like rules of evidence and modes of procedure;
that persons be subject to no restrictions in the acquisition of
property, the enjoyment of personal liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness, which do not generally affect others; that persons are
liable to no other or greater burdens than such as are laid upon
others, and that no different or greater punishment is enforced
against them for a violation of the laws.
Equitable Remedies: Remedies that do not include monetary
settlements. Examples include injunctions and restraining orders.
Equity: Generally, justice or fairness. Historically,
equity refers to a separate body of law developed in England in
reaction to the inability of the common-law courts, in their strict
adherence to rigid writs and forms of action, to consider or provide
a remedy for every injury. The king therefore established the court
of chancery, to do justice between parties in cases where the common
law would give inadequate redress. The principle of this system of
law is that equity will find a way to achieve a lawful result when
legal procedure is inadequate. Equity and law courts are now merged
in most jurisdictions.
Error: In the legal sense, a mistaken interpretation of facts
or application of the law that can prove grounds for an appeal.
Escheat (es-chet): The process by which a deceased
person's property goes to the state if no heir can be found.
Escrow: Money or a written instrument such as a deed that,
by agreement between two parties, is held by a neutral third party
(held in escrow) until all conditions of the agreement are met.
Estate: An estate consists of personal property (car,
household items, and other tangible items), real property, and
intangible property, such as stock certificates and bank accounts,
owned in the individual name of a person at the time of the persons
death. It does not include life insurance proceeds unless the estate
was made the beneficiary) or other assets that pass outside the
estate (like joint tenancy asset).
Estate Tax: Generally, a tax on the privilege of
transferring property to others after a person's death. In addition
to federal estate taxes, many states have their own estate taxes.
Estoppel: A person's own act, or acceptance of facts,
which preclude his or her later making claims to the contrary.
Et al: And others.
Evidence: Proof of a probative matter presented at trial
for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the jury or
judge. Evidence comes in a variety of forms, including testimony,
writings, tangible objects, and exhibits.
Exemplary Damages or Punitive Damages: Compensation greater
than is necessary to pay a plaintiff for a loss. These damages are
awarded because the loss was aggravated by violence, oppression,
malice, fraud or wanton and wicked conduct on the part of the
defendant. Such damages are intended to punish the defendant for his
evil behavior or make an example of him or her.
Exempt Property: In bankruptcy proceedings, this refers to
certain property protected by law from the reach of creditors.
Exceptions: Declarations by either side in a civil or
criminal case reserving the right to appeal a judge's ruling upon a
motion. Also, in regulatory cases, objections by either side to
points made by the other side or to rulings by the agency or one of
its hearing officers.
Exclusionary Rule: The rule preventing illegally obtained
evidence to be used in any trial.
Execute: To complete the legal requirements (such as
signing before witnesses) that make a will valid. Also, to execute a
judgment or decree means to put the final judgment of the court into
Executor: A personal representative, named in a will, who
administers an estate.
Exhibit: A document or other item introduced as evidence
during a trial or hearing.
Exonerate: Removal of a charge, responsibility or duty.
Expert: A witness who may give an opinion in court based on
the particular competence of that witness.
Ex Parte: On behalf of only one party, without notice to
any other party. For example, a request for a search warrant is an
ex parte proceeding, since the person subject to the search is not
notified of the proceeding and is not present at the hearing.
Ex Parte Proceeding: The legal procedure in which only one
side is represented. It differs from adversary system or adversary
Ex Post Facto: After the fact. The Constitution prohibits
the enactment of ex post facto laws. These are laws that permit
conviction and punishment for a lawful act performed before the law
was changed and the act made illegal.
Extenuating Circumstances: Circumstances which render a
crime less aggravated, heinous, or reprehensible than it would
Expungement: Official and formal erasure of a record or
partial contents of a record.
Extradition: The process by which one state or country
surrenders to another state, a person accused or convicted of a
crime in the other state.