PERSONAL INJURY LEGAL GLOSSARY
Glossary of Personal Injury Law Terms
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Immunity: Grant by the court, which assures someone will not
face prosecution in return for providing criminal evidence.
Impaneling: Selecting a jury from the list of potential
Impeach: Attacking the credibility of a witness.
Impeachment of a Witness: An attack on the credibility
(believability) of a witness, through evidence introduced for that
Incarcerate: To confine in jail.
Inadmissible: That which, under the rules of evidence,
cannot be admitted or received as evidence.
In Camera: In a judge's chambers; in private.
In Camera Inspection: Judge's private inspection of a
document prior to his or her ruling on its admissibility or use at
In Camera Proceedings. Trial or proceeding in a place not
open to the public, usually in a judge's chambers.
Indemnify: To restore the victim of a loss, either in
whole or in part, by payment of money or repair or replacement of
the thing lost.
Independent Executor: A special kind of executor,
permitted by the laws of certain states, who performs the duties of
an executor without intervention by the court.
Indeterminate Sentence: A sentence of imprisonment to a
specified minimum and maximum period of time, specifically
authorized by statute, subject to termination by a parole board or
other authorized agency after the prisoner has served the minimum
Indictment: A written accusation by a grand jury charging
a person with a crime.
Indigent: Needy or impoverished. A defendant who can
demonstrate his or her indigence to the court may be assigned a
court-appointed attorney at public expense.
Information: Accusatory document, filed by the prosecutor,
detailing the charges against the defendant. An alternative to an
indictment, it serves to bring a defendant to trial.
Informed Consent: Person's agreement to allow something to
happen, such as a medical procedure, that is based on full
disclosure of the facts necessary to make an intelligent decision.
In Forma Pauperis: In the manner of a pauper. Permission
given to a person to sue without payment of court fees on claim of
indigence or poverty.
Infraction: A violation of law not punishable by
imprisonment. Minor traffic offenses generally are considered
Inheritance Tax: A state tax on property that an heir or
beneficiary under a will receives from a deceased person's estate.
The heir or beneficiary pays this tax.
Initial Appearance: In criminal law, the hearing at which
a judge determines whether there is sufficient evidence against a
person charged with a crime to hold him or her for trial. The
Constitution bans secret accusations, so initial appearances are
public unless the defendant asks otherwise; the accused must be
present, though he or she usually does not offer evidence. Also
called first appearance.
Injunction: Writ or order by a court prohibiting a
specific action from being carried out by a person or group. A
preliminary injunction is granted provisionally, until a full
hearing can be held to determine if it should be made permanent.
In Propria Persona: In court's it refers to persons who
present their own case without lawyers. See Pro Se.
Instructions: Judge's explanation to the jury before it
begins deliberations of the questions it must answer and the
applicable law governing the case. Also called charge.
Intangible Assets: Nonphysical items such as stock
certificates, bonds, bank accounts, and pension benefits that have
value and must be taken into account in estate planning.
Intentional Inflication of Emotional Distress: -
Intentionally causing severe emotional distress by extreme or
Interlocutory: Provisional; not final. An interlocutory
order or an interlocutory appeal concerns only a part of the issues
raised in a lawsuit.
Interrogatories: Written questions asked by one party in a
lawsuit for which the opposing party must provide written answers.
Intervention: An action by which a third person who may be
affected by a lawsuit is permitted to become a party to the suit.
Differs from the process of becoming an amicus curiae.
Inter Vivos Gift: A gift made during the giver's life.
Inter Vivos Trust: Another name for a living trust.
Intestacy Laws: See descent and distribution statutes.
Intestate: Dying without a will.
Intestate Succession: The process by which the property of
a person who has died without a will passes on to others according
to the state's descent and distribution statutes. If someone dies
without a will, and the court uses the state’s interstate succession
laws, an heir who receives some of the deceased's property is an
Invitee: A person is an invitee on land if he enters land by
invitation; his entry is connected with business being conducted on
the land by the possessor of land; and the possessor of land is
benefited by the entry.
Irrevocable Trust: A trust that, once set up, the grantor
may not revoke.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A condition of abnormally increased
spontaneous movement (motility) of the small and large intestine,
generally stress can contribute to this condition.
Ischemic Colitis: An inflammation caused by interference with
the blood flow to the large intestine. This lack of blood flow leads
to death of tissue.
Issue: (1) The disputed point in a disagreement between
parties in a lawsuit. (2) To send out officially, as in to issue an