PERSONAL INJURY LEGAL GLOSSARY
Glossary of Personal Injury Law Terms
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- L -Lapsed Gift: A gift made in a will to a
person who has died prior to the will-makers death.
Larceny: Obtaining property by fraud or deceit.
Law: The combination of those rules and principles of
conduct promulgated by legislative authority, derived from court
decisions and established by local custom.
Law Clerks: Persons trained in the law who assist judges
in researching legal opinions.
Lawsuit or Suit: Generally, a court action brought by one
person, the plaintiff, against another, the defendant , seeking
compensation for some injury or enforcement of a right.
Leading Case: Case regarded as having determined the law on a
particular point, thus becoming a guide for later decisions.
Leading Question: A question that suggests the answer
desired of the witness. A party generally may not ask one's own
witness leading questions. Leading questions may be asked only of
hostile witnesses and on cross-examination.
Legal Aid: Professional legal services available usually
to persons or organizations unable to afford such services.
Legal Cause: Substantial factor in bringing about the harm.
See also proximate cause.
Legal Fiction: Assumption of a fact that may or may not be
true made by a judge to decide a legal question.
Leniency: Recommendation for a sentence less than the
Letters of Administration: Legal document issued by a
court that shows an administrator's legal right to take control of
assets in the deceased person's name.
Letters Testamentary: Legal document issued by a court
that shows an executor's legal right to take control of assets in
the deceased person's name.
Liability: An obligation that one is bound in law to perform;
usually involves the payment of money damages.
Liable: Legally responsible.
Libel: Published words or pictures that falsely and
maliciously defame a person. Libel is published defamation; slander
Liberal construction: Judicial interpretation of the law
whereby the judge expands the literal meaning of the statute to meet
cases that are clearly within the spirit or reason of the law.
Compare with strict construction whereby the judge adheres to the
literal meaning of the words.
Licensee: In civil law, a person who enters land with
consent, but nothing more.
Lien: A legal claim against another person's property as
security for a debt. A lien does not convey ownership of the
property, but gives the lien holder a right to have his or her debt
satisfied out of the proceeds of the property if the debt is not
Limine: A motion requesting that the court not allow
certain evidence that might prejudice the jury.
Limited tort option: In Pennsylvania, purchasers of motor
vehicle insurance can choose "limited tort," which restricts their
right to seek money damages for an accident caused by another
driver. Under limited tort, the insured can only seek money damages
for economic loss, including medical bills. The insured is
prohibited from seeking damages for pain and suffering, except under
certain limited circumstances. Compare with full tort option.
Limited Jurisdiction: Refers to courts that are limited in
the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear. For example,
traffic violations generally are heard by limited jurisdiction
Litigant: A party to a lawsuit. Litigation refers to a
case, controversy, or lawsuit.
Living Trust: A trust set up and in effect during the
lifetime of the grantor. Also called inter vivos trust.
Loss of consortuium: Damages awarded to a family member
(usually a spouse) for loss of companionship.