PERSONAL INJURY LEGAL GLOSSARY
Glossary of Personal Injury Law Terms
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- N -Negligence: In its broadest sense,
carelessness. More precisely, conduct which falls below the standard
of care established by law for the protection of others against
unreasonable risks of harm. In order to prevail in a negligence
action, the plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the
evidence, the following four elements: (1) that the defendant owed
the plaintiff a duty of care; (2) that the defendant breached that
duty; (3) that the defendant's breach of his or her duty of care
caused the plaintiff's injury; (4) that the plaintiff suffered
Negligence per se: Conduct, either by act or omission, that
may be declared and treated as negligence without argument or proof
of negligence, usually because the conduct violates a statute. A
finding of negligence per se satisfies the plaintiff's burden of
proof that the defendant's conduct was negligent. However, the
burden remains on the plaintiff to establish that his injuries were
proximately caused by the statutory violation.
Next Friend: One acting without formal appointment as
guardian for the benefit of an infant, a person of unsound mind not
judicially declared incompetent, or other person under some
Nisi Decree: Interim decree or order that will eventually
become final unless something changes or an event takes place.
Nonfeasance: Failure to perform some act which should have
No Bill: This phrase, endorsed by a grand jury on the
written indictment submitted to it for its approval, means that the
evidence was found insufficient to indict.
No-Contest Clause: Language in a will that provides that a
person who makes a legal challenge to the will's validity will be
No-Fault Proceedings: A civil case in which parties may
resolve their dispute without a formal finding of error or fault.
Non-Jury Trial or Bench Trial: Trial before a judge and
without a jury. In a bench trial, the judge decides questions of law
and questions of fact.
Non-Moving Party: The party to a lawsuit that is not
presenting a motion to the court. A non-moving party may or may not
contest or oppose the motion. Compare with moving party.
Nolle Prosequi: Decision by a prosecutor not to go forward
with charging a crime. It translates "I do not choose to prosecute."
Also loosely called nolle pros.
Nolo Contendere: A plea of no contest. In many
jurisdictions, it is an expression that the matter will not be
contested, but without an admission of guilt. In other
jurisdictions, it is an admission of the charges and is equivalent
to a guilty plea.
Notice: Formal notification to the party that has been
sued in a civil case of the fact that the lawsuit has been filed.
Also, any form of notification of a legal proceeding.
Nuisance: An unreasonable or unlawful use of oneís real
estate that results in injures to another or interferes with another
personís use of his real property.
Nunc Pro Tunc: A legal phrase applied to acts which are
allowed after the time when they should be done, with a retroactive
Nuncupative Will: An oral (unwritten) will.