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Legal Terms Library

Personal Injury Term - Open and Obvious Doctrine

When a danger is open and obvious, a premises owner owes no duty of care to individuals lawfully on the premises.  Open and obvious dangers are not concealed and are discoverable by ordinary inspection.  In Ohio, property owners are required to keep premises reasonably safe for guests, customers, and other visitors from hidden defects.  In certain circumstances, when you are injured on the property of a person, business, or municipality, then the landowner may be responsible for compensating you for your injuries.

Workers Compensation Term - Wage Loss

The dollar amount of the diminishment of wages sustained by an injured worker as a direct result of physical and/or psychiatric restriction(s) caused by the allowed condition in the claim, including: (1) Non-working wage loss – when the injured worker has not returned to work because he or she has been unable to find suitable employment; and (2) Working wage loss – when the injured worker has returned to employment which is not his or her former position of employment.

Personal Injury Term - Product Liability Insurance

The type of insurance coverage which protects manufacturers and suppliers when claims are made for injuries and damage incurred in the use of their goods or products.  Why is this important?

A product liability case refers to the legal liability of manufacturers and sellers to compensate buyers, users, and even bystanders, for damages or injuries suffered because of defects in goods purchased.  A tort which makes a manufacturer liable if his product has a defective condition that makes it unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer.

Although the ultimate responsibility for injury or damage in a products liability case most frequently rests with the manufacturer, liability may also be imposed upon a retailer, occasionally upon a wholesaler or middleman, a bailor or lessor, and infrequently upon a party wholly outside the manufacturing and distributing process, such as a certifier.  This ultimate responsibility may be imposed by an action by the plaintiff against the manufacturer directly, or by a claim for indemnification, asserted by way of a cross-claim or third party claim by the retailer or wholesaler, or others who might be held liable for the injury caused by a defective product.  Under modern principles of products liability, and with the elimination of privity requirements in most instances, recovery is no longer limited to the purchaser of the product, or even to a user, but may extend to the non-user; the bystander who is injured or damaged by a defective product, for example.  However, the term “products liability” normally contemplates injury or damage caused by a defective product, and if loss occurs as a result of a condition on the premises, or as a result of a service, as distinguished from loss occasioned by a defective product, a products liability claim does not ordinarily arise, even though a product may be involved.

Personal Injury Term - Pedestrian

At KS Ohio we want to help anyone who was involved in an accident.  Do pedestrians have the same rights as those involved in motor vehicle accidents?  Yes.

Pedestrians are ordinarily understood to be persons traveling on foot, but they may be persons traveling on roller skates, ice skates, stilts or crutches.  The statutory definition of “pedestrian” is broad enough to include persons standing upon the highway as well as those traversing it.  Person on foot does not cease to be “pedestrian” within policy covering injuries sustained while a pedestrian merely because he is not in motion.

Do you believe you were involved in a Pedestrian Accident?  Contact our attorneys at Karp Steiger to help assist you with your personal injury matter.

Workers Compensation Term - Allowed Condition

An allowed condition is recognized as being a direct result of a compensable work-related injury or occupational disease which is supported by medical documentation from your provider.

What happens if a condition is not allowed?

When the claim investigation determines that the condition could not or did not happen as a result of the work related injury, the Customer Service Specialist (CSS) will deny the condition.

When a claim has several conditions reported and the medical documentation does not support all of the conditions, the CSS will issue an order allowing the documented condition(s) and will advise the injured worker that the other conditions will be addressed upon receipt of additional medical documentation.

What if there is an additional condition or a subsequent decision?

An additional condition or disease may be allowed subsequent to the initial allowance if there is evidence to support a causal relationship between the allowed injury and the new condition or disease.

Subsequent decisions are made after the initial decision of the claim.  These decisions are a result of the issues that have either been requested by a party to the claim or those that BWC is addressing via an administrators motion.

Requests for action are categorized as either a formal request or an informal request and can be submitted by a party to the claim or an external party.

If you feel you have a work-related injury and would like our workers compensation lawyers to help you through the process of filing your claim, please contact Karp Steiger attorneys today. 216-358-6446.

Personal Injury Term - Dog Bite - Who is Responsible - Owner, Keeper, Harborer?

The phrase “owner, keeper or harborer” comes from a statute in Ohio law outlining who may be responsible for the actions of a dog.  Generally, a “keeper” is the individual in physical control of the dog at the time of the incident and a “harborer” is the person who controls the property where the dog resides.  Any of the three parties can be potentially liable in a dog bite lawsuit.

Personal Injury Term - What is a Petition for Discovery?

A Petition for Discovery is a little-used tool available to Ohio attorneys that allows us to search for the who, what, where, when, and why before having to file a lawsuit.  We are able to use this discovery action to uncover the identity of potential adverse parties.  The purpose of this discovery action is to find out as much information as possible before even considering filing a lawsuit against someone.  In a discovery action such as this, we request the respondent to preserve as many documents and as much information as possible.  These requests are typically made due to the sensitive material it may contain and if there are documents that are time-sensitive (i.e., video recordings and photographs) we would want them to maintain and preserve that information as long as possible.

Social media recordings including posts, comments and “likes” could be essential in determining what happened, so we would want this information preserved as well.  Living in a world that is centered around social media, we as personal injury lawyers would want these posts maintained.  These personal posts provide insight into the minds of the different individuals involved.

While this action is not an indictment on any individuals, it does help gather the information needed for individuals to make informed decisions in their legal pursuits.

Workers Compensation Term - Average Weekly Wage

The average weekly wage is the total earnings for the year prior to injury from all employment divided by the total weeks injured (up to 52).  In Ohio, TTD after the first 12 weeks of disability is paid at 2/3 of the worker’s average weekly wage.

Workers Compensation Term - First Report of Injury

To request compensation or benefits for job-related injuries, a claim must be filed with the BWC.  The First Report of Injury is the form used to make this report, and it includes information such as your name, employer, date of injury, description of the accident, the cause of injury, and type of injury.

Workers Compensation Term - Industrial Commission (IC)

The Industrial Commission is a state administrative agency which serves as the governing body for workers’ compensation.  If there is a dispute in your claim, the IC will hear your case and make a ruling about your benefits.  While it is not a court of law, the decisions of the IC are binding.

Workers Compensation Term - Independent Medical Examination (IME)

This exam can be required to determine eligibility for benefits.  The BWC or an employer typically request it, and its purpose is to evaluate the condition of the worker and the extent to which his injury affects his ability to work.  If requested by the employer, it is more properly termed a Defense Medical Examination (DME) as there is little that is “independent” about it.  Defense examiners are well-known in the workers’ compensation community and often render reports supportive of an employer’s interests.

Workers Compensation Term - Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

For some workers, a complete recovery from a work related injury is impossible.  However, temporary total disability benefits may be payable until the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement, the state in which the worker has likely recovered as fully as is possible.

Workers Compensation Term - Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

These benefits are available for those whose injuries are so severe that they cannot return to work in any capacity after their injury.  It is illegal to work while receiving PTD unless PTD has been awarded based upon a statutory basis (such as loss of two legs, an arm and a leg, blindness, etc.).

Workers Compensation Term - Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

Permanent partial disability compensation is payable to those who suffer permanent loss of bodily function following an injury regardless of ability to return to work.

Workers Compensation Term - Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

Temporary total disability is a very common benefit.  It provides care and compensation for those who suffer an injury that prevents them from working while they recover.  TTD is payable until an injured worker returns to work, is released to return to work, is deemed to have reached MMI or has refused a legitimate offer of work within their restrictions.  It is “temporary” because it is payable during recovery from an injury and “total” in that the injury prohibits a complete return to the former position of employment.

Workers Compensation Term - Statute of Limitations (SOL)

Workers in Ohio must report their injuries to their employers soon.  And state law provides workers one year from injury, or two years for claims involving occupational disease, to file a claim for benefits from the BWC.  If an injured worker attempts to obtain benefits after the statute of limitations deadline, they will be denied even if he or she has a valid claim.

The workers’ compensation system can seem confusing, but injured workers have rights that can be protected.  At Karp Steiger, our experienced Ohio lawyers can help ensure that you and your family can obtain the care and compensation you need and deserve.  If you have questions about your rights or you are still unsure about the process please contact our experienced legal team to discuss any questions you may have.

A term used to describe evidence that may be considered by a jury or judge in civil and criminal cases.

In the practice of the court of appeals, it means that the court of appeals has concluded that the lower court of appeals has concluded that the lower court decision is correct and will stand as rendered by the lower court.

The formal written statement by a defendant in a civil case that responds to a complaint, articulating the grounds for defense.

A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine if it was correct.  To make such a request is “to appeal” or “to take an appeal.”  One who appeals is called the “appellant,” the other part is the “appellee.”

The party who appeals a district court’s decision, usually seeking reversal of that decision.

The party who opposes an appellant’s appeal, and who seeks to persuade the appeals court to affirm the district court’s decision.

A trial without a jury, in which the judge serves as the fact-finder.

A written statement submitted in a trial or appellate proceeding that explains one side’s legal and factual arguments.

The duty to prove disputed facts.  In civil cases, a plaintiff generally has the burden of proving his or her case.  In criminal cases, the government has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt.

Degree of proof required.  In criminal cases, prosecutors must prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  The majority of civil lawsuits require proof “by a preponderance of the evidence” (50 percent plus), but in some the standard is higher and requires “clear and convincing” proof.

A complete collection of every document filed in court in a case.

The law as established in previous court decisions.  A synonym for legal precedent.  Akin to common law, which springs from tradition and judicial decisions.

The number of cases handled by a judge or a court.

A legal claim.

The offices of a judge and his or her staff.

The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court; chief judges are determined by seniority.

A creditor’s assertion of a right to payment from a debtor or the debtor’s property.

A lawsuit in which one or more members of a large group, or class, of individuals or other entities sue on behalf of the entire class.  The district court must find that the claims of the class members contain questions of law or fact in common before the lawsuit can proceed as a class action.

The court officer who oversees administrative functions, especially managing the flow of cases through the court.  The clerk’s office is often called a court’s central nervous system.

The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States, which relies on the articulation of legal principles in a historical succession of judicial decisions.  Common law principles can be changed by legislation.

A written statement that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant.

A bankruptcy case filed to reduce or eliminate debts that are primarily consumer debts.

Debts incurred for personal, as opposed to business, needs.

A claim that may be owed by the debtor under certain circumstances, e.g., where the debtor is a cosigner on another person’s loan and that person fails to pay.

An agreement between two or more people that creates an obligation to or not to do a particular thing.

Legal advice; a term also used to refer to the lawyers in a case.

An allegation in an indictment or information, charging a defendant with a crime.  An indictment or information may contain allegations that the defendant committed more than one crime.  Each allegation is referred to as a count.

Government entity authorized to resolve legal disputes.  Judges sometimes use “court” to refer to themselves in the third person, as in “the court has read the briefs.”

A person who makes a word-for-word record of what is said in court, generally by using a stenographic machine, shorthand, or audio recording, and then produces a transcript of the proceedings upon request.

Money that a defendant pays a plaintiff in a civil case if the plaintiff has won.  Damages may be compensatory (for loss or injury) or punitive (to punish and deter future misconduct).

Latin, meaning “in fact” or “actually.” Something that exists in fact but not as a matter of law.

Latin, meaning “in law.” Something that exists by operation of law.

Latin, meaning “anew.” A trial de novo a completely new trial.  Appellate review de novo implies no deference to the trial judge’s ruling.

A judge’s statement about someone’s rights.  For example, a plaintiff may seek a declaratory judgment that a particular statute, as written, violates some constitutional right.

A judgment awarding a plaintiff the relief sought in the complaint because the defendant has failed to appear in court or otherwise respond to the complaint.

An individual (or business) against whom a lawsuit is filed.  In a civil case, the person or organization against whom the plaintiff brings suit; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.

An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths.  Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later in trial.  See discovery.

Procedures used to obtain disclosure of evidence before trial.

Court action that prevents an identical lawsuit from being filed later.

Court action that allows the later filing.

A log containing the complete history of each case in the form of brief chronological entries summarizing the court proceedings.

In criminal law, the constitutional guarantee that a defendant will receive a fair and impartial trial.  In civil law, the legal rights of someone who confronts an adverse action threatening liberty or property.

French, meaning “on the bench.” All judges of an appellate court sitting together to hear a case, as opposed to the routine disposition by panels of three judges. In the Ninth Circuit, an en banc panel consists of 11 randomly selected judges.

Pertaining to civil suits in “equity” rather than in “law.” In English legal history, the courts of “law” could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy (see damages). A separate court of “equity” could order someone to do something or to cease to do something (e.g. injunction). In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in “law” cases but not in “equity” cases.

Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case in favor of one side or the other.

A proceeding brought before a court by one party only, without notice to or challenge by the other side.

Doctrine that says evidence obtained in violation of a criminal defendant’s constitutional or statutory rights is not admissible at trial.

Evidence indicating that a defendant did not commit the crime.

Contracts or leases under which both parties to the agreement have duties remaining to be performed. If a contract or lease is executory, a debtor may assume it (keep the contract) or reject it (terminate the contract).

An attorney employed by the federal courts on a full-time basis to provide legal defense to defendants who are unable to afford counsel. The judiciary administers the federal defendant program pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act.

As provided for in the Criminal Justice Act, an organization established within a federal judicial circuit to represent criminal defendants who cannot afford an adequate defense. Each organization is supervised by a federal public defender appointed by the court of appeals for the circuit.

Jurisdiction given to federal courts in cases involving the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, and treaties.

A serious crime, usually punishable by at least one year in prison.

To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court to enter into the files or records of a case.

A body of 16-23 citizens who listen to evidence of criminal allegations, which is presented by the prosecutors, and determine whether there is probable cause to believe an individual committed an offense.

Evidence presented by a witness who did not see or hear the incident in question but heard about it from someone else. With some exceptions, hearsay generally is not admissible as evidence at trial.

The process of calling a witness’s testimony into doubt. For example, if the attorney can show that the witness may have fabricated portions of his testimony, the witness is said to be “impeached”. The constitutional process whereby the House of Representatives may “impeach” (accuse of misconduct) high officers of the federal government, who are then tried by the Senate.

Latin, meaning in a judge’s chambers. Often means outside the presence of jury and the public in private.

“In the manner of a pauper.” Permission given by the court to a person to file a case without payment of the required court fees because the person cannot pay them.

A form of discovery consisting of written questions to be answered in writing and under oath.

1. The disputed point between parties in a lawsuit; and 2. To send out officially, as in a court issuing an order.

“In the manner of pauper.” Permission given by the court to a person to file a case without payment of the required court fees because the personal cannot pay them.

Evidence indicating that a defendant did commit the crime.

The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.

A formal accusation by a government attorney that the defendant committed a misdemeanor.

A court order preventing one or more named parties from taking some action. A preliminary injunction often is issued to allow fact-finding, so a judge can determine whether a permanent injunction is justified.

(Of a Corporate Debtor) A director, officer, or person in control of the debtor, a partnership in which the debtor is a general debtor is a general partner; a general partner of the debtor; or a relative of a general partner, director, officer, or person in control of the debtor.

(Of Individual Debtor)

Any relative of the debtor or of a general partner of the debtor, partnership in which the debtor is a general partner; general partner of the debtor; or corporation of which the debtor is a director, officer, or person in control.

A form of discovery consisting of written questions to be answered in writing and under oath.

1. The disputed point between parties in a lawsuit; and 2. To send out officially, as in a court issuing an order.