Tort Legal Glossary

Click on the first letter of the word from the list above to go to the appropriate section of the glossary.
Contact us if you would like a personal injury law glossary or one of other legal glossaries for your website.

Actual Malice: To win a defamation suit, public officials or prominent people, such as political candidates or movie stars, must prove that the offender made a false statement with actual malice. This means the statement was made with knowledge that it was false or with serious doubts about whether it was true.

Affidavit: A written statement made under oath.

Affirmed: In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.

Age of Majority: The age when a person acquires all the rights and responsibilities of being an adult. In most states, the age is 18.

Allegation: Something that someone says happened.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Methods for resolving problems without going to court.

Amicus Curiae: Latin for “friend of the court.” Refers to a party that is allowed to provide information (usually in the form of a legal brief) to a court even though the party is not directly involved in the current case.

Answer: In a civil case, the defendant’s written response to the plaintiff’s complaint. It must be filed within a specified period of time, and it either admits to or denies the factual basis for liability.

Appeal: A request to a supervisory court usually composed of a panel of judges, to overturn the legal ruling of a lower court.

Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgment of another lower court or tribunal.

Arbitration: A method of alternative dispute resolution in which the disputing parties agree to abide by the decision of an arbitrator.

Arrangement: A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.

Assignment: The transfer of legal rights, such as the time left on a lease, from one person to another.

Assumption of Risk: A defense raised in personal injury lawsuits. Asserts that the plaintiff knew that a particular activity was dangerous and thus bears all responsibility for any injury that resulted.

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