Filing a lawsuit to recover damages for an Atlanta personal injury may feel like hearing an unknown language for the first time when you discuss the process with a personal injury attorney. Rafi Law Firm understands these procedures can initially be intimidating to new clients. Below, we cover essential personal injury terms to become familiar with when you work with an Atlanta personal injury attorney.

personal injury terms

Personal injury terms to know

Personal injury

Personal injury refers to civil litigation allowing victims to seek compensation for damages due to someone else’s negligence. Personal injury cases can include:


When someone is “negligent,” it means their actions in a particular situation were outside of the expected behavior of other members of society. The burden of proof is on the injured party. Negligence can be documented through:

  • Medical records and billing invoices
  • Work records noting your absence
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Photographs or video footage from the accident scene
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Any receipts or invoices documenting costs resulting from the injuries

Your attorney is responsible for establishing the four elements of negligence, which are vital personal injury legal terms. Being unable to prove these elements means there is no personal injury case. While you focus on recovery, your personal injury lawyer works to prove the liable party’s negligence.


The expenses you incur because of your injuries are called damages. A monetary payment covers several types of damages. The proof of negligence may also encompass the documentation you need to recover compensatory damages, which are damages meant to compensate the injured party.

Compensatory damages have two forms. Economic or special damages refer to the actual expenses that you must pay. A dollar amount is easily associated with these costs, such as medical bills or lost income. Noneconomic or general damages are those costs that are challenging to quantify. Recovering compensation for these injuries requires our team to attach a dollar amount using specific formulas to determine the cost of your pain and suffering or lost enjoyment in life, to name a few.

One of the personal injury legal terms that is least understood is punitive damages or exemplary damages. These damages apply to cases of extreme negligence. They are a form of punishment for the defendant and setting an example to others that the actions of an individual are unacceptable.

Statute of limitations

Georgia law establishes a statute of limitations or timeframe that an individual can seek legal action against someone for personal injury. A statute of limitation is significant because it is not a flexible time. It generally begins when the injury occurs and runs out depending on the timeframe set by law, which means legal action is no longer an option after the window closes.

Fee structure

The term “fee structure” describes how Atlanta personal injury attorneys bill their clients. Attorneys may charge an hourly rate for their services, which could be challenging for injured clients, particularly when they cannot work. Rafi Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis, so paying us is contingent or dependent on us securing compensation for your damages.

Maximum medical improvement

Rafi Law Firm works with medical professionals to determine maximum medical improvement (MMI). This determination identifies when the injured party’s condition stabilizes in personal injury terms. Reaching MMI means the victim’s health likely will not improve despite ongoing care or treatment, helping to establish the future medical needs of an individual and potential compensation.


Damages can be determined through a settlement, requiring an agreement to fair compensation for these damages with the insurance company. Negotiating is part of ensuring the damages adequately cover all damages.

When negotiations fail, a case may be taken to court, meaning a judge or jury brings a verdict. It’s still possible to reach a settlement agreement during a trial, which can reduce court fees and litigation costs. This often happens when the outcome does not seem to favor a defendant.

Ready to get started?

Let Rafi Law Firm work with you during the personal injury process to lead the way for financial recovery so you have time to heal. We strive to provide an understanding of personal injury law terms so you feel confident in your decisions. Call (404) 800-9933 or schedule online for a free consultation.

If you have been injured by another party and need representation by a legal team that will fight hard for you, call Rafi Law Firm today for a free consultation at 404-800-9933.