Lawyers have a lot of bad habits. In fact, here is a list of 10 of them that the legal profession needs to change immediately, giving you an idea of how much lawyers can still learn from the wider world.
One of the first things we decided when we opened Polaris was that we would be clear and direct in the way that we spoke with our clients.
For us, this meant speaking in plain English with no fancy Latin phrases, no overly complex words and sentences designed to show off (or to hide when we didn’t know the answer), and no more jargon.
Going through a personal injury compensation claim is difficult enough without having to try and learn the language being spoken to you by your lawyer.
If you don’t understand what your lawyer is saying to you, you should ask them to try and explain it to you again.
And if you don’t feel comfortable asking, or you still can’t get a straight answer in plain English, you should think carefully about whether you and your lawyer are a good fit. You may find some helpful information in our earlier blog, “50 ways to leave your lawyer: your rights and responsibilities for ending a ‘no win no fee’ agreement”.
In the meantime, for better or worse, below is an incomplete and imperfect list of some of the lingo and jargon used by many personal injury lawyers (but not by Polaris with our clients).
AOD: Affidavit of Documents
Barrister: an independent lawyer who advises you and argues your case at mediation and hearing.
CC: County Court
COA: Certificate of Assessment
Contrib/con neg: contributory negligence – the legal phrase for a lack of reasonable care taken by a person regarding their own injuries and loss.
Defendant: the person/organisation alleged to be responsible for causing injury to the Plaintiff.
Disbursement: a bill payable to a doctor or another person for providing evidence, documents or assistance in a claim.
Eco: Economic Loss Damages
FOI: Freedom of Information
GEPIC: Psychological/Psychiatric Assessment for Significant Injury
GEW: Generally Endorsed Writ – a court document used as a placeholder until you are ready to proceed with a claim.
IME: Independent Medico-legal Examination
ITS: Instructions to Settle – the document used to confirm a client’s instructions to settle a compensation claim.
JME: Joint Medico-legal Examination
KC: Kings Counsel – comes after a barrister’s name. Kings Counsel may also be referred to as “Silk”. KC is a senior barrister recognised as being more experienced and skilled.
LOI: Letter of Instruction
LPP: Legal Professional Privilege – documents which are not provided to the other party because they were created for the purpose of the claim, and because, generally, they are unhelpful to the claim.
MN: Medical Negligence
MP/The Panel: The Medical Panel – a body that assesses injuries of Plaintiffs in public liability, medical negligence and workers compensation claims.
Neg: negligence – the legal phrase used for a failure to take reasonable care.
NFA: No Further Action
NOA: Notice of Assessment or Notice of Appearance depending on the context of the case.
NOD: Notice for Discovery
NVC: Non-Viable Claim
Offer of Compromise/Calderbank Offer: types of written offers made in a claim which has particular costs implications if it is not accepted.
OOPS: Out of Pocket Expenses (such as medical and pharmacy expenses paid by a client).
P&S: Pain and Suffering damages (also called General Damages or “generals”).
PHI: Private Health Insurance
PL: Public Liability
Plaintiff: the injured person who brings a personal injury claim.
PMDH: Post Mediation Directions Hearing
POSD: Particulars of Special Damages
QC/SC/KC/Silk – A senior barrister who has been recognised as being more experienced and skilled.
Res Ipsa Loquitor: Latin phrase meaning “The thing speaks for itself.”
SC: Supreme Court
SC: Senior Counsel – comes after a barrister’s name.
SI: Serious/Significant Injury (usually referring to the threshold which a person needs to reach to get access to compensation for pain and suffering damages).
SI ticket: Serious Injury Certificate allowing a WorkCover or TAC client permission to bring a compensation claim.
SLE: Statute of Limitations Expiry – the deadline for bringing a compensation claim.
SOC: Statement of Claim
Solicitor: a lawyer who prepares your claim before a mediation and hearing.
Stat Offer: a formal offer made in a personal injury claim which has particular costs implications if it is not accepted.
TAC: Transport Accident Commission
TPD: Total Permanent Disability claim made against a person’s superannuation provider.
VCAT: Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
VOCAT: Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal
Volenti: short for the Latin phrase “volenti non fit injuria”, meaning the voluntary assumption of risk.