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Jargon and terms used during your personal injury claim

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.

ML: Medicolegal

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.

WC: WorkCover

Interested in more personal injury law content?


1300 383 825 or email [email protected]

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