Glossary of personal injury terms

Glossary of personal injury terms

Accident benefits:

Benefits provided to a person who has suffered injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident. These include medical and rehabilitation expenses such as therapy, treatment and equipment paid in the form of cash or assistance. Accident benefits may be given regardless of who is at fault.


A person assigned to investigate insurance claims or claims for damages upon whose findings and recommendations a claim is either denied or paid out.


A process of resolving a legal dispute without going to trial. It usually ends with an out of court settlement between the two parties.

Brain injury

An injury that impairs the proper functioning of the brain. It can be either permanent or temporary. Permanent brain injury often results in the loss of ability to make an income and, therefore, requires consideration for awarding lifetime income replacement.

Catastrophic impairment:

An injury resulting in 55% or more of the injured person’s whole body, including brain injury, quadriplegia and paraplegia. Most claims are awarded for the entire remaining life of the injured person.


A formal declaration by the wronged person to claim compensation for injuries caused as a result of an auto accident.


An injured person who formally requests compensation for the injuries caused to him or her.

Economic loss:

The loss of present and future income of a person as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. It includes wages, salaries, bonuses and benefits. It also includes expenses like medical and funeral costs.

Emotional distress:

It is the emotional and psychological distress suffered by a person as a direct result of an auto accident.

Functional limitations:

Limitations in the physical and mental capabilities of a person as a result of a motor vehicle accident.

Future damages:

An assessment of the costs that may be incurred in the future as a result of an auto accident. It may include lost income, treatment and therapy.

Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS):

A standardized system for assessing the degree of brain impairment through a set of medical tests. Injury is rated from 3 for the most severe to 15 for the least severe. An injured person with a GCS rating of 9 or less is considered to have sustained a catastrophic impairment.

Healthcare expenses:

A broad category of tort entitlement and benefits given to an injured person. It may include medical costs, dental costs, rehabilitation expenses and attendant care costs.

Income replacement benefit:

Benefits given to an injured person who has suffered a loss of income as a result of an auto accident. It could be temporary or lifelong.

Limitation period:

The time limit after an auto accident within which legal proceedings must have begun. If a claim is not made within this period, then the injured person loses the right to compensation.


The process of negotiation between the parties involved in an auto accident to achieve a settlement without going to trial.

Non-earner benefit:

A benefit that a person injured in a motor vehicle accident may be eligible for if he/she is rendered incapable of carrying on normal activities and earning money to support his/her family.


A person who sues another person who has allegedly caused a personal injury in an auto accident.

Pre-claim examination:

An assessment of injuries made by a healthcare professional on behalf of an insurance company to determine if benefits should be paid. The injured person has the right to refuse to undergo the examination.

Statement of claim:

A document that initiates a lawsuit and states the amount being claimed by the injured person. It is usually prepared by the plaintiff’s lawyer.

Statement of defense:

A document that is prepared by the defendant’s lawyer in response to the Statement of Claim. It usually argues against the allegations made in the Statement of Claim.

There are also some other terms, but these are the ones that you must be acquainted with if you want to seek compensation or are made the defendant in a lawsuit resulting from a motor vehicle accident. A good understanding of the terms can help you fight with your lawyer for adequate compensation and also provides some additional understanding in the event a lawsuit is filed against you.

Contact Info


TD Canada Trust Tower
161 Bay Street, 27th Floor
P.O. Box 508
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2S1


Weekdays: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM MST
Weekends: Closed

Scroll to Top