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Injury Law Definitions

West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Definitions

Anoxic brain injury – refers to an injury resulting from a complete lack of oxygen to the brain.

Bipolar Disorder – involves periods of excitability (mania) alternating with periods of depression. The “mood swings” between mania and depression can be very abrupt. Symptoms include agitation or irritation, elevated mood, reckless behavior, and an uncontrollable temper.

Cardiac Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – refers to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a pair of commonly co-existing diseases of the lungs in which the airways become narrowed. This leads to a limitation of the flow of air to and from the lungs causing shortness of breath. In contrast to asthma, the limitation of airflow is poorly reversible and usually gets progressively worse over time.

Colitis – refers to an inflammation of the colon and is often used to describe an inflammation of the large intestine. Colitis may be acute and self-limited or chronic, i.e. persistent, and broadly fit into the category of digestive diseases.

Concussion – an injury of a soft structure, as the brain, resulting from a blow or violent shaking.

Congestive Heart Failure – a condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the rest of the body. Common symptoms include shortness of breath with activity, or after lying down for a while, cough, swelling of feet and ankles, swelling of the abdomen, weight gain, irregular or rapid pulse, sensation of feeling the heartbeat (palpitations), difficulty sleeping, fatigue, weakness, faintness, loss of appetite, and indigestion.

Contre-coup Injury – an injury occurring beneath the skull opposite to the area of impact.

Coup Injury – an injury occurring directly beneath the skull at the area of impact.

Crohns Disease – a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It usually affects the intestines, but may occur anywhere from the mouth to the end of the rectum (anus). Symptoms include crampy abdominal (belly area) pain, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, pain with passing stool (tenesmus), persistent diarrhea, unintentional weight loss, constipation, eye inflammation, fistulas (usually around the rectal area, may cause draining of pus, mucus, or stools), joint pain, liver inflammation, mouth ulcers, rectal bleeding and bloody stools, skin rash, swollen gums

Damages – the amount of money which a plaintiff (the person suing) may be awarded in a lawsuit. There are many types of damages. Special damages are those which actually were caused by the injury and include medical and hospital bills, ambulance charges, loss of wages, property repair or replacement costs or loss of money due on a contract. The second basic area of damages is general damages, which are presumed to be a result of the other party’s actions but are subjective both in nature and determination of the value of damages. These include pain and suffering, future problems and the crippling effect of an injury, loss of ability to perform various acts, shortening of life span, mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of reputation (in a libel suit, for example), humiliation from scars, loss of anticipated business and other harm. The third major form of damage is exemplary (or punitive) damages, which combines punishment and the setting of public example. Exemplary damages may be awarded when the defendant acted in a malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton or grossly reckless way in causing the special and general damages to the plaintiff. On occasion, punitive damages can be greater than the actual damages, as, for example, in a sexual harassment case or fraudulent schemes. Although often asked for, they are seldom awarded. Nominal damages are those given when the actual harm is minor and an award is warranted under the circumstances. Liquidated damages are those pre-set by the parties in a contract to be awarded in case one party defaults as in breach of contract.

Diffuse Brain Injury – is one of the most common and devastating types of traumatic brain injury, meaning that damage occurs over a more widespread area than in focal brain injury.

Flexion-Extension Injury – forceful sequential application of a forward and backward movement of the unsupported head that may produce an injury to the cervical spine or the brain.

Focal Brain Injury – an injury that occurs in a specific location of the brain.

Hypoxic Brain Injury – results in a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease – refers to two chronic diseases that cause inflammation of the intestines: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – a functional bowel disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits in the absence of any detectable organic cause. In some cases, the symptoms are relieved by bowel movements. Diarrhea or constipation may predominate, or they may alternate (classified as IBS-D, IBS-C or IBS-A, respectively). IBS may begin after an infection (post-infectious, IBS-PI), a stressful life event, or onset of maturity without any other medical indicators

Multiple Sclerosis – an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). Symptoms vary because the location and severity of each attack can be different. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months. These episodes alternate with periods of reduced or no symptoms (remissions)

Neuropathy – the term for damage to nerves of the peripheral nervous system, which may be caused either by diseases of the nerve or from the side-effects of systemic illness.

Parkinson’s Disease – a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the sufferer’s motor skills, speech, and other functions.

Penetration Injury – a brain injury resulting from severe head trauma after a mechanism has entered the head (i.e. knife, pole, etc.)

Retinopathy – a general term that refers to some form of non-inflammatory damage to the retina of the eye.

Schizophrenia – a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.

Skull Fracture – a break in one or more of the bones in the skull usually occurring as a result of blunt force trauma. If the force of the impact is excessive the bone may fracture at or near the site of the impact. The force of direct impact may cause damage to the underlying physical structures contained within the skull such as the membranes, blood vessels, and brain, even in the absence of a fracture.

See our West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer Blog for more information, or contact a WV personal injury attorney at West Law Offices in Charleston, WV for a free consultation.  Toll-free: 1 (877) 943-9378.

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