Casualty: An accident, especially one involving serious injury or loss of life.
Civil law: Law involving non-criminal cases. Personal injury claims, family law disputes, and contract disputes are civil law matters.
Co-defendant: One of multiple parties defending against a claim in a lawsuit.
Common law: A body of law developed in the doctrine of the judicial branch of government. The common law system is rooted in the medieval English court system and is still very much a part of modern American jurisprudence.
Comparative negligence: A method of assigning negligence among multiple parties. Comparative negligence considers all parties whose negligence contributed to a tort. The negligence is then allocated among the parties at fault and damages are assigned proportionately.
Complaint: The legal document, also called a claim, which is filed with a court that formally initiates a lawsuit.
Contingent fee: An agreement between a lawyer and a client whereby the lawyer is paid a percentage of the damages awarded if the client is awarded damages in the lawsuit.
Contributory negligence: A method for assigning negligence that considers behavior by the plaintiff that contributes to the resulting harm. At common law, any degree of contributory negligence bars the plaintiff from collecting damages
Court trial: A trial heard before a judge, as opposed to a jury trial that is heard before a judge and a jury.
Criminal law: The body of law involving cases where the defendant faces criminal sanctions such as incarceration.