Glossary of Personal Injury Law Terms
Habeas Corpus: A writ commanding that a person be brought before a judge. Most commonly, a writ of habeas corpus is a legal document that forces law enforcement authorities to produce a prisoner they are holding and to legally justify his or her confinement.
Harmless Error: An error committed during a trial that was corrected or was not serious enough to affect the outcome of a trial and therefore was not sufficiently harmful (prejudicial) to be reversed on appeal.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): A type of managed health care system that contracts with medical facilities, physicians, employers, and sometimes individuals to provide medical care to a group of people known as “members.” Generally, members of HMOs don’t have any significant “out-of-pocket” expenses because the medical care is most often paid for by an employer at a fixed price per patient.
Hearing: A proceeding usually without a jury.
Hearsay: Statements by a witness who did not see or hear the incident in question but heard about it from someone else. Hearsay is usually not admissible as evidence in court.
Hemorrhagic Stroke: Occurs when an artery in the brain tears or bursts, causing blood to spill out.
HMO Negligence: Generally, a type of medical malpractice that can be defined as the carelessness of an HMO, acting through its physicians, in making treatment decisions for a member that results in injury to that member.
Homeowner’s Insurance: Policy that insures individuals against any, some, or all of the risks of loss to personal dwellings or the contents of personal dwellings or the personal liability pertaining to personal dwellings.
Hostile Witness: A witness whose testimony is not favorable to the party who calls him or her as a witness. A hostile witness may be asked leading questions and may be cross-examined by the party who calls him or her to the stand.
Hung Jury: A jury whose members cannot agree upon a verdict.
Hurt on the Job: In order to establish a right to workers’ compensation benefits, there must be an employment relationship during which an accident or an injury arises in the course of employment and is related thereto, and includes aggravation, reactivation, acceleration or death resulting from the injury.