Glossary of Personal Injury Law Terms
Immunity: Grant by the court, which assures someone will not face prosecution in return for providing criminal evidence.
Impaneling: Selecting a jury from the list of potential jurors.
Impeach: Attacking the credibility of a witness.
Impeachment of a Witness: An attack on the credibility (believability) of a witness, through evidence introduced for that purpose.
Incarcerate: To confine in jail.
Inadmissible: That which, under the rules of evidence, cannot be admitted or received as evidence.
In Camera: In a judge’s chambers; in private.
In Camera Inspection: Judge’s private inspection of a document prior to his or her ruling on its admissibility or use at trial.
In Camera Proceedings. Trial or proceeding in a place not open to the public, usually in a judge’s chambers.
Indemnify: To restore the victim of a loss, either in whole or in part, by payment of money or repair or replacement of the thing lost.
Independent Executor: A special kind of executor, permitted by the laws of certain states, who performs the duties of an executor without intervention by the court.
Indeterminate Sentence: A sentence of imprisonment to a specified minimum and maximum period of time, specifically authorized by statute, subject to termination by a parole board or other authorized agency after the prisoner has served the minimum term.
Indictment: A written accusation by a grand jury charging a person with a crime.
Indigent: Needy or impoverished. A defendant who can demonstrate his or her indigence to the court may be assigned a court-appointed attorney at public expense.
Information: Accusatory document, filed by the prosecutor, detailing the charges against the defendant. An alternative to an indictment, it serves to bring a defendant to trial.
Informed Consent: Person’s agreement to allow something to happen, such as a medical procedure, that is based on full disclosure of the facts necessary to make an intelligent decision.
In Forma Pauperis: In the manner of a pauper. Permission given to a person to sue without payment of court fees on claim of indigence or poverty.
Infraction: A violation of law not punishable by imprisonment. Minor traffic offenses generally are considered infractions.
Inheritance Tax: A state tax on property that an heir or beneficiary under a will receives from a deceased person’s estate. The heir or beneficiary pays this tax.
Initial Appearance: In criminal law, the hearing at which a judge determines whether there is sufficient evidence against a person charged with a crime to hold him or her for trial. The Constitution bans secret accusations, so initial appearances are public unless the defendant asks otherwise; the accused must be present, though he or she usually does not offer evidence. Also called first appearance.
Injunction: Writ or order by a court prohibiting a specific action from being carried out by a person or group. A preliminary injunction is granted provisionally, until a full hearing can be held to determine if it should be made permanent.
In Propria Persona: In court’s it refers to persons who present their own case without lawyers. See Pro Se.
Instructions: Judge’s explanation to the jury before it begins deliberations of the questions it must answer and the applicable law governing the case. Also called charge.
Intangible Assets: Nonphysical items such as stock certificates, bonds, bank accounts, and pension benefits that have value and must be taken into account in estate planning.
Intentional Inflication of Emotional Distress: – Intentionally causing severe emotional distress by extreme or outrageous conduct.
Interlocutory: Provisional; not final. An interlocutory order or an interlocutory appeal concerns only a part of the issues raised in a lawsuit.
Interrogatories: Written questions asked by one party in a lawsuit for which the opposing party must provide written answers.
Intervention: An action by which a third person who may be affected by a lawsuit is permitted to become a party to the suit. Differs from the process of becoming an amicus curiae.
Inter Vivos Gift: A gift made during the giver’s life.
Inter Vivos Trust: Another name for a living trust.
Intestacy Laws: See descent and distribution statutes.
Intestate: Dying without a will.
Intestate Succession: The process by which the property of a person who has died without a will passes on to others according to the state’s descent and distribution statutes. If someone dies without a will, and the court uses the state’s interstate succession laws, an heir who receives some of the deceased’s property is an intestate heir.
Invitee: A person is an invitee on land if he enters land by invitation; his entry is connected with business being conducted on the land by the possessor of land; and the possessor of land is benefited by the entry.
Irrevocable Trust: A trust that, once set up, the grantor may not revoke.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A condition of abnormally increased spontaneous movement (motility) of the small and large intestine, generally stress can contribute to this condition.
Ischemic Colitis: An inflammation caused by interference with the blood flow to the large intestine. This lack of blood flow leads to death of tissue.
Issue: (1) The disputed point in a disagreement between parties in a lawsuit. (2) To send out officially, as in to issue an order.