Glossary of Personal Injury Law Terms
Joint and Several Liability: Refers to a plaintiff’s ability to sue one or more defendants separately or all together at his or her option. Permits a group of defendants to be held both individually and collectively liable for all damages suffered by the plaintiff. The plaintiff can recover the entire amount of damages from one defendant, even if all of the defendants are liable.
Joint Tenancy: A form of legal co-ownership of property (also known as survivorship). At the death of one co-owner, the surviving co-owner becomes sole owner of the property. Tenancy by the entirety is a special form of joint tenancy between a husband and wife.
Judge: Workers’ compensation judges are appointed and are representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. They conduct hearings in an administrative proceeding for workers’ compensation cases.
Judgment: Official decision of a court resolving the issues in a legal action and stating the rights and obligations of the parties. See also decree, order.
Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict (n.o.v.): An order by the trial judge entering a judgment in a manner contradictory to the jury’s verdict. This is granted only when the verdict is unreasonable and unsupportable.
Judicial: Pertaining to a judge.
Judicial Notice: The procedure by which a judge recognizes the existence of the truth of a certain fact having bearing on the case without the production of evidence because such fact is established by common notoriety. For example, if the accident happened on Thanksgiving, the judge can take judicial notice that the accident happened on a Thursday.
Judicial Review: The authority of a court to review the official actions of other branches of government. Also, the authority to declare unconstitutional the actions of other branches.
Jurisdiction: The legal right by which judges exercise their authority.
Jurisprudence: The study of law and the structure of the legal system.
Jury: Persons selected according to law and sworn to inquire into and declare a verdict on matters of fact. A petit jury is an ordinary or trial jury, composed of six to 12 persons, which hears either civil or criminal cases.
Jury Commissioner: The court officer responsible for choosing the panel of persons to serve as potential jurors for a particular court term.
Justiciable: Issues and claims capable of being properly examined in court.