Glossary of Personal Injury Law Terms
Waiver: Knowing and voluntary relinquishment of a right. Compare with release.
Waiver of Immunity: A means authorized by statute by which a witness, before testifying or producing evidence, may relinquish the right to refuse to testify against himself or herself, thereby making it possible for his or her testimony to be used against him or her in future proceedings.
Warrant: Most commonly, a court order authorizing law enforcement officers to make an arrest or conduct a search. An affidavit seeking a warrant must establish probable cause by detailing the facts upon which the request is based.
Will: A legal declaration that disposes of a person’s property when that person dies.
Willful Negligence: Intentional performance of an unreasonable act in disregard of a known risk, making it highly probable that harm will be caused. Willful negligence usually involves a conscious indifference to the consequences. There is no clear distinction between willful negligence and gross negligence.
Without Prejudice: A claim or cause dismissed without prejudice may be the subject of a new lawsuit.
With Prejudice: Applied to orders of judgment dismissing a case, meaning that the plaintiff is forever barred from bringing a lawsuit on the same claim or cause.
Witness: A person who testifies to what he or she has seen, heard. or otherwise experienced. Also, a person who observes the signing of a will and is competent to testify that it is the will-maker’s intended last will and testament.
Workers’ Compensation: Insurance required of almost all employers to help cover their employees’ economic loss due to a job-related injury or illness.
Writ: Broadly, a court order requiring the performance of some act or giving authority to have the act done.
Writ of Certiorari: An order issued by the Supreme Court directing the lower court to transmit records for a case for which it will hear on appeal.
Wrongful Death Action: An action brought to recover damages for the death of a person caused by a wrongful act or neglect or unlawful violence or negligence of another; provided that no recovery for the same damages claimed in the wrongful death action was obtained by the deceased during his lifetime. In Pennsylvania, the action may be brought by the decedent’s spouse, children, or parents. If the decedent has no spouse, children or parents, the action may be brought by a personal representative in order to recover damages for hospital, nursing, medical, funeral and estate administration costs.
Wrongful Death Statute: Statutory law that provides the means for the representative of a decedent to bring suit alleging that the decedent’s death was caused by someone’s willful or negligent act and to seek compensation for monetary loss suffered because of the decedent’s death.
Wrongful Death Statutes: Laws giving the family members of a deceased a cause of action if the death of their loved one resulted because of another’s negligence.