Legal Dictionary D

DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P. ® have provided you with a legal dictionary
so that you can better understand some of the legal vocabulary used throughout our website and during your personal injury claim.

Contact DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P. ® to schedule a free initial consultation.

S T U V W – X – Y – Z

Damages – Money payment recovered in the courts for an injury or loss caused by an unlawful act or omission or negligence of another.

Death Benefits – Benefits paid to surviving dependents when a work injury results in death.

Decedent – A deceased person.

Decision – A determination made from a consideration of law and facts.

Declaratory Judgment – Judicial adjudication of the rights of the parties in a lawsuit made to clarify the parties’ legal positions.

Decree – Declaration of the court announcing the legal consequences of the facts found. See order, judgment.

Default Judgment – A judgment entered against a party who fails to appear in court or respond to the allegations.

Defective Product – A defective product is any product that causes you to suffer loss as the result of some defect, whether it is a design defect, manufacturing defect, or failure to warn.

Defendant – In civil law, the party defending a lawsuit ; the party against whom the plaintiff seeks to recover damages from.

Demurrer – Defendant’s claim that even if the allegations in a complaint are true, they are not sufficient to impose any liability on the defendant.

Denied Claim – A claim in which the insurance company does not believe that their insured is responsible for and therefore denies your claim.

Deposition – Testimony of a witness taken under oath, but not in a courtroom. May be used to discover evidence prior to trial or to preserve testimony for use in court at a later time.

De Novo – A trial de novo is a new trial of a case.

Deponent – The person who testifies at a deposition.

Dicta – Plural of “obiter dictum.” A remark made by a judge in a legal opinion that is irrelevant to the decision and does not establish a precedent.

Direct Evidence – Generally, eyewitness evidence. Contrast with circumstantial evidence.

Direct Examination – The first questioning of witnesses by the party on whose behalf they are called.

Directed Verdict – Now called Judgment as a Matter of Law. An instruction by the judge to the jury to return a specific verdict.

Disability – In the legal sense, lack of legal capacity to perform some act. Used in a physical sense in connection with workers’ compensation acts and is a composite of (a) actual incapacity to perform employment tasks and the wage loss resulting there from and (b) physical bodily impairment which may or may not be incapacitating.

Discovery – The pretrial process by which one party discovers the evidence that will be relied upon in the trial by the opposing party.

Disfigurement – A technical term cases for a serious and permanent scar to the head, neck, or face.

Dismissal – The termination of a lawsuit. A dismissal without prejudice allows a lawsuit to be brought before the court again at a later time. In contrast, a dismissal with prejudice prevents the lawsuit from being brought before a court in the future.

Dismissal with Prejudice – Final judgment against the plaintiff which prohibits bringing an action on the same cause of action in the future. In contrast, “dismissal without prejudice” allows the plaintiff to sue again for the same cause of action.

Dispute – The disagreement or opposition of views or claims.

Doctrine of Avoidable Consequences or Mitigation of Damages Imposes a duty on victims of a tort to take reasonable steps to minimize their damages after an injury has been inflicted.

Dram Shop – A drinking establishment where alcoholic beverages are served to be drunk on the premises.

Dram Shop Act – In North Carolina, this statute imposes liability on drinking establishments, like bars and restaurants, for harm resulting from the establishment’s service of alcohol to visibly intoxicated persons.

Due Process of Law – The right of all persons to receive the guarantees and safeguards of the law and the judicial process. It includes such constitutional requirements as adequate notice, assistance of counsel. and the rights to remain silent, to a speedy and public trial, to an impartial jury, and to confront and secure witnesses.

Duty – In negligence cases, a “duty” is an obligation to conform to a particular standard of care. A failure to so conform places the actor at risk of being liable to another to whom a duty is owed for an injury sustained by the other of which the actor’s conduct is a legal cause. See reasonable man doctrine.

S T U V W – X – Y – Z

What Our clients are saying
Office Locations

With North Carolina office locations in Charlotte, Hickory, Monroe and in Columbia, South Carolina, DeMayo Law Offices have been serving the state since 1992. You can contact us 24/7 and if you are unable to come to us - we will come to you.


Provide the below information and we will contact you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Phone icon
Call Us 24/7
Location icon
home icon
We Come
To You

Please do not include any confidential or sensitive information in this form. This form sends information by non-encrypted email which is not secure. Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum Top 100 Trial Lawyers North Carolina Advocates for Justice
AV Preeminent Client Champion DeMayo Law Offices is a BBB Accredited Business Rated by Super Lawyers

Membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Criteria for membership in Million Dollar Advocates can be found by clicking here. DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P. does not represent that similar results will be achieved in your case. Each case is different and must be evaluated separately.

The National Trial Lawyers is a national organization composed of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers from each state. Membership is obtained through special invitation and is extended only to those attorneys who exemplify superior qualifications, leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and profile as trial lawyers, both civil plaintiff and criminal defense. More information can be found at the National Trial Lawyers web site by clicking here. DeMayo Law Offices, L.L.P. does not represent that similar results will be achieved in your case. Each case is different and must be evaluated separately.