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This is for Medical Law and Ethics Proper Terms, and Spelling (Chapter by Chapter) Written by Bonnie F. Fremgen (Third Edition)

Checks and Balances

designed by the framers of the Constitution so that no one branch of government would have more power than another and so that each branch of government is scrutinized by other branches of government

Constitutional Law

the inviolable rights, privileges, or immunities secured and protected for each citizen by the Constitution of the United States or by the constitution of each state


rules or laws made by agencies

Common Law

also called case law, common law is based on decisions made by judges, may explain or interpret the other sourses of law

Case Law

also called common law, case by case law is based on decisions made by judges

Stare Decisis

Latin phrase meaning "let the decision stand" basing decisions on similar past decisions

Preponderence of Evidence

evidence showing that more likely than not the incident occurred

Tort Law

that division of law that covers acts that result in harm to another; covers wrongful acts

Contract Law

that division of law that includes enforceable promises and agreements between two or more persons to do or not to do a particular thing


a civil injury, or wrongful act, committed against another person or property that results in harm and is compensated in money damages

Intentional Torts

intentional torts occur when a person has been intentionally or deliberately injured by another


imminent apprehension of bodily harm


bodily harm and unlawful touching (touching without consent of patient)

Defamation of Character

making false and/or malicious statements about another person; includes libel and slander


speaking false and malicious words concerning another person that brings injury to his or her reputation


any publication in print, writing, pictures, or signs that injures the reputation of another person




the illegal appropriation of property, usually money, by a person entrusted with its possession

Unintentional Torts

such as negligence, occur when the patient is injured as a result of the healthcare professional's not exercising the ordinary standard of care


neglect of an understanding between two parties; failing to perform a legal duty


in contract law, consideration is something of value given as part of the agreement


capable of making a decision without mental confusion due to drugs, alcohol, or other reasons

Expressed Contract

an agreement that is entered into orally or in writing

Implied Contract

an agreement that is made through inference by signs, inaction, or silence

Breach of Contract

the failure, without legal excuse, to perform any promise or to carry out any of the terms of an agreement; failure to perform a contractual duty

Class Action Lawsuit

lawsuit filed by one or more people on behalf of a larger group of people who are all affected by the same situation

Criminal Laws

set up to protect the public from the harmful acts of others

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

evidence that is almost an absolute certainty that a person did commit a crime

Criminal Case

one in which court action is brought by the government against a person or groups of people accused of committing a crime, resulting in a fine or imprisonment if found guilty


a serious crime that carries a punishment of death or imprisonment for more than one year. Examples are murder, rape, robbery, and practicing medicine without a license


less serious offenses than felonies; punishable by fines or imprisonment of up to one year. These include traffic violations and disturbing the peace

Administrative Law

a branch of law that covers regulations set by government agencies


the power to hear a case


person or group of people sued civilly or prosecuted criminally in a court of law


a written charge presented to the court by the grand jury against a defendant


a dispute that has resulted in one party suing another


a person or group of people suing another person or group of people; the person who instigates the lawsuit


a person who brings a criminal lawsuit on behalf of the government


give up a right


court order for a person or documents to appear in court


oral testimony that is made before a public officer of the court to be used in a lawsuit

Subpoena Duces Tecum

Latin phrase meaning, "under penalty take with you"; a court order requiring a person to appear in court and to bring certain records or other material to a trial or a deposition

Summary Judgment

judge's ruling to end a lawsuit without a trial based on a matter of law presented in pleadings


formal written statements

Expert Witness

a medical practitioner or other expert who, through education, training, or experience, has special knowledge about a subject and gives testimony about that subject in court, usually for a fee

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