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Legal Dictionary - Glossary of Legal Terms

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Harmless Error. An error committed during a trial that was not serious enough to affect the outcome of a trial and, therefore, will not strike down the decision made at trial.

Hazardous Occupational Noise. Noise levels that exceed permissible noise exposures under the federal law.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). A type of managed health care system that contracts with medical facilities, physicians, employers, and sometimes individuals to provide medical care to a group of people known as "members." Generally, members of HMOs don't have any significant "out-of-pocket" expenses because the medical care is most often paid for by an employer at a fixed price per patient.

Hearing. An in-court proceeding before a judge, generally open to the public.

Hearsay. Evidence based on what the witness has heard someone else say, rather than what the witness has personally experienced or observed. Hearsay is not admissible evidence unless it qualifies under an exclusion or exception of the rules of evidence for admission.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A federal law passed in 1996 that sets basic requirements that health insurance plans must meet, including keeping a person’s medical information private.

Hematoma. The collection of blood in tissues or a space following rupture of a blood vessel.

Hemorrhagic Stroke. Occurs when an artery in the brain tears or bursts, causing blood to spill out.

Herniated Disc. A rupture of the annulus fibrosis, through which the inner disc material (nucleus pulposus) extrudes. This may put pressure on the exiting spinal nerve and/or cause an inflammatory reaction leading to radiculopathy or weakness, numbness, and/or tingling in the arms or legs.

HMO Negligence. Generally, a type of medical malpractice that can be defined as the carelessness of an HMO, acting through its physicians, in making treatment decisions for a member that results in injury to that member.

Homeowner's Insurance.  Policy that insures individuals against any, some, or all of the risks of loss to personal dwellings or the contents of personal dwellings or the personal liability pertaining to personal dwellings.

Hung Jury. A jury whose members cannot agree on a verdict.

Hurt on the Job. In order to establish a right to workers compensation benefits, there must be an employment relationship during which an accident or an injury arises in the course of employment and is related thereto, and includes aggravation, reactivation, acceleration or death resulting from the injury.

Hypolordosis. Loss of a normal spinal curve. The condition may occur after a rear-end auto impact.

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