Glossary of Medical Malpractice Law Terms “C”

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Cancer: A disease manifested by the presence of a malignant tumor. This tumor must be characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of malignant cells, the invasion of tissue, or leukemia.

Cancer misdiagnosis: Caused by medical negligence when a medical specialist fails to follow the acceptable standards of care required of his/her professional capacity. Cancer misdiagnosis related to medical negligence can occur when a medical professional fails to do any of the following: pay attention or respond to a patient’s complaints or symptoms, order the proper tests that would lead to correct diagnosis, refer a patient to a specialist in a timely manner, or treat a patient in the appropriate manner given their medical condition.

Carcinogen: A substance or agent that causes cancer.

Case law: Law based on previous decisions of appellate courts.

Celebrex: A brand of medication used to relieve the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in adults. Celebrex use can result in stomach bleeding and liver damage.

Cerebral palsy: A medical condition caused by a permanent brain injury that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth. The effect of cerebral palsy is characterized by lack of muscle control and body movement. The cerebral palsy diagnosis is usually made shortly after birth, but may show up later in childhood.

Central Nervous System: The brain and the spinal cord. Receives sensory impulses from the rest of the nervous system and then controls the body’s response to those impulses.

Civil: Generally pertains to disputes, not involving crimes, including family matters, contracts, medical malpractice, collection of debts, and compensation for personal injury or property loss.

Civil Lawsuit: A lawsuit in which one does not need to prove criminal liability.

Cognitive Functions: The skills of the brain including memory, attention, and concentration.

Collateral source rule: Under this rule, compensation awarded to an injured party shall not be reduced by the amount of compensation available to him from his insurance company or other independent sources.

Common law: Law that derives its authority solely from usages and customs of the past.

Comparative negligence: The doctrine of comparing degrees of fault among the responsible parties.

Compensation: Monetary award transferred from defendant to plaintiff to make up for some wrong, damage or injury caused by the defendant’s actions or inaction.

Complainant: Also known as the plaintiff.

Civil Complaint: The first pleading in a civil case filed by the plaintiff. It alleges the material facts and legal theories to support the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant.

Contingency fee: A fee arrangement in which the plaintiff and his or her attorney agree that the fees due to the attorney will be determined by the amount of the judgment granted if in the favor of the plaintiff.

Continuance: A delay of a scheduled session of a court.

Cox-2 Inhibitor: A drug designed to treat chronic pain without irritating the stomach and stomach lining.

Cross-examination: The questioning of a witness of one party by the opposing party during a trial, hearing or deposition.

CT Scan: A “computed tomography” scan may be used to determine the cause of cerebral palsy in a child. This test scans the brain, looking for abnormalities and areas that have not properly developed.