Glossary of Legal Terms – W






This glossary should not be relied upon as legal advice. It is provided for general informational purposes only. To properly advise on any given situation requires a knowledge of the facts surrounding that situation. Laws and the statutory definitions of terms will vary from state to state. Specific questions should be directed to an attorney licensed in your state.

Wainscoting:   Wood paneling, tongue-and-groove boards or similar material installed between a baseboard and a chair rail.

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.

Waiver: Knowing and voluntary relinquishment of a right. Compare with release.

Waiver:   A voluntary relinquishing of certain rights or claims.

Walk-out basement:   A feature that allows a door to open onto ground level.

Walk-through:   A buyer’s final inspection of the home to determine if conditions in the purchase agreement have been satisfied.

Ward: A person for whom a guardianship has been established.

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.

Warranty Deed: A deed which warrants and guarantees that the title being transferred is free and clear of all encumbrances.

Warranty: A promise to perform, make good, repair or indemnify the promissee for a loss incurred in the event a represented fact proves to be untrue; a promise that a fact is true.

Warranty:   A legally binding promise to do something in the future.

Weight Of The Evidence: The balance of the greater amount of credible evidence.

Wetlands:   Watery areas such as swamps, marshes and floodplains.

Whiplash Injury: Soft-tissue injuries to the neck or back usually associated with rear-end automobile collisions.

Wil:l   The most basic legal document outlining the disposition of a person’s estate in the event of death.

Wild deed:   An improperly recorded deed.

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.

Window light:   An individual pane of glass.

Window seat:   A bench built under an interior window.

Window well covers:   Curved plastic covers designed to be installed on top of a window well to cover the opening.

Window well:   A curved, corrugated steel insert used to isolate basement windows from moisture if they’re below the soil line.

With Prejudice: A phrase used in orders of judgments indicating that an action or claim has been irrevocably dismissed and the only available remedy thereafter is an appeal.

Withdrawal: Discontinuation of the use of an addictive substance, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bone pain, hot or cold flashes, shaking, irritability, etc.

Without Prejudice: A claim or cause dismissed without prejudice may be the subject of a new lawsuit.

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.

Work Product: Work done by an attorney in the course of his representation of a client that is privileged and cannot be obtained by an adverse party.

Workers’ Compensation: Insurance required of almost all employers to help cover their employees’ economic loss due to a job-related injury or illness.

Wraparound mortgage:   A loan to a buyer for the remaining balance on a seller’s first mortgage and an additional amount requested by the seller. Payments on both loans are made to the lender who holds the wraparound loan.

Writ Of Assistance: A writ issued by a court in order to enforce its judgment or decree.

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.

Writ of Execution: An order directed to a sheriff or other law enforcement officer to levy and execute upon the property of a judgment debtor to satisfy a judgment.
Writ of Prohibition: A writ issued by a Superior Court directing a judge, court or tribunal not to take an action that would be in excess of and beyond its jurisdiction.

Writ: The means by which a court compels acts to be performed, including such documents as an arrest warrant, garnishment and writs of attachment.

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

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: A death that occurs because of someone else’s malice, negligence, or recklessness.