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[Old French, from clamer to call, claim, from Latin clamare to shout, proclaim]
1 a : a demand for something (as money) due or believed to be due
: a demand for a benefit (as under the workers' compensation law) or contractual payment (as under an insurance policy)
b : a paper embodying such a demand [filing a with the court]
2 : a title to something (as a debt or privilege) in the possession of another [assigned her to the proceeds]
3 a : a right to seek a judicial remedy arising from a wrong or injury suffered [a plaintiff who has been injured in an accident has…one for a broken arm, another for a ruptured spleen, and so forth "J. H. Friedenthal et al."]
: the formal assertion of such a right [bringing a in the district court]
b : cause of action [a plaintiff stated a against a seller of applesauce when she alleged that her children…ate the applesauce…and were then so discomforted that they had to have their stomachs pumped "J. J. White and R. S. Summers"] see also res judicata NOTE: A cause of action may encompass more than one claim as the term is used in sense 3a. Claim is often used to mean cause of action, however, esp. in modern federal practice.
c : a right to payment or to an equitable remedy as set forth in the Bankruptcy Code see also proof of claim
4 : a formal assertion made by an applicant for a patent of the novelty and patentability of an invention with a description of the invention and its purpose
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.