Personal injury law is a civil law that allows an injured person to go to a court to press charges for all losses stemming from any form of an accident caused by the negligence or intentional act and sometimes strict liability of the other person. The goal of this is to make sure you, the plaintiff recovers from all forms of injuries; the defendant has caused you. Such damages range from compensatory damages like physical pain, humiliation, embarrassment, etc. and punitive damages.
Civil law is a vastly used legal system that helps to hold someone legally responsible for your injuries. Sources of personal injury law include common laws and the legislature. Common laws are laws made by judges, and they differ in different jurisdiction. If a judge presides over a trial, his decision becomes the rule for lower courts in similar cases. The legislature also makes rules that help solve matters related to personal injuries.
What is considered a personal injury?
Cases that include medical and dental accidents, dog bites, wrongful deaths, work-related accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, automobile accidents, and railway accidents all fall under personal injuries. The law that deals with personal injuries are sometimes called “tort laws”. However, not all cases like this are torts. Cases treated as such are cases where you can legally accuse someone of being responsible for the injuries you incurred. Damage is charge received to compensate for the harm that resulted from the trauma someone caused you either now or injuries that might cause complications in the future. Jurisdictions determine basic damages cost.
Typical cases of personal injury include accidents, intentional acts, defective products, defamation and workplace injuries.
Accidents cover automobile accidents, medical malpractice and slip, and fall incident among others. The negligence of the other party might cause these accidents. Examples:
A: When you are driving a car, you are legally obliged to other drivers to drive your vehicle with reasonable caution and care, which includes obeying traffic laws. If the driver shows a stop sign and hits another car, the driver is said to be negligent and therefore legally responsible for all injuries that resulted from the car accidents.
B: Slip and fall injury from an object I dropped in the wrong place. After recovering from such injury, you can also proceed to file a case against me in court.
C: You went for a medical operation, and the surgeon in charge forgot medical equipment inside your stomach. Discovering such gives you a basis to charge him to court.
D: A head-on collision where I failed to apply my brake. You incurring a spinal cord injury in such a situation make me legally responsible for the accident. You can file a personal injury case against me in court.
Situations where intentional acts I did cause harm to you in any form. You can file a lawsuit against me in court. Examples:
E: If I assaulted you and you got injured in such case. It might even be a physical confrontation. You can proceed and charge me to court.
Defective Products are also types of cases that are approached in this manner. There are situations where a defendant can be held responsible for an injury without any negligent or intentional wrongdoing. Examples:
F: If you bought a painkiller from a drug store across the street and you discovered it wasn’t working correctly. The use of the drug leads to complications, and you went through an operation to get healed. You can file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturer.
The defamatory statement could cause harm to a person’s reputation. Examples:
G: I made a defamatory statement about you on my social media. If hoodlums acts on my account and their activity cause you injury. After recovery from your injuries, you can proceed and file a case against me.
If you got injured at your place of work, either it’s a slip and fall incident or illness generated due to the bad working condition of your work environment. It is usually categorized as a workplace personal injury law. Examples:
H: You developed a psychological health condition from an extremely stressful work schedule. You can proceed to take legal action against such employer.
I: I am a truck driver for a truck freight company, and my employer doesn’t make provisions for the maintenance of the truck I drive. Having an accident and sustaining injuries due to the poor maintenance of the truck gives me ground to press charges against my employer.
The lawyer’s involvement
When you contact your lawyer to file a case against me for causing harm to you due to my negligence, the law considers some things before deciding it’s a personal injury law case. Imagine a scenario where I hit the rear of your vehicle due to my negligence. In such a situation, if you get injured, the first thing you do is to get medical care then contact your lawyer. Different jurisdictions have different laws, but the plaintiff has to prove the defendant has a duty of care towards him, the defendant breached his duty of care, you (the plaintiff) incurred a direct or proximate injury as a result of the defendant breach and damages occurred as a result of this actions. You have to be able to prove these claims before proceeding to contact your lawyer.
Your lawyer investigates your claim and reviews your medical record. If he couldn’t prove your claims, he could advise you to drop the case. However, he tries to get a settlement from my attorney or insurance company, if he feels there isn’t a need to file a lawsuit. Most cases end with a settlement between your lawyer and my attorney because it saves me legal cost and keeps the case out of the paper. The settlement also means a guaranteed win for you.
However, if he sees the need for a case, he proceeds to file a lawsuit in court. Your lawyer has to present the trial within a strict time limit called the statute of limitation. It is the time duration that you must file your case. This period is determined by jurisdiction. Failure to file the lawsuit within the stated time, the defendant goes scot-free without paying for damages. Judges preside over cases in case. However, I (the defendant) can choose to decide if I want a jury to be present or leave the entire decision to the judge. Factors that warrant this is either the judge relations or the defendant relations. Attorneys representing an injured plaintiff are compensated, and it varies in a different jurisdiction.
What is not falls under personal injury but looks like personal injury?
When you want to file a case about an injury, the primary determinant for a personal injury case is sustaining injuries due to another person or party negligence, intentional act, and sometimes strict liabilities. Having an accident without having an injury cannot be classified as a personal injury case instead categorized as a property case. Sometimes a personal injury is confused with other types of injuries primarily bodily injuries. However, looking deep will show you the difference.
What is the difference between personal injury and bodily injury?
Bodily injuries are mostly confused with personal injuries due to the similarities they share. Bodily injuries are injuries that deal with specific injuries to the physical body of the plaintiff caused by the defendant. Bodily injury is usually used when it’s a criminal case except in insurance cases. Such injuries might be a broken bone or even a bruise. Bodily injuries cover a plaintiff’s related lost income, medical bills, and physical injury. Personal injuries include more than just physical injury but also emotions, grief, and defamation. Most personal injury claims often start with bodily injury but don’t stop there.
Are you in any condition that seems like the ones listed above? Simply contact your lawyer to help file a case. However, make sure your claims can be proved. Below is a checklist for a personal injury case:
1: When you incurred an injury due to the negligent, strict liability or intentional act of another person or body.
2: Get treated and make sure you can prove he has a duty of care towards you, and he breached it. Due to him breaching the duty of care lead to you incurring an injury and then damages occurred.
3: If you can prove the claims above, contact your lawyer and let him investigate your claims. He decides whether your op in for a settlement or a court case.