Cases That Qualify as Personal Injury Claims
Examples of incidents that commonly fall under the personal injury claim umbrella include:
- Wrongful death
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bites
- On-the-job injuries
- Product liability
- Premises liability
As the injured party, you could file a civil suit to seek legal damages for the harm you suffered in the accident or another incident.
Different Circumstances Where Personal Injury Rules Apply
More than accidents that injure innocent parties qualify as personal injuries. Intentional torts, such as assault and battery, also qualify for personal injury lawsuits. Because the defendant’s intentional actions harmed another person, courts consider it a personal injury. Sometimes, consumer product, vehicle part, pharmaceutical and medical device companies release defective or hazardous products that harm consumers. Plaintiffs hurt while using these items could have personal injury cases and grounds to file product liability suits against responsible parties. When one person speaks or writes a false statement about someone else, her or his harmful words could qualify as defamation. If so, the harmed party could have a defamation suit, which qualifies as a personal injury.
The Elements of Personal Injury Laws
Personal injury laws stretch back to “common law rules,” which judges make. Laws passed in statutes and bills and those created by legislatures do not qualify as common law rules. When judges hear and make legal decisions on individual cases, their rulings become a legal precedent for all other state courts “below” the deciding judge’s court. All “lower” courts must follow the higher judge’s new standard, which becomes common law. Because common laws differ across state lines, personal injury laws do not work the same across the U.S. Legal professionals may consult the Restatement of Torts, a reference that breaks down personal injury rules. Other than common law, legislatures pass regulations that fall under personal injury law. For instance, when legislatures enacted workers’ compensation regulations, workers’ comp became the absolute legal remedy for all job-related injuries that fall outside the realm of personal injury. Personal injury cases also involve the statute of limitations. Under the statute, personal injury victims have a limited time to take legal action against the at-fault party for injuries and damages. If that time passes, no matter how strong a case the plaintiff has, she or he cannot take the legal matter before a judge.
How Personal Injury Cases Work
Because accidents differ, no two personal injury cases look the same. Despite that, most cases involve the same fundamental steps:
- The defendant injures the plaintiff. Almost any bad faith act the defendant commits could harm another person. Contract breaches do not qualify. Instead, contract law handles harm resulting from a violated agreement.
- The plaintiff feels the defendant failed to uphold a responsibility of care. The incident’s circumstances determine the duty of care the defendant owed the harmed plaintiff. For instance, doctors owe their patients a duty of care to treat them according to recent medical standards, truck drivers and motorists owe each other a duty of care to drive carefully and honor the rules of the road, and property owners owe guests a duty of care to maintain safe premises.
- The defendant and plaintiff discuss the settlement offer. When evidence shows the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care and both sides agree the defendant owed a duty of care, the at-fault party may want to settle the matter out of court. Settling involves both parties deciding fair financial compensation for the injured plaintiff. In exchange, the injured party agrees not to bring the legal matter before a court of law.
When defendants and plaintiffs cannot come to a settlement agreement, the plaintiff’s legal team may sue and go to court. At any time before a jury or judge intervenes, parties may reach a settlement agreement.
Criminal Defense and Personal Injury
A plaintiff could have a personal injury case that qualifies as a criminal defense case, too. For example, a drunk driver’s negligence could qualify as a criminal act and a personal injury. In this legal situation, the harmed party may pursue two separate legal proceedings. Pursuing a personal injury case could allow the plaintiff to recover financial damages for medical bills and lost compensation. Pursing a criminal case may end in the defendant serving jail time, paying fines or facing other punishment.
Common Legal Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Other than making sure the responsible party answers for its negligence, harmed individuals also pursue personal injury cases to recover financial damages that restore them to their pre-accident physical and financial standing. Personal injury cases may involve multiple types of legal compensation.
Some personal injuries leave plaintiffs disfigured or deformed. If injured individuals experience psychological anguish connected to their scars or other disfigurement or deformity, they could qualify for disfigurement damages.
While recovering, plaintiffs may need to pay someone to help with household chores. If those harmed prove they incurred the expense only because of their injuries, they may qualify for financial compensation.
Personal injuries may trigger a cascade of medical bills, doctor’s appointments, rehabilitation treatments, medical assistive devices, ambulance rides and hospital stays. Even with insurance, personal injury victims must pay co-pays and deductibles. They deserve to receive damages for all health care costs associated with the accident.
Courts also award damages for future medical expenses. Severe injuries may require months or years of healing. Accident victims, their legal representatives and medical teams may work together to determine how much the plaintiff should expect to spend on future medical care and try to recover from the defendant.
Loss of Society and Companionship
In personal injuries that end in wrongful death, the plaintiff’s surviving immediate relatives may experience a loss of companionship, love, comfort and society. For these damages, the court considers the family’s living arrangement, evidence that the deceased and surviving relatives had a solid relationship, and if the deceased and surviving family members went long periods without seeing each other.
Loss of Consortium
Some personal injuries leave spouses unable to enjoy the advantages of marriage, such as companionship, comfort and affection. Unlike other personal injury compensation, only unharmed spouses may seek loss of consortium damages. They also cannot recover damages if their harmed partner does not win legal compensation. When deciding loss of consortium damages, judges and juries consider the couple’s marriage, their separate life expectancies and the severity of lost marital benefits.
Contact Us Today
Do you think you may have a personal injury claim to explore? Judd Shaw Injury Law™ is available 24/7, and our law firm has the collective experience and advanced technology your case deserves. If you still need medical attention for your injuries, let us set you up with the right medical professional to get you back on your feet. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 1-866-909-6894. When you demand justice, demand Judd.