Personal injury is part of an area of law called as tort law. A tort is “a civil wrong or wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, from which injury occurs to another.”
While ‘injury’ can mean almost any harm to a person’s interests, personal injury cases typically concern bodily injury caused by another person’s wrongful actions or inactions. The injury can be any physical pain, disability, or illness that impairs one’s physical well being. The term “serious bodily injury” means any harm that increases the risk of death, or causes disfigurement, impairment or loss of a body part or organ.
The three general types of personal injury cases are:
The actual cases may be of several types, such as “slip and fall” or premises injuries, auto accidents, nursing home abuses, defective product injuries, medical malpractice, toxin exposures, job injuries, drug injuries, dog bites, libel, slander, and wrongful death.You can make a personal injury claim for your own injuries, or on behalf of others, typically a minor child, a spouse, or a deceased relative, for example.
To successfully recover damages in a personal injury case, it is necessary to provide proof of damages, and proof of the defendant’s liability.
Damages refer to actual injury or loss, such as physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering; mental or physical disability; loss of wages or profits; and all other expenses that result from the injury.
The idea is to seek compensation to restore what a person has lost. For injuries caused by someone’s malicious and intentional action, punitive damages may also be sought and awarded.
Liability is a person’s responsibility for the injury. To prove liability, it must be shown that the person had a legal responsibility to act (or refrain from acting), and did not do so, which directly caused the injury.
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court through negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company. If the negotiations are not successful, a Complaint of Law must be filed in civil court.
When making a personal injury claim, you must file the claim within certain time limits, which can vary with the type of injury. We suggest you contact us as soon as possible if you have been injured in any way, to learn what your rights and options may be.