Do you need a personal injury lawyer? Below we define personal injury as a legal term and explore the many different types of personal injury cases that could lead to a settlement that would improve and enhance your quality of life.
What Kind of Injuries Qualify as Personal Injury?
The legal definition of personal injury refers to a type of lawsuit involving damage to one’s person, due to the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity. On a human level, what all the cases we have worked with share in common is that the victims did not deserve what happened to them.
The injuries experienced may have happened while driving, while traveling, at work, on the job, on vacation, at a nightclub, dining in a restaurant, or visiting a place of business or someone’s home. While pain and suffering differs from person to person and case to case, so too does the severity of each injury when it comes to personal injury. Here is a list of typical injuries associated with personal injury cases:
- Brain injury (including anoxic brain injury, hypoxic brain injury, and traumatic brain injury)
- Spinal cord injury
- Fractures and orthopedic injury
- Scarring or Disfigurement
- Emotional and psychological trauma
These categories are only meant to outline the broad range of harm suffered by personal injury victims, but they are by no means an exhaustive list.
How To Know if You Have a Personal Injury Case
To determine if you have a valid personal injury case to bring against a negligent party, it’s best to talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer. But it may be instructive to know how many different scenarios can result in a legitimate personal injury case.
When you are at a restaurant, shopping center, a synagogue, a resort, or a place of business—in other words, when you are on premises other than your own home—you have a reasonable right to expect that are safe and that harm will not befall you. Premises liability is a category of personal injury that includes accidents and injuries that happen because of the negligence or misconduct of the person responsible for keeping those places safe.
Included in this Premises Liability category are:
Healthcare-Related Personal Injury
Everyone expects that healthcare institutions will improve our health and wellbeing, not harm it. Nevertheless, errors in the administration of care and medication results in personal injury every single day. These are just a few of the kinds of personal injury cases included in this category:
- Pharmacy errors
- Nursing home negligence
- Dangerous dialysis
Personal Injury Stemming From Criminal Activity
The world we inhabit is far from perfect. Bad people do bad things. Crimes are committed. When those crimes cause personal bodily injury and suffering, the criminals can be held accountable, both in a criminal court and a civil court.
In addition, if the business or property owner where the crime occurred failed to provide adequate lighting or other forms of security, they can be held accountable as well. As such, this category of personal injury cases often overlaps with Premises Liability, explained above. Here are some examples that would be included in this category:
- Injuries or death resulting from violent crime
- Drunk driving accidents
- Assault & battery
- Crime victims’ rights
- Victims of ATM crimes
- Sexual assault
Personal Injury That Results From Product Failures
Sometimes, a person experiences harm in their very own home or vehicle. The harm can be considered personal injury when it occurs as a result of the negligence of a manufacturer who built, marketed, and/or sold a product with a flaw that caused the injury. The product failure cases in this category include:
- Design defects
- Manufacturing defects
- Marketing defects
This category includes any occasion when a personal injury victim is traveling from one location to another, either for business or for pleasure. The victim might be in his or her own personal vehicle or on board a car, truck, bus, train, plane, or ship owned by someone else. The kind of accidents included in this category are:
Wrongful Death: The Ultimate Personal Injury
Wrongful death is a special kind of personal injury case. While no personal injury is excusable, time, financial support, and medical attention can mitigate the negative outcomes associated with many of the impairments listed in the section above, and life can resume again. However, for victims of wrongful death, there is no tomorrow.
Wrongful death refers to the death of someone because of the misconduct or negligence of another person or party. The person causing the death may be convicted of a crime associated with the death. In fact, many wrongful death lawsuits come after a criminal trial. In such cases, the standard of proof is not as stringent as in a criminal trial. But not all wrongful death lawsuits follow a criminal conviction.
Obviously, the victim in these cases cannot bring a case against the guilty party. Instead, the surviving members of his or her family are the ones who can sue. Specifically, a personal representative of the victim’s estate will bring the lawsuit in order to recover damages to help pay for medical expenses that might have arisen prior to the decedent’s death, as well as for funeral expenses, pain, suffering, and loss of consortium (loss of companionship) by surviving family members.
What You Can Expect in Compensation
When someone suffers personal injury, the suffering experienced is referred to as damages. While damages can’t be completely undone, a personal injury victim may be entitled to receive compensation for damages in one or more of the following:
- Cost of counseling – Personal injury can be psychologically traumatic. A victim of personal injury shouldn’t be expected to foot the bill for the counseling required to overcome this emotional distress
- Loss of wages – When a victim is forced to miss work because of the personal injury, they can be reimbursed for the wages they have lost.
- Medical expenses – The guilty party or parties should be required to pay for surgery, medication, and other medical treatment made necessary by the injury.
- Occupational or physical therapy – As with medical expenses listed above, any therapy needed to recover from a personal injury is subject to compensation.
- Pain and suffering – The negligence and misconduct of another can rob a person of their peace of mind and sense of wellbeing. Victims have a right to be compensated for this loss.
- Property damage – When the negligence or misconduct of another causes damage to personal property (a person’s house or car, for example) the victim can be compensated in the form of repair or replacement.
- Ongoing living expenses – In some severe cases, the injury can require a permanent and costly change in lifestyle, in which case the victim can reasonably expect assistance to pay for these ongoing expenses.
- Loss of consortium – For widows, widowers, and other survivors in a wrongful death case, loss of consortium refers to the loss of the deceased’s presence and companionship.
Insurance Companies Don’t Represent the Interests of a Personal Injury Victim
When you are injured as the result of the negligence or misconduct of another, you may be contacted by a representative of the other party’s insurance company. These individuals can sound sincere and concerned, and they may genuinely feel bad for you. But make no mistake—they do not represent your interests. Their primary concern—their obligation as an insurance carrier—is to the company, organization or individual they represent. More than anything, they want to limit the amount of liability that their client—their negligent and sometimes criminal client—has exposed them to. If that means persuading a victim who is hurting in a vulnerable moment of pain, suffering, and need, then so be it. When they offer you a settlement, you can be certain that they are not offering the most they would be willing to pay to settle the case. They are hoping for a quick end to the problem.
How Long Does It Take To Try A Personal Injury Case Or Bring It To Settlement?
With personal injury cases, it’s not enough to demonstrate that a person has been injured. The personal injury attorney must also show that the injury occurred due to the negligence or misconduct of the responsible party. It’s a time-consuming, detailed, and contentious process: contentious, because the insurance company’s lawyers will most certainly be fighting against the victim all along the way.
Bringing a personal injury claim against the responsible parties in a personal injury lawsuit should only be pursued with an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of personal injury law, has the resources to investigate and prosecute your claim, and will aggressively represent your interests.
You have the right to expect that the people who represent organizations like hospitals, construction firms, and apartment complexes will act in accordance with their duties. When they don’t, and as a result their negligence causes harm—pain, suffering, injury or even death—that’s personal injury. Personal injury law is what Hannon Legal Group specializes in.
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