In law, personal injury describes any harm a person experiences resulting from another person’s negligent or wrongful behavior.
I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials or billboards for personal injury attorneys at some point. But what actually constitutes a personal injury case?
Personal injury law permits victims of personal injury to be compensated for injuries, expenses, and losses by the person or party who is responsible. A personal injury claim is, in essence, a negligence claim in which the accused is said to have failed in his or her ‘duty’ to exercise reasonable care.
“Most personal injury cases are governed by the law of negligence, which dictates the level of reasonable care that is owed from one person to another in a given situation, and the kinds of conduct that would amount to a breach of that legal duty, leading to liability for any resulting injury,” further explains an attorney at Mesriani Law Group.
Vehicle accidents, defective product claims, pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, and slip and fall accidents are among the most common personal injury claims. Car accidents account for the most personal injury claims and include personal injury between cars, but also cyclists and pedestrians.
Though negligence is often the cause, weather can also be a factor. Slip and fall personal injury claims may be a result of negligence on the part of a property owner. An injury caused by a defective product that was being used as intended can also result in a personal injury claim. Medical malpractice, while often controversial, is injury which occurs in a medical setting. In medical malpractice cases, the injured party must prove the doctor or personnel did not provide competent medical services and caused the injury.
Assault as well as Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) are not a result of negligence, but rather, are intentional, and can qualify as a personal injury claim though most often they are classified as criminal cases. Though not an inclusive list, this should provide an ample understanding of what provides a personal injury claim.
Personal injury claims are based in three concepts – negligence, strict liability, and intentional wrongs.
Negligence results from carelessness or the inability to refrain from dangerous or harmful behavior. In negligence cases, the injured must establish negligence on the part of the accused person or party.
Strict liability holds designers as well as manufacturers liable for injuries incurred as a result of defective products. Strict liability differs from negligence in that the injured is not required to show negligence but rather to demonstrate the product was designed in subpar fashion making it dangerous when used for its intended purpose.
Intentional wrongdoing or intentional wrongs can also become personal injury claims, though they are not as common as negligence and strict liability. Intentional wrongs occur when one individual hits or pushes another, even in jest, and the person is injured. The injured party may be able to file a personal injury claim as a result of the injury incurred.
Personal injury, while often thought of as physical harm, also includes injuries which cause damage to an individual’s quality of life. For example, legally personal injury could occur if a colleague provided false information regarding another colleague’s qualifications damaging his or her opportunities for advancement or a new position, thus impacting income and quality of life.
When in doubt regarding personal injury and resultant claims, it is imperative for the injured party to contact an experience, well-qualified personal injury attorney to determine a positive course of action going forward.