Personal injury is the legal term used when someone suffer an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. Personal injury is also a term used to refer to a type of lawsuit for bodily or emotional harm. Personal injury lawsuits are filed by a plaintiff against the person or entity that caused the harm (the defendant). Causes of actions can include negligence, gross negligence, reckless conduct, or intentional misconduct, and strict liability.
Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. A personal injury case can become formalized through civil court proceedings that seek to find others legally at fault through a court judgment or, as is much more common, such disputes may be resolved through informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed. Common types of personal injury cases include road traffic accidents, work accidents, tripping accidents, assault claims, and product defect accidents (product liability).
Pain and Suffering
Some non-economical damages such as pain and suffering attributed to the damages, like for example having anxiety after a car accident, may be attributed to general damages that can be proved in court and may be entitled to monetary means of compensation. There are other torts, both intentional and non-intentional, that may be pursued and or mixed with personal injury.
A personal injury claim based on negligence requires the plaintiff to prove: (1) A party had a duty to act reasonably according to the circumstances; (2) The party breached the duty; (3) The party’s breach of the duty caused harm; (4) You suffered monetary damages.
Depending upon the intent or negligence of a responsible party, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party through a settlement or a judgment. The amount of compensation for a personal injury will primarily depend on the severity of the injury. Serious injuries (such as broken bones, severed limbs, brain damage) that cause intense physical pain and suffering receive the highest injury settlements.
Personal injury cases begin by filing a lawsuit with a court with a document called a “complaint.” The complaint in a personal injury case identifies the parties to the lawsuit, specifies what the defendant did wrong, alleges that the wrongdoing caused the plaintiff’s injury, and specifies what kind of compensation the plaintiff is seeking. The complaint also generally sets out the facts that the plaintiff will attempt to prove, and the defendant may attempt to disprove, throughout the litigation.
Typical Personal Injury Cases
Automobile accidents are the most frequent cause of personal injury, second to a slip and fall action. Basically, you have a negligence claim if you are injured by a driver who failed to exercise reasonable care, because drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care anytime they are on the road. When they breach that duty and you suffer injuries, you recover for you losses.
In most personal injury cases, the dispute over fault for an accident or injury is resolved through informal early settlement, usually among those personally involved in the dispute, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides. A settlement commonly takes the form of negotiation, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any further action choosing instead to resolve the matter through payment of an agreeable amount of money.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Most lawsuits must be filed within a certain amount of time. In general, once the statute of limitations on a case “runs out,” the legal claim is not valid any longer. The period of time during which you can file a lawsuit varies depending on the type of legal claim.
For a personal injury claim, you must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of injury. If the injury was not discovered right away, then it is one year from the date the injury was discovered.
Should your personal injury claim be against a government agency, you must file a claim with the agency within 6 months of the incident. If the claim is denied, you can then file your lawsuit in court. After you file your claim, the government has 45 days to respond. If the government agency denies your claim during the 45 days, you have 6 months to file a lawsuit in court from date the denial was mailed or personally delivered to you. If you do not get a rejection letter, you have two years to file from the day the incident occurred.