A personal injury claim is part of civil law. With a personal injury claim, you can be compensated if you’re wronged in some way. In a personal injury lawsuit, if you’re the person injured, you’re the plaintiff. The person you’re bringing a case against is the defendant.
Personal injuries can arise through various scenarios, including car accidents, premises liability, malpractice and defective products.
There are four elements of a personal injury claim that need to be demonstrated or met.
The first is duty to exercise reasonable care. If you’re in a car accident for example, the people driving on the roadway owe you a duty of care. If another driver does something they shouldn’t that another reasonable person wouldn’t, they aren’t meeting their duty of care.
Along with a duty of care being owed, you have to show in these claims that the defendant failed to exercise it. Someone could have done something careless leading to you being hurt, for example.
Then, there’s causation. This means that a successful claim is one in which there’s a connection between the failure to exercise reasonable care and the cause of injury.
The fourth element that has to be present in a personal injury claim are the damages. To recover compensation, you have to be able to show you suffered damages because of the other person’s negligence.
With those things in mind, below are some of the most common, specific types of personal injury claims we often see.
Car Accident Claims
By far, car accident claims are the most commonly seen in personal injury. Millions of Americans are hurt in car accidents every year, and often these injuries cause high financial and emotional costs. There can also frequently be someone who’s found atfault or negligent for the damages in a car accident.
When someone files a lawsuit because of a car accident, they may receive compensation as a settlement or, if the case goes to trial, a judgment.
The cause of accidents varies. For example, if someone is paying attention to their phone behind the wheel, that can represent negligence and a failure to exercise a duty of care.
It’s not just cars that are involved in these claims. Pedestrians, trucks, buses, and motorcycles can fall into this category.
It can be challenging in some car accident cases to show who’s at fault, so a personal injury attorney can help gather evidence.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall describes situations where someone falls or slips and is hurt on another person’s property. These types of personal injury claims fall under the larger category of premises liability.
A slip and fall accident usually occurs on property that is maintained or owned by someone else, and in some instances, the owner of the property is legally responsible.
Specific conditions contributing to these accidents include wet floors, poor lighting, or damaged carpeting.
These accidents can happen outside too, because of something like snow or ice.
The core of these claims is whether the property owner acted carefully to minimize the risk of people getting hurt.
If you’re hurt on someone else’s property, you have to show that the accident cause was a dangerous condition, and the person owning or in charge of the property knew about that condition.
A medical malpractice claim occurs when a health care provider fails to provide the appropriate treatment or doesn’t take the necessary action to treat a patient. They might also give substandard treatment that another medical provider in a similar situation would have handled otherwise. Then, as part of a malpractice claim, the patient must have suffered injury or harm because of the care they received.
Frequently, malpractice or medical negligence claims involve an error. These errors might relate to a wrong or missed diagnosis, medication dosage, health treatment, or aftercare.
Under laws regarding medical malpractice, patients do have the ability to recover compensation if they’re harmed due to substandard treatment.
Hospitals, doctors, and other health care professionals have to provide a certain level of care. If a patient suffers harm during their care, that doesn’t automatically mean the professional providing it is liable.
If their level or standard of care deviated from the norm, the provider might be legally liable.
According to researchers from Johns Hopkins, medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
In a malpractice claim, the plaintiff is the person making an official complaint. This is usually the patient but can also be someone legally designated to act on behalf of the patient. The defendant is the party being sued, and it can be the health care provider, including a doctor, nurse, or therapist.
In medical malpractice claims, damages can include compensatory damages for economic losses like medical expenses and lost earning capacity. There are also non-economic damages which include things like emotional distress.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded, and they’re reserved for situations where a defendant is found guilty of willful or malicious misconduct.
Product Liability Claims
Finally, product liability claims fall into the category of personal injury claims.
Thousands of injuries occur every year because of dangerous or defective products. There is an area of law relating specifically to product liability. This area of the law dictates who’s responsible for faulty or dangerous products, and sometimes, it’s easier to recover damages under these laws than with other injury cases.
In general, product liability refers to a situation where a seller or manufacturer is liable for putting a defective product on the market that finds its way to the consumer’s hands. Law requires products meet typical consumer expectations. If there’s a danger or defect a product doesn’t meet that standard.
Product liability claims are usually based on state laws and are brought forward under legal theories of negligence, as well as breach of warranty and strict liability.
Along with what’s above, injuries from a hazardous drug and injuries from dog bites are also relatively common personal injury claims.
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