As per the definition, Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and another party or person might be legally responsible for that harm. Through civil court proceedings, a personal injury case can become formalized. These proceedings are such that they seek to find others legally at fault through a court judgment. Such disputes may be resolved through informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed as well.
In case of Formal Lawsuit that are initiated by the government, a formal personal injury case usually starts when a private individual called the plaintiff files a civil complaint against another person, business, corporation, or government agency called the defendant. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm. This exact action is referred to as “filing a lawsuit”.
Informal Settlement refers to the action that resolves most disputes over fault for an accident or injury. These settlements are usually made among those personally involved in the dispute, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides. A settlement usually takes the form of negotiation. It is typically followed by a written agreement in which both sides withdraw from going any further. Instead of a lawsuit, they choose to resolve the matter through payment of an amount of money that is agreed upon by both the parties.
Also, there is a “middle ground” between a lawsuit and an informal settlement. This is an alternative dispute resolution procedure. Mediation and Arbitration are examples of such procedures.
For Plaintiffs, there is a limited time period by which the lawsuit needs to be filed. This time period is called a “statute of limitations”. This period of time begins when the plaintiff is injured or discovers the injury.
Statutes of limitations are usually established by state law. These statutes also vary by type of injury. This time period usually varies from state to state. Most of the areas of the law find their rules in statutes. However, the development of personal injury law has taken place mostly through court decisions, and in treatises written by legal scholars. There are many states that have taken steps to summarize the development of personal injury law in written statutes. However, in any legal injury case, court decisions remain the main source of the law for practical purposes.
Be it any kind of personal injury case, it always demands for a detailed understanding of the facts, the processes, and the law. First, you need to check whether you should pursue a lawsuit or not. After all, your claim needs to be viable. So, for this purpose, you will want to consult with an experienced attorney like the Mark Schiffrin P.A. to see if you should pursue a lawsuit.
Personal injury law usually involves situations in which not only a person’s body, but his or her mind, or emotions are hurt as well due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Such cases might involve wrongful death or situations where an injury proves fatal or permanently damaging. This personal injury law is also referred to as the “tort law”.
A personal injury law covers any kind of case where a person is injured. Here is a list of some of the common kinds of personal injury cases:
- Car accidents that include accidents with large trucks, motorcycles, or pedestrians
- Consumer product liability cases, including defective products, medications, and recalled products
- Injuries caused by animals like dog bites
- Injuries from extremely hazardous activities like the use of explosives or chemicals
- Slip and fall injuries and other premises liability cases
- Injuries to reputation caused by defamation or injuries to mental and emotional health caused by intentional infliction of emotional distress or caused by a physical injury
A majority of the personal injury cases involve negligence. Negligence takes place when the defendant fails to meet his or her legal duty of care that causes harm to the plaintiff in any way. In order to win a personal injury case involving negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty of care toward the plaintiff; the defendant breached that duty, or failed to live up to it; the defendant breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries; and the plaintiff has suffered damages as a result.
In general, a defendant is required to use the same amount of care that a reasonable person would use in the exact situation. When it comes to medical malpractice cases or any other cases involving professionals, the defendant is held to the same duty of care as a reasonable member of his or her profession. The statutory negligence takes place when a defendant fails to meet the standard of care demanded by state or national law.
In certain cases, strict liability is applicable instead of negligence. In case of strict liability, a defendant who harms a plaintiff is responsible. It does not matter how careful the defendant was. Strict liability is restricted to certain types of cases like consumer product liability claims or cases involving extremely hazardous activities like using explosives or keeping wild animals.
When the defendant is proved of his negligence, the jury is expected to calculate the amount of money that would compensate the plaintiff. This compensation includes both things with specific dollar amounts, like medical bills and lost wages, and things that are harder to pin down, like pain and suffering. There are rules like comparative negligence and contributory negligence under which the plaintiff might suffer a reduction in his claimed damages if he was partially responsible for his own injury in any way. However, a large fraction of the personal injury cases do not go to trial. They are usually resolved in mediation or arbitration.