Personal injury is the term used to describe physical and mental injuries that occur because of someone else’s negligence, intentional actions, or strict liability.
- Negligence means the other party failed to act with reasonable care. For example, imagine you are in your car stopped at a red light when another driver rear ends you because he or she isn’t paying attention. If you suffer physical injuries in the crash, those could be personal injury due to negligence. (Any damage to your car is property damage, not personal injury, because the car is an object, not a person.)
- Intentional harm means the other person set out to hurt you. This includes cases of battery, assault, and false imprisonment.
- Strict liability means that anyone involved in the production, distribution, or sale of a defective product can be held responsible if the product injures someone.
Types of Personal Injuries
There are several common types of personal injuries:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Railroad accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Medical and dental accidents
- Sexual abuse
- Dog bites
- Injuries that occur because products malfunction or fail
- Work-related accidents
- Wrongful death
Most personal injuries fall into the category of law known as torts. Torts are a type of civil, not criminal, law. It is a way to hold someone else legally responsible for your injuries.
Most personal injury cases involve negligence. To have a valid case, your personal injury attorney must be able to show that your injury was caused by the negligence of another party. To prove negligence, your injury lawyer must prove four separate things:
- Duty of care: The negligent party had an obligation to act prudently to avoid injuring the other party
- Breach of duty: The negligent party knowingly exposed the injured party to a substantial risk of injury or didn’t even realize (but should have) that there was a substantial risk
- Direct cause: The negligent party’s deliberate acts, or lack of action, caused the injury
- Harm: The injured party suffered a financial loss because of the negligent party’s negligence (a medical bill, for example, would be a monetary loss)
Additionally, damages are designed to compensate someone for their injury.