Personal injury is a general term for an assault to the mind, body or emotions, rather than an actual physical injury to material property. In Anglo-American legal systems the word is most often used to describe a kind of tort suit in which the plaintiff has actually suffered personal injury to his or her psyche or body. The word injury in this context is not limited to one particular type of bodily injury but covers any harm that may have been incurred. An assault on the mind can be caused by a car wreck, an accident at work or even a domestic dispute. Some jurisdictions further extend the definition of personal injury to include prescription drug injuries and other abuses of the body that are not readily apparent to the victim. Personal injury claims are usually governed by tort law and can be brought by anyone who has a reasonable claim to have been injured.
A common law claim to be eligible for compensation for personal injury usually involves some kind of negligence on the part of another party. In instances where an injury is caused by a public entity such as a city hall or state office it may be necessary for the plaintiff to file a claim through the common law system. Sometimes common law negligence can extend to actions taken by private parties. This is particularly true with cases such as accidents at amusement parks, skating rinks or swimming facilities.
Negligence is a term that can be applied to many situations and is difficult to prove. Some causes of negligent actions can be determined and shown to be the cause of a particular accident, while other causes of negligent actions can involve questions of fact and evidence. For instance, if you slip and fall on a sidewalk because of faulty pavement, it is easy to show that you were at fault for causing the accident. However, proving that you were at fault for causing an accident where another person was injured requires detailed and often lengthy testimony from witnesses. This testimony often makes it extremely difficult to prove the negligence of others.
Common law personal injury law also allows the injured person to recover damages for mental pain and suffering, medical expenses, property damage, past and future loss of income, and in some cases even punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages intended to punish the other party for causing the accident. The punishment can be financial, bodily or both. It is important to establish that the damages were indeed caused by the conduct of the other party. Often this is very difficult to determine, but courts have held that the injured person has the right to recover damages for past and future losses from the event. If the injured person has suffered past mental or emotional wounds as a result of the accident, courts may allow them to recover damages for past and future loss of income that cannot be properly measured or explained by the insurance company.
Many common types of personal injury claims include car crashes, dog bites, medical malpractice, work injuries, slips and falls, lacerations and burns. When filing a claim for one of these common types of accidents, it is important to preserve all evidence of the accident so that you have something to present to your insurance company when negotiating the settlement. Because insurance is notoriously tricky, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who has experience working with companies on these types of claims will benefit you in the long run. The lawyer will know exactly how to negotiate a fair settlement without taking advantage of the insurance companies bad reputation.
If you are unsure about whether or not you have a case, you should consult a personal injury attorney who can give you a free consultation. The representative will evaluate the claim you have and advise you whether or not it holds up in court. A personal injury claim will need to be filed within a certain amount of time to be valid, but many claims never reach the statute of limitations because they don’t reach the required time limit. If you do file a claim within the required time limit, you may not receive any monetary damages, however you may be able to receive counseling to help you recoup from your injuries. An attorney can help you obtain the most fair settlement possible for your claim.