Almost any case a personal injury lawyer handles falls under tort law. In tort cases, the main goal is for an injured person to be compensated financially or “made whole” for all losses stemming from an accident or other incident caused by another person’s carelessness or intentional conduct. In a personal injury lawsuit, the financial compensation is also called “damages.” Personal injury cases are handled by personal injury lawyers in civil court.
In a personal injury claim, the types of damages that are available can vary depending on the type of case, the circumstances of the victim’s injury and state laws. In general, compensation may cover lost wages, present and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, rehabilitation, wrongful death, punitive damages, and more. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help estimate what a case is worth.
Personal injury cases typically involve a private individual filing a civil “complaint” against another person, business, corporation or government agency, alleging that they acted negligently or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm.
Personal injury covers a wide variety of different situations:
Accidents. Personal injury rules apply in situations where someone acts in a negligent manner, and that carelessness causes harm to another person. Examples include car accidents, workplace accidents, slip and fall accidents, elevator accidents, construction accidents, and medical malpractice, among other types of cases. Personal injury lawyers may also handle workers’ compensation claims.
Intentional Acts. In these situations one person’s intentional conduct causes harm to another person. Examples of intentional acts include assault and battery, sexual assault, and road rage.
Defective Products. Defective product lawsuits involve products that were manufactured or marketed in a defective or dangerous way with the result being personal injury, or death. A strict liability action can be brought against the parties that designed, manufactured, sold or furnished the product, according to the American Bar Association.
Most personal injury cases are resolved through a negotiated settlement. This usually involves those with a personal stake in the dispute, their insurers, and the lawyers representing both sides. Personal injury lawyers work to make sure their clients get fair and reasonable compensation. When a case cannot be resolved through settlement, it goes to trial and a jury determines the amount of damages.