The Basics of Personal Injury Law You Need To Know

Personal Injury

Personal injury is the legal definition of an injury to the body, rather than an injury to some other party’s property. Personal injury can also contain emotional and mental injury. The term is usually used in conjunction with a lawsuit accusing that the plaintiff’s harm has been caused as a result of another person’s negligence.

Personal injury law differs by state, but always concerns the area of the law that allows a victim of a personal injury to recover the cost of losses due to that injury. These injuries can be property or medical harms. If you are in an automobile accident and you are injured, you can sue for medical costs related to the harm as well as the damages to your property, and this can even include mental stress.

What’s a “Personal Injury” Case?

A personal injury case is a legal dispute that occurs when a person suffers harm from an accident or injury that another person may be legally responsible for. It can become formalized through civil court proceedings that seek to find others lawfully at fault through a court judgment. When individual files a civil complaint against someone else, business, corporation, or government agency, maintaining that they acted carelessly in connection with the accident or injury formal suits are started. However, it’s common that such disputes are resolved through an informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed. These informal settlements occur among those personally involved in the dispute, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides. It is a dialogue that is followed by a written agreement in which both sides agree to resolve the matter through an agreed upon amount of money.

When you have had an accident that has affected your life, you may want to consult with an experienced attorney to see in the event you should pursue a lawsuit or reach a settlement. It’s advised to do so as soon as you can after the accident/injury as a result of statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations are like deadlines in which you have to pursue legal action or else you can no longer do so. They are established by state law and often vary by type of harm. For instance, in Texas, it is two years for an injury, but five years for sex crimes and one year for libel or slander.

“Personal injury” cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. Before any suit is filed, a personal injury case can become formalized through civil court proceedings that seek to find others legally at fault by means of a court ruling or, as is far more common, such disputes may be resolved through informal settlement:

  • Formal “Suit” Unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government, a proper personal injury case commonly starts when a private person (the “plaintiff”) files a civil “complaint” against another person, company, corporation, or government agency (the “defendant”), alleging that they acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm. This action is known as “filing a suit”. Our discussion on neglect and proof is especially helpful.
  • Informal Settlement, In reality, most disputes over fault for an accident or injury are resolved through informal early resolution, generally among those involved in the dispute, their insurance companies, and lawyers representing both sides. A settlement normally takes the form of discussion, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any further actions (for example a litigation), choosing instead to resolve the issue through payment of an agreeable amount of cash.

Who Makes Personal Injury Laws?

Many personal injury laws date back to old “common law rules.” Common law refers to a law made by judges, as opposed to laws made by legislatures or passed in bills and statutes.

When a judge hears and decides a case, his decision on that issue of law becomes a binding precedent on all other courts in the state that are “lower” than the deciding judge’s court. These other courts then have to apply what the first judge said, and eventually, all of this binding precedent creates a body of “common law.”

Common law can and does differ from state to state, so the rules for personal injury law might not be uniform across the country. Much of the common law was amassed into something called the Restatement of Torts, which is sort of a guidebook that explains what the rules are, and a lot of states draw guidance from this on personal injury matters.

Medical malpractice is contained in personal injury law. You could have a claim if you’re able to prove the normal, approved medical procedures were not followed. Workers’ compensation is also an aspect of personal injury law but is usually governed by different regulations. Some work injuries dealing with negligent safety procedures may fall outside the workers’ compensation system, and these might be determined by reviewing your case with a qualified lawyer.

Personal injury attorneys can be found in practically every city in the United States. They may have a specific specialty or have varied specialties. It’s consistently a good idea to hire an attorney familiar with your form of a case; doing so will allow you to profit from their experience.