Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when one person gets injured because of some action or lack of action by another person. When get hurt and the fault lies, at least in part, with another person, you are entitled to recover money from them to cover your costs and expenses. Most of the time an injury occurs by accident, but intentional acts such as a bar fight are considered personal injury as well. When you get hurt and the other person was not trying to injure you, the lawsuit is usually based on negligence. This is known as a civil lawsuit (as opposed to criminal).
What is negligence? Negligence has many different definitions, but they all mean basically the same thing. It is the principle that all of us have a duty to act reasonably, and with a level of care that a person of ordinary caution would exercise under the same or similar situation. Four basic factors need to established in proving your negligence claim against another person. They are, duty, breach, causation and damages.
- Duty – First, to prove negligence, you have to show that the other person had a duty of care towards you. A duty of care means an obligation to act with a certain degree of reasonable caution.
- Breach – After proving that the other party was required to act with reasonable care, you and your lawyer then need to prove that they failed to meet that duty. A common example of this is the duty to drive a car with reasonable care. (alert, no distracted driving or texting while driving, etc.)
- Causation – The next prong of negligence is proving that your injury was the result of the action (or lack of action), by the other party. There are several definitions of causation. The one we use for negligence cases is known as proximate cause, or proximate causation. Proximate cause may not be the first event that set in motion a series of events that led to your injury, and it may not be the very last event before the injury occurs. It is an action that produced foreseeable events without intervention and that resulted in your injury.
- Damages – The last element of a negligence claim is damages. People breach their duty of care all the time. However, if you don’t actually incur any costs, expenses or injury from their action, then there is nothing to recover in your lawsuit. Common types of damages we see are physical injuries, damaged property, lost wages, and in some cases punitive damages. Unlike damages designed to pay for your injury, e.g. doctor’s bills or hospital bills (compensatory damages), punitive damages are designed to punish the party at fault. These are only typically recoverable for intentional, reckless or egregious actions.
In short, personal injury cases occur when you get injured or suffer some loss and it’s someone else’s fault. Are you unsure if you have a case? Were you or a loved one injured? We can help. Come in for a free consultation and we will review your case. Instead of being pushed off on some secretary or paralegal, you will sit down with a personal injury attorney who will listen to your concerns, answer your questions and be ready to go to battle on your behalf.
Common Personal Injury Cases
- Motorcycle Accident
- Boat Accident
- Car Accident
- Slip and Fall
- Dog Bites
- Assault and Battery
- Wrongful Death
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Construction Accident
- Intersection and rear-end collisions
- Highway and freeway accidents
- Accidents resulting from a failure to obey traffic signs or signals
- Multiple-vehicle accidents or “pileups”
- Truck accidents
- Victims of drunk drivers
- Individuals hurt by distracted drivers, including drivers who were talking on their cell phone or texting while driving
- Those injured by drowsy drivers
- Victims of aggressive drivers, including drivers who did not obey the speed limit
- Injured passengers
- Hit-and-run accidents or hit-and-skip accidents
- Dangerous roadways as a contributing factor
- Victims of careless drivers or distracted drivers
- Fatal accidents