What does Personal Injury mean?
Personal injuries are civil legal claims which deal specifically with harm perpetuated against an individual or their property. Personal injuries are considered part of the broad category of tort laws, as opposed to contract law, criminal law, or property law.
Personal injury lawsuits or claims allow victims or plaintiffs to receive compensation for their losses, including injuries and monetary losses. It’s important to understand, however, that because personal injury claims are civil rather than criminal. Monetary compensation, rather than criminal penalties such as jail or probation will be offered if a claimant wins their injury case.
When can I file a personal injury claim?
Not all injuries are considered personal injuries or allow for someone else to be held liable for damages or injury. For example, if you slip down on the sidewalk outside of your house it may simply be an accident, and there may not be someone else who is negligent for your injury.
So who can file a personal injury claim? Winning a personal injury claim will require the plaintiff to prove several elements of their case:
- Someone owed them a duty of care.
- The duty of care was breached.
- The breach was the proximate cause of injury.
- The plaintiff did, indeed, suffer injury or loss.
Claimants who do not have sufficient evidence to every element of their personal injury claim will not win their personal injury case. If the personal injury claim is proven through a preponderance of evidence, however, the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical expense reimbursement, and lost wage compensation.
Should I file a personal injury lawsuit?
Most personal injury claims are settled directly with an insurance company. For example, in an at-fault state if someone hits you with their car you would generally file your claim directly with the insurance company, especially if the damage is minimal, the insurance company is willing to offer a reasonable settlement, and there are no severe injuries.
If, however, you have suffered a severe injury in a car accident and you will be left with permanent injuries and are not able to return to work, you may not get all the compensation you need from the insurance company. In this case, you might have the legal right to seek additional compensation from the offending party through a personal injury lawsuit.