Personal Injury Law
Personal injury law is the body of law that governs claims regarding injury to one’s person. The word personal is also used to describe the area of negligence that may be claimed in a tort claim. Personal injury is also a legal term to describe an injury to one’s mind, body or emotions, rather than an actual physical injury to property. In Anglo-American law, the term is usually used to describe a form of tort claim where the plaintiff has actually suffered actual injury to either his body or emotions.
In some instances, personal injury law is interpreted to exclude wrongful acts from being held responsible if the victim was engaging in a constructive act at the time the act occurred. For example, an intoxicated driver who hits another car and is under the influence of alcohol cannot be held liable for the damages if the victim was merely sleeping on the side of the road and was not driving under the influence of alcohol. Likewise, if the plaintiff has been injured in a wrongful death case because of the conduct of another individual, the wrongful death claim will usually not succeed even if the defendant did not know about the conduct at the time it occurred.
When speaking of personal injury law, one major branch of the law is known as tort law. Tort law governs civil wrongs that occur to individuals, corporations and other associations. There are two broad types of tort law, both of which are recognized by the courts of common law: negligence and breach of contract. Although torts are sometimes considered more complicated than the other branches of the law, they can provide much needed guidance when trying to determine who is liable for damages.
Negligence refers to inability on the part of a party to act in a reasonably competent manner. For example, many personal injury lawsuits result from the driver of a truck hitting a pedestrian while crossing a street. The pedestrian might have been crossing against the traffic or on a shoulder. In this instance, the negligent vehicle owner (the truck driver) would probably be found liable for negligence. While there are many personal injury lawsuits based on negligence, the more common situation involves breach of contract. A breach of contract occurs when a party agrees to perform an act and later fails to do so, creating a duty or agreement that they have created.
Other common personal injury law cases include injuries caused by defective products, defective service and vehicle collisions. Faulty automobiles are often the causes of injuries sustained by consumers. Not only can defective automobiles cause permanent physical damage, but they can cause severe emotional pain as well. Many personal injury cases that result in a settlement do so as a result of a person being able to receive monetary compensation for pain and suffering as a result of being injured in an automobile accident. If you have suffered an automobile accident and are unable to work, it may be worth speaking with a personal injury attorney who can help you determine if you qualify for settlement.
If you were harmed in another person’s negligence, and you are unable to work or go to school because of the incident, you may qualify for compensatory damages or punitive damages in personal injury law. Punitive damages are the funds sought by someone else in order to make up for the damages that are awarded in a lawsuit. These funds are meant to cover the medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and possibly a loss of your ability to earn a living. If you are the victim in a case such as this, you should consult with a qualified attorney who can determine whether or not you have a strong case against the person who caused the injury to you. This is often easier to do if you have medical bills from the time that you were injured, since many times personal injury law firms offer a no-fault payment plan for medical expenses.