Personal injury law is a general term for an area of law that deals with injuries to the mind, body or emotions, rather than physical property. In Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions the word is most often used to describe a sort of tort suit in which the individual bringing the complaint has actually been injured physically. This type of case is known as a civil suit, and in many cases is the basis for bringing a case to court. Civil suits are much less common than criminal lawsuits, although the few personal injury cases filed are often resolved without the need to go to trial. Many personal injury cases that result in victory to end with some form of payment or reimbursement being made to the plaintiff by the defendant.
One type of personal injury law that does occasionally reach the courtroom is that of malpractice liability. Malpractice products liability is a claim that arises when a consumer purchases an item and later experiences injury due to the product. The plaintiff may be seeking damages for pain and suffering, lost wages and other financial losses, but also including any punitive damages that may be assessed against the defendant. Personal injury claims of this nature are very common in the health care sector, with doctors being held responsible for negligence that results in injury to patients through procedures such as surgeries.
Another branch of personal injury law is that of automobile accidents. Accidents can occur at any point along the way, even while driving a car, so it is not uncommon for the driver of a vehicle to suffer some type of injury as a result of another driver’s negligence. Oftentimes, the person at fault will settle out of court with the other driver, but there are also instances where a lengthy legal battle turns violent. Personal injury law is particularly adept at dealing with automobile accidents, since they involve the use of a motor vehicle. When a pedestrian is injured in an automobile accident, personal injury law is the place to seek retribution for the damage.
In many instances, people sue others for injuries or pain and suffering that have resulted from another person’s negligence. Common personal injury cases that result in a civil lawsuit include those that stem from automobile accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, dog bites and accidents in the home. In the realm of criminal law, personal injury lawsuits are also common. Criminal cases involving crimes of the physical kind are known as felony personal injury cases, whereas felonies are considered federal offenses carrying sentences of more than a year in prison. Civil cases that result from injuries sustained from other persons are known as misdemeanors.
When a person sustains an injury as a result of another person’s negligent conduct, they may seek either a personal injury settlement or a serious personal injury claim. A personal injury settlement is a monetary award paid to the victim to compensate for medical bills, rehabilitation and property damage. On the other hand, a serious personal injury claim is a court case in which a claimant seeks damages on account of the fact that another person was negligent and caused that person to sustain an injury. Damages claimed in this type of case are awarded on the basis of the severity of the injury caused and the financial loss suffered by the claimant as a result of the negligent act.
It should be noted that neither of these awards comprises everything the claimant is entitled to receive. Most states limit the amount of compensation that can be awarded for each claim. Also, a verdict of “not guilty” does not mean that the person who caused the injury can escape liability of any wrongdoing. The person who is found guilty usually has to pay punitive damages, the costs of medical care and property repair.