If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident which resulted in an injury due to someone else’s carelessness, you may be looking for personal injury examples to better understand this field of the law. What is personal injury law, and what are the important elements of a case? Do you have a case, and are you eligible to receive compensation for your losses?
If you have been injured due to the negligence of a company or individual, you may have lost work time and wages as you grappled with hospital or physical therapy bills, medication costs, emotional distress or a general loss of your previous quality of life. If this describes your situation or that of someone you care about, read on to learn about personal injury lawsuits, personal injury examples and common types of cases.
Personal Injury Law Definition
Personal injury lawsuits are often, though not always, built on the premise of negligence. Essentially, all members of a society are expected to conduct themselves in a reasonable and responsible manner. This means that whether they are driving to work, walking their dog, shopping for groceries or drinking in a bar, they are expected to avoid putting anyone else around them at risk.
Businesses are held to a similar expectation of responsible management regarding both customers and employees. This is especially true when their employees use tools that are potentially dangerous, such as hazardous materials, heavy machinery or tall scaffolding, or when the company manufactures defective or unsafe products that harm the customers who use them.
Negligence enters the picture when an individual or a business puts others at risk to the extent that they commit a wrongful act—an act of carelessness that results in someone being injured or killed. If someone causes a car accident while driving under the influence, for example, or allows their aggressive dog out of the yard, and someone else is injured as a result, this is considered a wrongful act. The person who committed the act of negligence should be held liable, or responsible, for the role he or she played in causing the other person’s injury.
Though negligence is key to many personal injury lawsuits, a good legal definition must go beyond negligence to include situations in which someone was harmed not due to carelessness but intentionally, such as by assault, fraud, slander or false imprisonment. These are called intentional torts. “Tort” is a term deriving from the Latin word for “wrong” or “injustice,” which points to the core of this realm of the legal field: Personal injury law, also known as tort law, seeks justice for people who have been injured due to a wrongful or negligent act.
Personal injury lawyers seek to pursue justice on behalf of the injured individual and sometimes on behalf of their family, as well. Justice in this context almost always means financial compensation, which is also called damages, for the injured person. Damages are paid either by the individual or business that is legally responsible for the injury, or by their respective insurance company.
In a personal injury case, a plaintiff—the person who has been injured—sues the person or company legally responsible for the injury; this second party is known as the defendant in the case. Personal injury lawsuits seek to prove that the defendant committed a wrongful act or an act of negligence that led to the plaintiff’s injury, and therefore liability lies with the defendant. Attorneys for injured plaintiffs might pursue damages from the defendant to cover medical bills incurred after the injury, property damage resulting from the incident (such as in a car accident), emotional distress, lost wages due to missed work or lost quality of life.
Personal injury law also covers wrongful death scenarios—situations in which a wrongful act has not just injured someone, but actually caused their death. In wrongful death cases, the plaintiff in the case might be a spouse or family member of the person who died. They might seek damages to compensate for their loved one’s loss of life and livelihood as well as to cover funeral expenses, emotional distress or the loss of earning capacity—that is, the future income that would have been earned had the individual lived.
Many personal injury lawsuits are settled outside of court. In those instances when they do go to trial, these cases are tried in civil courts.
Most Common Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury law covers any case in which someone has been injured or killed due to the negligence or carelessness of another. Some types of personal injury cases are more common than others. Below are six common types of personal injury claims.
Car And Truck Accidents
In these cases, a driver, passenger, motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian has been hurt or killed in a collision with a car, truck or another vehicle.
Vehicle Equipment Failures
In these accidents, defective equipment on or in a vehicle, such as tires, seatbelts or airbags malfunctions, causing someone’s injury or death.
This type of personal injury involves someone being harmed, injured or killed due to negligence on the part of a healthcare professional, such as failure to diagnose a serious condition, improper treatment or use of an unsafe medical procedure.
Product Liability Cases
These cases seek compensation in situations when a defective or recalled product or medication causes someone’s illness, injury or death.
When an accident occurs on the job, often due to unsafe working conditions, insufficiently trained employees or improperly maintained equipment and results in the injury or death of an employee, the person injured or a surviving family member can pursue a personal injury claim. As you might imagine, more claims are filed in more perilous lines of work, such as injuries sustained due to oil rig dangers or other work-related hazards.
List of Personal Injury Types
There are a variety of types of personal injuries that are possible due to negligence or wrongful acts. Some examples of personal injury types include slip-and-falls due to slipping on ice or tripping over debris, whether at work or on private property; broken bones, internal injuries or a traumatic brain injury resulting from a car accident; the loss of a finger or limb in an accident at work due to defective machinery, which is just one example of a common construction site injury; a severe bite from a vicious, off-leash dog or a chemical burn due to handling hazardous materials on the job.
These are just a handful of types of personal injuries that would merit compensation for the victim; a full and exhaustive list of personal injury types might be thousands of items long. Details aside, the attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger have a proven track record of experience with a wide variety of personal injury cases. Some examples of personal injury cases we have successfully settled or won at trial over the years involved:
- A family of three who suffered serious injuries when an 18-wheeler ran a red light and collided with the family vehicle.
- A woman who was killed in a relatively minor car accident because her seat belt malfunctioned, causing massive internal injuries.
- A three-person film crew on board a charter helicopter that collided into a building, leading to serious passenger injuries.
- The death of blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan in a 1990 helicopter crash, when the pilot departed in foggy weather conditions and failed to maintain proper altitude over hilly terrain.
What Is Personal Injury Insurance?
Personal injury insurance—also called personal injury protection or PIP insurance—is a car insurance extension that helps to defray the cost of lost wages and medical bills incurred from injury in a car accident. PIP insurance coverage kicks in regardless of who might have been at fault, which is why it is often called “no-fault” insurance coverage. Drivers injured in an accident who carry PIP insurance will receive maximum compensation from their insurance company, whether they or someone else caused the collision. PIP insurance is mandatory in some states but optional in others, including the state of Texas.
Slack Davis Sanger: Top Texas Personal Injury Law Firm
Since accidents and injuries are almost always sudden, unexpected events, the person who was injured is often uncertain about what to do next. The idea of going up against a powerful business or insurance company can seem intimidating, even downright scary—but a capable, experienced attorney knows exactly how to proceed. If you have suffered an injury due to someone’s negligence or wrongful act, the first thing you should do is to contact Slack Davis Sanger.
The type of case you have may also necessitate a higher level of quality and knowledge in your legal representation. Proving negligence and liability in a personal injury case is tricky enough; things become more difficult still when it comes to proving intent in situations involving intentional torts. If your case involves establishing intent on the part of the individual or company that caused your injury, you will need a highly experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you.
Furthermore, in any potential personal injury case, time is of the essence. If you wait too long before pursuing either medical attention for your injury or financial compensation to cover your losses, you risk a significant reduction in the damages you’re entitled to. There are also statutes of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits. In the state of Texas, the deadline is two years—meaning, you have two years after the date of your accident or injury to file your case. If you delay past that time limit, you will miss out on your legal right to seek justice.
For all of these reasons, it is essential that you hire a capable attorney who is thoroughly versed in all the complexities of applicable laws, and who will be both compassionate and aggressive in going to bat for you. The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger have combined decades and hundreds of cases’ worth of experience in tort law, as well as a proven track record with cases both tried in court and settled out of court. We care about our clients’ well-being, and we are committed to securing the highest level of compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us for a free consultation.