Personal injury law covers any and all situations in which someone’s body, mind, or emotions are injured due to the negligence of another. Personal injury law also includes wrongful death and other serious situations in which injury proves fatal.
A personal injury case will generally begin when the injured person (the plaintiff) sues the person or business (the defendant) who caused their injuries. A personal injury suit claims that the defendant caused the injuries that the plaintiff is suffering from. This means that the plaintiff is seeking compensation in the form of a monetary payment.
Although personal injury law covers a multitude of cases where people are injured, some personal injury cases are more common than others. The most common cases that we see as a personal injury attorney are as follows:
- Car accidents that include large trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, bicycles, etc.
- Dog bite cases
- Slip and fall injuries and other premises liability cases
Personal injury law focuses on injuries that are caused to individual people. Although property damage may be involved such as when a car accident damages the car as well as the person in the car; the personal injury lawyer will address the person/people injured and then address the damages to the property after.
Most, if not all, personal injury cases involve negligence of some kind. Negligence occurs when a defendant fails to meet his or her legal duty of care and the plaintiff is injured. In order to prove negligence, a personal injury attorney will need to prove the following:
- The defendant(s) had a duty of care toward the plaintiff;
- That duty of care was breached, or there was a failure to live up to it;
- The breach or failure caused the plaintiff’s injuries;
- The plaintiff suffered from injuries as a result of the duty of care breach.
Once a personal injury attorney proves that the defendant had been negligent, they will go into mediation and negotiations with the insurance companies as well as with the defendant’s lawyers. This is where they will discuss the amount of money that the plaintiff will be compensated for their injuries. In most cases, compensation includes things such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Most personal injury cases do not make it to trial, but those that do are heard by a jury or by a stand-alone judge. The jury and/or the judge will then listen to each side of the case and will decide how much each party is liable. This is when damages are calculated and the case is settled.