The term personal injury is one of the most comprehensive legal terms in American jurisdiction and it encompasses injuries to the body, mind or emotions.
Most of personal injuries occur due to negligence, namely a person or an entity not acting responsibly and putting others at risk. Negligence doesn’t always result in personal injury but when it does liability has to be established.
The term personal injury incorporates but is not necessarily limited to the following types of injury:
Medical injuries / medical malpractice – These are the injuries caused by negligent medical professionals and medical facilities whether in the course of diagnosis or treatment. Medical malpractice ranges from child birth injuries, administration of incorrect drug dosages, nursing home abuse and neglect, surgical and post-surgical errors, and malfunctioning medical equipment to failure to properly interpret patient’s medical history, avoidable amputations, removing healthy organs, confusing sperm samples at fertility clinics, complications from receiving wrong blood type and many other negligent medical actions that have caused injuries or emotional distress or even death.
Vehicle / pedestrian injuries – These include many different kinds of injuries involving various modes of public and mass transportation, automobile accidents and vehicular accidents in general. Vehicular injuries can happen even if you are not a driver or a passenger in a vehicle. You might be standing in an intersection and a cab hits you through no fault of your own or your car is hit by a bus, again through no fault of your own, because the bus was faulty and no proper maintenance was carried by the bus company. Or you might be involved and hurt in a car accident where the other side is an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Slip and fall injuries – Thousands of people are injured every year when they slip and fall on a wet floor, broken stairs, uneven surfaces, through drainage grates, at gyms, theme parks and resorts. Property owners could be held responsible for slip and fall injuries if they occur on their property and providing that they haven’t carried out proper maintenance of the property or failed to comply with the required safety standards. Oftentimes, slip and fall injuries could be simply the result of the injured person’s carelessness. This category also includes work-related slip, fall and collision injuries that are due to the employers’ failure to provide proper workplace maintenance and failure to comply with the relevant health & safety laws.
Environmental Health & Safety – Any injury that is a result of a person or an entity breaching environmental liability comes under this category. Typically, the personal injury cases include health damage caused by fracking (the process used by oil and gas companies whereby underground gases are released through drilling which can cause water or air pollution), unreasonable use of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides on produce, health problems caused by outdoor air pollution or indoor air quality, or water contamination. Consumer product safety – This is also quite a comprehensive category that usually involves injuries sustained from a product that you purchased believing it would work properly (as claimed by the manufacturer) but it malfunctioned and you were hurt in the process. Other injuries that are related to consumer product safety include injuries from hazardous tools, equipment and toxic substances (like asbestos), food poisoning and similar.
PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS / DAMAGES
If you or your loved one have been injured or have died as a result of a personal injury that was caused by someone’s negligent behavior and you think that they might be solely responsible for the harm, you might have a valid personal injury case.
The two main ways of settling a personal injury case (as your personal injury lawyer will inform you) are through:
Formal lawsuit which typically starts when an individual (“The Plaintiff”) files a civil complaint against another person, company or government body (“The Defendant”).
Informal settlement – Many personal injury claims are resolved through an informal settlement which is a form of a negotiation between the Plaintiff and his or hers lawyer, on one side, and the Defendant, on the other. If an informal settlement is reached, the two sides agree to forego filing of a formal lawsuit and choose to resolve the matter through an agreeable financial compensation.
Whether the case is settled through a formal lawsuit or an informal settlement, the financial compensation (the damages) can involve the Plaintiff’s medical bills and prescription drug costs, wages and salary which the Plaintiff lost because of time missed from work as a result of personal injury, the Plaintiff’s pain and suffering caused by the personal injury, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment (personal injury keeping the Plaintiff from enjoying everyday pursuits, hobbies and recreational activities) and loss of consortium which refers to the impact that the injury had on the Plaintiff’s marriage or partnership or inability to maintain a sexual relationship.
In the case of vehicular injuries which occur in the state of New York, you can receive financial compensation even if you were partially to blame for the accident thanks to so-called Pure Comparative Negligence State. If you are 20% at fault for a car accident, you may still be entitled to receive 80% of the compensation.