A claim of personal injury can be brought when an injury is the result of the negligence of another. Motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall, medical and dental malpractice, injuries resulting from defective products and medications, physical assault, and dog bites, are all examples of personal injury cases.
When someone suffers physical or emotional injury or their personal property is damaged, it is considered in law to be a “personal injury.” The laws covering personal injury allow the injured person to receive compensation for damages caused by someone else’s carelessness, negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions.
Injury actions have three parts: there must be a legal duty between the defendant (the one doing the wrong) and the plaintiff (the person injured); there must be a breach of that duty; and damage must occur because of that breach. When all three elements take place, a personal injury claim can be brought.
The laws of our society require all citizens not to harm others. This means that not only should people be safe from harm, but their possessions should be as well. When someone harms you or damages something that belongs to you, they may be liable under the laws governing the situation.
Liability can be caused by intentional acts or by negligence. An intentional act is one intended to cause harm or injury: the person committing the act is trying to harm you. A negligent act occurs when someone fails to take appropriate action and you are harmed as a result of that failure. For instance, if an angry person throws a brick at you, that is an intentional tort (it may also be a criminal act). On the other hand, if a careless driver runs into your car, that is a negligent act.
Another form of personal injury law covers “strict liability.” Strict liability means that there is responsibility whether or not negligence was involved. This usually applies to situations that are abnormally or inherently dangerous. This concept is also found in the area of product liability. Manufacturers are charged with the responsibility of assuring that their product is safe when used as directed. If someone is injured by a product, under the terms of strict liability, they do not have to prove intent or negligence; they only need to show that harm was done and the product was defective through no fault of their own.
Once a personal injury has occurred, the defendant has a liability to pay for your injury or property. “Damages” is the term for whatever is owed to you to compensate you for your loss. Personal injury law is the mechanism for determining who is in the wrong, or in other words, who is “liable,” and what the liable person should have to pay for the damage caused.
Personal injury cases can be very complex, involving questions of liability and calculation of damages. We can help. Please call us now (239) 850-9200.