Personal injury is an area of the law that involves injury to the body, emotions and mind, rather than injury to property, but cases can include injury to property. When a personal injury lawsuit is alleges the plaintiff sustained injuries that were caused by negligence by another individual or party, it refers to a type of tort lawsuit. Defamation torts can also be a part of personal injury law and lawsuits.
Types of Personal Injury
The types of personal injury claims that are most common are roadway traffic accidents (read more), tripping accidents, assault claims, and defective product accidents, which are product liability claims. Workplace accidents, injuries in the home, holiday accidents and medical errors. Personal injury law covers both medical and dental accidents, and lead to medical negligence claims, with many occurring every year. Cases are filed that are classified industrial disease claims, including peritoneal mesothelioma, asbestosis, chest diseases such as emphysema, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and pneumoconiosis these are some of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic obstructive airway diseases. Occupational stress, occupational deafness, vibration white finger, contact dermatitis, as well as repetitive strain injury cases are types of personal injury claims.
When the negligence of another party is able to be proven, the injured individual is permitted to monetary compensation from the party whose actions resulted in the injury. This falls under tort law in the United States. Due to the complexities in this area of law, critics have called for various forms of tort reform. Having legal representation is generally essential, because these types of cases can be extremely complicated like a medical malpractice case, which can have more than one negligent party. Lawyers often use a contingency basis for payment, which is an agreed upon percentage of the plaintiffs compensation, which is payable when there is a successful outcome in the case, either through a negotiated settlement or a court verdict.
In most countries there are time limitations, in the United States, this is known as statute of limitations (defined here.) In both England and Wales, the time limitations rules stipulate, when an individual is bringing a claim for compensation, the court proceedings must be within 3 years from the date of the injury. If the court proceedings are not within this time limit, the claimant will lose the right to file the claim against the negligent party. There is one exception, if the injured party was under the age of 18 years at the time of the injury. Then they will have until the day before their 21st birthday to begin proceedings. Other exceptions to the three year rule may be up to the courts discretion to extend or waive the time limitation, if it is considered equitable, and the other exception is when the accident causing the injury is not immediately known, such as industrial deafness, which may not be immediately known by the injured party. The three year period of time will then start from the date that the individual knew or should have known that they had a claim.
The statute of limitations in the United States, works differently, since each state’s laws will determine the amount of time, in which a plaintiff has to file their injury claim. Oregon state laws for bringing a lawsuit, as an example in car accident injury, the claim must be filed within two years from the date of the injury. The time limit, like each state having their own set of statute of limitations, the time will also differ, depending on the type of personal injury claim that is being filed. Each of the different types of injuries will be from the date of the injury, with injuries like rape having a much longer time limit to file a case, but if it is a claim against a state or government agency the time limit could be as little as six months.
In England Legal Aid for personal injury cases were mostly eliminated in the latter part of the 1990’s and then were replaced with a different type of representation, whereby the client would not be charged a fee, until the client’s case was won. In the event that the case is unsuccessful in recovering compensation, then the client would be charged no fee, this is known as “no win, no fee.”
The no win, no fee is known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is an agreement between the client and the law firm that takes personal injury cases, with the understanding if they are unsuccessful, the client will not be responsible for paying the lawyers costs.
When the attorney does win the case, then they will be entitled to the agreed upon standard fee, plus an uplift, which is also known as a success fee. According to English law, this success fee, must not be larger than 100 percent of the lawyers standard fee.
Pain and Suffering—Loss of Amenity
Compensation that is recovered in a personal injury case will depend upon the severity of the injury. When the injuries are severe, such as brain damage, severed limbs or broken bones, which cause serious physical pain and suffering, generally will obtain the maximum injury settlements.
Besides obtaining compensation for injuries, the injured individual may also be compensated for affect the injuries have had on their life. One example is a cricket player, who suffers a wrist injury. This injury is severe enough that it will keep him from playing for the season. In a claim of this type, there may be compensation awarded that is above the award for the actual injury; instead it is for the loss of playing. This is referred to as a loss of amenity, which is an award that is a part of the claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
The person suffering injuries that results in an inability to work, which was enjoyed prior to the injury can be compensated. This is known as loss of congenial employment, which the injured party is compensated for in their case, above the compensation for the actual injury.
Personal Injury Cases Structured Settlements
In many cases the injury victim is in favor of a structured settlement, which will protect their interests financially after an injury settlement is reached. The structured settlement provides tax benefits for the injury victim and at the same time, it will ensure proper financial planning for the individual future needs of the injury victim.
Ehline is a non commercial publisher, reproducing theses civil jury instructions for the purpose of educating the public. These civil jury instructions are available online for free at the Judicial Council of California Public Website:
Basically, a personal injury is not actionable against a wrongdoer, unless the injury causing wrongdoer is negligent. Ehline wants you to read the jury instructions on negligence, so you can understand and become educated in whether or not you have a personal injury case.