Personal injury law seeks to compensate an injured party for the physical, emotional, or mental harm they have incurred as a result of someone else’s actions or failure to act. Personal injuries can arise in numerous ways and according to the National Safety Council (NSC), 55.4 million people sought medical attention for an injury in the U.S. in 2020. Below are some common types of personal injury cases:
- Car Accidents
- Construction Accidents
- Slips and Falls
- Medical Malpractice
- Product Liability
- Dog Bites
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You can visit this website to request a free consultation where you can discuss the merits of your claim with a professional. This article will provide an overview of the basics of personal injury law.
The Importance of Negligence
In almost all personal injury cases, the doctrine of negligence is the basis for establishing liability on the part of the defendant. Without this central element, the injured party will not be able to receive compensation for their injuries. A person behaves negligently when they fail to act with the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised under the same circumstances. This essentially requires individuals to act responsibly and without putting the safety of others at risk.
How to Prove Negligence
Negligence is proved by the injured party, or plaintiff when the following three elements are present:
1. Duty of Care: The defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care. The existence of such a relationship means the defendant had a legal duty to maintain the safety and well-being of the plaintiff.
2. Breach of Duty: The defendant must have breached their duty of care by acting in a way that a reasonable person would not have under the circumstances.
3. Causation: The injuries sustained by the plaintiff must have been a direct result of the defendant’s breach of duty.
4. Damages: There is no valid personal injury claim unless the plaintiff has suffered actual damages. Common types of damages include lost income, medical costs, pain and suffering, and disability.
If a plaintiff is successful in establishing the above four elements they will have a strong case for receiving compensation for their injuries.
In the following cases involving personal injury, there is no need for the plaintiff to establish negligence as the defendant may be held liable without this.
- Strict Liability: Under this legal theory a defendant is held responsible for the injuries caused, regardless of negligence. Strict liability often applies in the case of defective products where manufacturers are held liable for any injuries arising from products without the injured party having to prove negligence.
- Intentional Wrongs: As well as being criminally liable for an intentional wrong such as assault or battery, a person may also face civil liability under a personal injury claim. In such a case, the plaintiff may succeed in being compensated for their injuries without the need to prove negligence.