Personal injury is a commonly used term. What exactly does personal injury mean? Personal injury is a legal term that accounts for injuries that result from an accident of some kind. Injuries can include those that are physical, mental, or emotional. Personal injury does not include damage to property.
An element that needs to be present in a personal injury case is negligence. Negligence means that the accident occurred out of careless or reckless behavior. Negligence is also defined as the failure to act with reasonable care. In other words, the party responsible for the accident failed to act with adequate care and caution. Adequate care is determined by asking the question, “How would a sensible and rational person act under the same circumstances under which the accident occurred?” A successful personal injury case proves that the person or entity responsible for the accident acted with negligence.
Specific elements of negligence must be present for a successful personal injury lawsuit:
- Duty: There must exist a duty of care owed by the party that caused the accident (defendant) to the injured party (plaintiff). Factors that are considered in determining duty include the nature of the relationship between both parties and what duty of care is involved in that relationship. This is most often determined by a judge
- A breach of that duty: If it is determined that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff and failed to use reasonable care in meeting it, breach of duty is present. This element is determined by a jury
- Cause in fact: Basically, this means that the actions of the defendant caused the injuries to the plaintiff. The “but-for” test is used here. It states “but for” the actions by the defendant, the plaintiff would not have received injuries. It is the plaintiffs’ responsibility to prove this,
- Proximate cause: The defendant is only responsible for the actions they can reasonably foresee. If injuries occurred outside of what the defendant could foresee, the plaintiff cannot prove the defendant is responsible
- Damages: The plaintiff must prove that there were damages (legally recognized harm) resulting from the defendant’s negligence, not merely the presence of negligence.
What Damages are Recovered in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In a successful personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff may recover damages that account for medical and legal fees, lost wages and future earnings, as well as emotional suffering.
Examples of Personal Injury
There are numerous causes of personal injury, so it is always best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Some common circumstances that lead to personal injury lawsuits are listed below:
- Accidents: this can include bicycle, truck, car, pedestrian, boat, and construction,
- Injuries sustained from occupational hazards
- Medical malpractice: holds medical professionals responsible for patient harm due to negligence
- Premises liability: places responsibility on the owner and residents of land or premises, were anyone to sustain injury
- Product liability: holds companies, manufacturers, sellers, and distributors of products responsible for safeguarding consumers against defective or dangerous products
- Nursing home liability: makes the nursing home responsible for injuries and deaths resulting from negligence
Take Back Your Power
You have the power to hold those responsible for injuries accountable for their actions. The attorneys at Solomon Law Group based in Columbia, South Carolina are dedicated to representing your best interests. Contact us today for a consultation.