Over 400,000 personal injury cases are filed every year in the U.S.
You may be entitled to compensation if you've been injured in an accident that wasn't your fault. Dealing with personal injury cases can be tricky and intimidating. Still, with a good lawyer on your side and evidence of the other party's fault, your medical bills, and any lost income, you can be successful.
Before you begin, it's essential to have a sense of what the most common types of personal injury cases are. You never want to overreact to your injury, but you don't want to miss out on compensation that you're entitled to either.
In this post, we're going to help you understand your personal injury situation by telling you 12 of the most common personal injury cases and how to deal with them. Once you've got a better idea of what other people have gone through, you can create a roadmap to file a claim of your own.
The legal system can work in your favor if you know how to navigate it. Keep reading and let us paint a clear picture of how personal injury cases work.
1. Auto Accident Injury
According to the National Safety Council, there are around 5.4 million medically-consulted car accident injuries each year. Not all of these warrant a personal injury lawsuit, but many of them involve an at-fault party.
Auto accident cases can involve automobiles, motorcycles, and pedestrian-related accidents. We'll discuss commercial vehicle accidents later on, as they're a bit more complicated.
Because car accidents often result in more serious injuries, the money involved with these lawsuits can be significant. Regardless of how serious the accident is, it's important for victims to seek medical treatment to get a clear diagnostic picture of the injuries.
You'll file your claim either against the at-fault party or their insurance company. Accident laws vary from state to state, so you'll need to hire a good accident lawyer to represent you and maximize your settlement. In Los Angeles, for instance, the best choice is Alpha Accident Lawyers.
2. Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice happens when your healthcare provider fails to do their duty to give you proper care, resulting in injury. All physicians are required to uphold a duty to do no harm while you're under their care.
Unfortunately, thousands of people are injured each year due to medical negligence, not to mention the countless wrongful deaths. Medical malpractice is a blanket term for a variety of issues that may occur, including:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Mis-prescribed medication
- Surgical mistakes
- Failure to treat in a timely manner
These injuries can be life-changing in nature. For that reason, you need to seek compensation for injuries, not to mention the lost wages, ongoing medical bills, and emotional distress that they cause.
3. Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall injuries may not sound as serious as car accident or medical malpractice injuries, but the consequences can be severe. These are among the most common types of personal injury cases because they can happen to anyone at any time.
These accidents occur when someone else's negligence causes you to slip and injure yourself. Some examples of this negligence might include wet floors, insufficient lighting, icy pathways, or loose mats – basically, anything unforeseen that can cause you to lose your footing.
Slip and fall accidents can be a bit more abstract than other types of injuries, which makes them more difficult to win a personal injury claim. You'll need sufficient proof of the negligence and your injuries, as well as good legal representation to win compensation.
4. Workplace Injuries
About 340 million workplace injuries happen around the world each year. The most serious workplace injuries and fatalities occur when there is large machinery or vehicles involved, but there is a wide range of causes for lesser injuries.
For instance, many workplace injuries result from repetitive motion. This can include back injuries from manual labor or slips and falls, but it can also include things like carpal tunnel syndrome from working in a non-ergonomically sound environment.
If you're injured at work, there's a good chance that you'll be compensated through your employer's workers' compensation insurance. Most businesses across the US are required by law to carry this insurance. If your employer doesn't have it, they may have to pay a fine in addition to your compensation.
There are some instances when you can go beyond the typical workers' comp process. If someone at your workplace intentionally caused your injuries or if there has been serious negligence, you can speak with your lawyer to determine whether you can sue your employer.
5. Wrongful Death
Wrongful death can result from any number of personal injuries – car accidents, medical malpractice, etc. If a victim dies because of someone's negligence, their family can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
These are usually extremely complicated and protracted cases. The first step in filing a wrongful death lawsuit is hiring a good lawyer to pour over the details of the accident, as well as details about the deceased party's financial situation.
For example, if the deceased had financial dependents, compensation amounts can get very high. Other things must come into account as well, such as pain and suffering, funeral costs, etc.
It's not easy to put a dollar number on someone's life, which is why it's so important to have a lawyer that is experienced with these types of cases. With a precedent from previous cases, they can help you figure out a settlement amount.
6. Animal Attacks
Animal attacks are rarely the fault of an animal, but rather their owner. Dog attacks are by far the most common type of animal attack causing personal injury. According to the WHO, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, with over 800,000 of them requiring medical care.
You can sue the owner for damages, lost wages, and medical care after an attack. It should be noted, however, that some states have a “one free bite” rule that protects them if the animal's aggressive nature was unknown to them.
That said, if you're working as a mail carrier or have a legal duty to approach someone's home, you may still be entitled to compensation even if it was a first-time incident. When a crime is committed, there's no punishment for an animal attack.
7. Product Liability
When you're injured as a result of a defective or flawed product, you can sue for product liability. One of the most famous cases of a product liability suit was in 2022 against the cigarette company Phillip Morris.
The victim was suffering from lung cancer, claiming that smoking caused the disease and the company failed to provide adequate warning. In the end, Phillip Morris paid $28 billion of punitive damages and another $850,000 of compensatory damages to the plaintiff.
To establish product liability, you need to prove design or manufacturing defects, or that there are inadequate warnings, as was the case in the above example. Product liability cases commonly involve pharmaceutical products, medical devices, food, vehicle parts, and childcare products.
8. Physical Assault
An assault can result in civil and criminal charges. There's no need to make a claim of negligence with physical assault because it's almost always considered intentional, regardless of being premeditated or not.
Physical assault may come in the form of a bar fight, road rage, pursuit of revenge, or any argument that turns violent. Whatever it may be, once a situation turns violent and someone gets hurt, the law must get involved.
Depending on the injuries involved, the criminal charges can become extremely severe. On top of that, the plaintiff can file civil charges for financial compensation to cover any hospital bills, ongoing care, missed wages, or damaged property.
There can be some grey areas when it comes to physical altercations. If both parties are engaged in a fight and one person is injured, it may be difficult for a lawyer to prove fault. That's where witnesses or surveillance cameras come into play to swing the case one way or the other.
9. Defamation or Libel
Personal injuries don't always have to be physical. You can have your mental health ruined by defamation or libel, which are false statements presented as facts in order to harm one's reputation.
In order to win a defamation suit, you and your legal team will have to prove all of the following:
- The at-fault party made a statement
- The statement in question was made public
- The result of the published statement was that it caused financial or reputational harm
- The statement is unequivocally false
- It wasn't a privileged statement, as certain comments are protected by law
Defamation is extremely serious because many will argue that the damage can never be reversed. Compensation is thus determined by the stakes involved. If it's a large brand or public figure that stands to lose a lot of money, the defendant will have to pay a significant sum in addition to the plaintiff's legal fees.
10. Premises Liability
Earlier, we made mention of slip and fall accidents, mostly in relation to businesses. Premises liability includes these types of accidents but isn't limited to businesses. Homeowners and businesses alike have a duty to take care of their premises so that other people can safely pass through.
Icy walkways are a great example of a premises liability case. If you're a homeowner, it's your duty to clear up the snow and ice from the walkway in front of your home. Should a passerby slip and fall on the ice, you could be found liable for their injuries.
This goes for structural issues as well. Perhaps you're having work done on your home and a contractor falls through some rickety stairs – you may be at fault as well.
It's important to maintain your property in order to avoid these types of lawsuits. You should also take a look at your insurance policy to see if some of these liabilities are covered.
11. Other Mass Torts
Mass torts include some of the common personal injury cases we've already discussed, like car accidents or product liability. There is a wide range of other scenarios where you may find yourself entitled to compensation because of someone else's negligence.
One of the biggest has to do with public transportation, such as flying or taking a train/bus. The carrier has a duty to protect you while you're traveling with them, so if you're ever injured in a train accident or from plane turbulence, you can file a lawsuit.
Even things like pollution from municipal water or airborne pollution can be considered a mass tort. Two mainstream examples of this include the Flint water crisis and the recent Ohio train derailment, which left both communities reeling with toxicity. Both legal situations are currently being resolved.
12. Commercial Vehicle Accidents
We also already discussed motor vehicle accidents, but commercial vehicle accidents are of another sort. Because a company is involved and not just an individual, there's a lot more at stake. If you're injured as a result of a transport truck or another commercial vehicle's negligence, you need legal help.
Bigger businesses and their insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to minimize your damages. Having an experienced lawyer who has fought cases like these will prevent the other party from intimidating you into accepting a low settlement.
There are countless examples of major settlements for these types of cases. It's important to file a claim and back it up with plenty of evidence if you're going to win your lawsuit against a corporate entity.
Fighting Personal Injury Cases the Right Way
Now that you understand some of the more common personal injury cases and how they work, you'll be prepared to fight your own case. If you're going to win, you need to have plenty of evidence, but you'll also need a great lawyer representing you.
Injuries due to someone else's negligence should never go uncompensated. Take what you've learned here and make sure you get what you deserve for your pain and suffering.
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