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What does “personal injury” mean?

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I’m a personal injury lawyer (among other things). For a lot of people, that immediately discounts my status on the lawyer spectrum, which, for some, starts a couple steps lower than gas station custodian anyway. But as a personal injury lawyer, I’ve helped many people get the compensation they deserve for injuries that they’ve suffered because of the negligence or carelessness of someone else. That’s a great feeling! But what is a “personal injury lawyer”, anyway?

“Personal injury” is a legal term that defines cases in which a person is harmed by another person or entity, like a trucking or delivery company. Personal injury cases are generally based on claims of negligence – the defendant didn’t mean to hurt the injured person, but was careless and that carelessness resulted in an injury.

By pursuing a personal injury claim, injury victims aim to hold the people who harmed them accountable for their actions and recover compensation for the resulting damages.

What Types of Cases Qualify as Personal Injury Claims?

You can make a personal injury claim in any instance of harm caused by another person’s negligence. There are a variety of incidents that can be the subject of a case.

The following types of incidents are considered as personal injury cases:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dog bites
  • Premises liability
  • Product liability
  • Workplace injuries
  • Wrongful death

Personal Injury vs. Criminal Defense

It is possible for the same case to be the subject of a personal injury claim and a criminal defense case, but they aren’t common. In some instances, such as in a case of a drunk driving accident, negligence is considered criminal. However, personal injury and criminal defense claims would be two separate legal proceedings. Personal injury cases, if successful, result in the recovery of compensation for financial damages. Criminal cases are conducted in the pursuit of some kind of punishment, which may include fines or jail time.

The Benefits that Can be Recovered Through a Personal Injury Claim

A successful personal injury claim may result in a settlement or an in-trial verdict. The end goal of most cases is to recover compensation to cover the damages that resulted from the injury. Whether the compensation is allotted through a lump sum or periodic payments, the intention is to refund victims for their current and future expenses.

Personal injury plaintiffs may be entitled to coverage for:

  • Medical bills
  • Transportation costs
  • Lost wages

Injury victims are also able to receive compensation for non-financial damages. Coverage for pain and suffering and punitive damages are two types of compensation a victim may be able to recover. The impact of pain and suffering is not quantifiable, so attorneys or juries must attempt to arrive at a figure they believe is just and fair. Punitive damages, which are meant to be a penalty for the defendant’s actions, are rare. Additional compensation may be added to a settlement or verdict as a consequence in severe cases of negligence.

We help injured people that are struggling to get back on their feet get the compensation they deserve. If you or someone you care about were injured because of another person’s negligence, reach out to our firm to discuss your case for free at 502-633-6002.