Personal injury law is defined as an area of tort/civil law where an injury is incurred by one person as a result of another person’s actions. Generally, the level of intent of the wrongdoer impacts the type of claim the victim may bring. Intentional torts cover intentional wrongs such as assault, battery, and false imprisonment, where the defendant acts with specific desire to harm the victim. The more common personal injury torts are categorized as negligence, where the party causing the harm fails to exercise reasonable care in preventing the harm, and strict liability, where the wrongdoer’s intent is immaterial.
Two typical areas of strict liability claims include dog bites/animal attacks and product liability injuries. In each of these claims, absent particular exceptions, the victim may recover for the injury regardless of the defendant’s level of intent.
The lion’s share of personal injury cases fall into the negligence basket, where the defendant’s failure to act in a reasonable manner results in harm to the victim. In order for a plaintiff to recover damages, he/she must show that the defendant’s conduct meets the five specific elements of a negligence suit. Namely, the plaintiff must show that: a.) the defendant had a DUTY to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to the plaintiff, b.) the defendant BREACHED that duty, c.) the defendant’s breach was the ACTUAL CAUSE of the harm, d.) the defendant’s breach was a FORESEEABLE CAUSE of the harm, and e.) the plaintiff suffered some ACTUAL DAMAGE. It is within this elemental landscape that most personal injury claims are fought. Some typical examples of negligence cases include automobile accidents, slip-and-fall cases, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
Please refer to the Practice Areas subcategories for more detailed information on the specific types of personal injury claims.