Understanding Personal Injury Litigation

Personal injury law is often misunderstood, yet it’s an area that will affect many of us at one time or another. This article is designed to help those impacted by a death or injury involving a third party to understand their options.

In order for there to be basis for a lawsuit, an injury or death must be caused by a third party’s actions that are either intentional or negligent. More importantly, the third party must have breached a duty of care to the injured party. This crucial point separates accidents that are unfortunate occurrences caused by no one in particular from an injury that can be reasonably connected to the conduct that resulted in it. In short, compensation is only awarded as a result of injuries that a reasonable person would view as a foreseeable consequence of the conduct upon which a lawsuit is based.

While many see personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits as similar, there are significant legal differences when it comes to damages. A personal injury action belongs only to the person who’s injured or a spouse who suffers as a direct result of those injuries. This means that in a personal injury action, the injured person is entitled to monetary damages for conscious pain and suffering, lost earnings and the loss of enjoyment of life.

A wrongful death suit belongs to the estate of the deceased and damages are designed to compensate for what survivors of the deceased individual have lost, including such things as monetary losses, as well as intangibles, such as loss of parental guidance.

Although personal injury and wrongful death suits are brought as a result of the negligent or intentional acts of a third party, they’re generally divided into several different case types, including:

  • Transportation accidents

  • Premises accidents such as slip and fall cases

  • Construction accidents

  • Defective product cases

  • Defective pharmaceutical products,

  • Defective medical cases

  • Toxic substances

  • Municipal liability, which involves situations where a city/town/village, etc. is negligent. These include situations such as accidents or deaths at parks, schools and housing projects, as well as situations involving fire, police or other municipal employees

  • Professional malpractice

  • Nursing home cases

  • Lawsuits resulted from an intentional act, such as assault, libel, slander, etc.

It is very important to remember that if you’re injured as a result of an accident to immediately contact an attorney and prepare documentation to help preserve your rights. Remember that a case can be lost even before an attorney is retained if a victim makes an ill-advised statement to a third party or fails to get photographs and other important evidence.

You can find these and other tips in our FREE book Personal Injury Law for Dummies

Source: Personal Injury Law for Dummies

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