Groups » Key Things to Know about Personal Injury Law

While most people have heard of the term ‘personal injury’, few understand what it really means and what personal injury law entails.

To put it simply, personal injury law relates to the legal aspects of civil lawsuits brought due to wrongful or unlawful conduct towards them. Almost all such cases involve a plaintiff seeking compensation (in cash or kind) for the injury/damage caused by the defendant.

Most personal injury cases are founded on the principle of negligence. If that is, indeed, going to be the basis of such cases, it would require that every member acts in a responsible manner which keeps those around them away from risk. This, however, does not imply that negligence can be alluded to whenever someone gets hurt.

The principle of personal injury law acknowledges the fact that certain injuries are inevitable. Therefore, to establish liability successfully, the plaintiff should be able to prove that another reasonably sensible person (in the defendant’s position) would have acted in another way under the same situation.

The concept of negligence can be a confusing one. Here’s what you need to know about it:

A lawsuit for negligence can be brought only if the plaintiff can establish all the following four associated factors. There can be no lawsuit for negligence, from a legal point of view, if even one of the four factors or elements of negligence isn’t established –

1. Duty of Care

Duty of care is a legal obligation owed by persons and organizations. It requires that they abide by a set standard of reasonable care while acting in any way that may foreseeably harm others, either physically, mentally, or both.

2. Breach of Duty

A breach of duty refers to violation of a duty. It comes into play when one does not do what they’re supposed to do in keeping with the duty of care.

3. Factual Causation

According to this element, simply doing something that can harm someone else isn’t sufficient; it has to actually cause harm to be relevant. Causation is the bridge that connects the breach and the injury. For instance, if someone sets off fireworks in a crowd but nobody is injured, there is no causation because the act did not cause any injury. If, on the other hand, the fireworks go off and someone suffers burns, gets injured by other people in an attempt to get away from the chaotic scene, or suffers hearing loss due to the explosion, then the element of causation can be involved.

4. Damages

To claim damages, the plaintiff will need to establish that he/she, did in fact, incur actual harm due to the breach of duty. Being afraid or upset does not count here. Typically, the plaintiff must have necessarily suffered an actual injury. For example, if someone gets disconcerted or annoyed at the person who started the fireworks, but does not suffer any injury, he/she cannot claim damages. But, if someone has sustained burns and has the medical bills and pain and suffering to show, these could be considered as different forms of damages.

But of course, there are several complex defenses and technicalities involved in such cases.
Therefore, it is, best to get in touch with a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you present your case and get you through the process of investigating your claim or defense to negligence.

A few common examples of negligence include medical complications or death as a result of a physician’s inattention, car accidents caused by drivers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, dog bites/bites from ferocious pets that are permitted to move freely. In each of these cases, there is a responsible party that has overlooked the risk posed to others due to their carelessness, thereby causing injuries and suffering to the plaintiff.

What to Do after Suffering a Personal Injury

This is one question that probably lingers in the mind of anyone who has been at the receiving end of a personal injury. The immediate minutes after an accident or injury can be perplexing and overwhelming. In fact, the sheer unpleasantness of the entire episode can leave you wondering as to what to do and who to turn to.

Here’s what you need to do –

1. Get Medical Help

In the event of suffering a personal injury, the first thing you need to do is ensure you’re safe. Get medical help as soon as you can even if you think you’ve suffered minor or no injuries as not all injuries become apparent immediately and it can take days or even weeks for the symptoms to appear. Make a note of these injuries.

Also, certain states require that the victim seek medical attention within a specified period of time, failing which their claim is ruled out.

2. Seek Legal Assistance

It is always a good idea to seek legal guidance in complex matters such as personal injury case. However, do make it a point to hire a lawyer who has specialized in personal injury cases as only he will be able to figure out the nitty gritty of the case.

Most lawyers offer complimentary first consultations, wherein you may narrate the details of your accident and injury. Only then will the attorney be able to advise you on whether or not you have a case.

Your lawyer may conduct a pre-suit, wherein both the parties may arrive at a settlement without having to go to court. However, if things do not proceed satisfactorily, then a lawsuit can be filed.

3. Cooperate in the Investigation

Once it is concluded that a lawsuit can be filed, your attorney will begin the process of investigating the accident and gathering evidence to prove that you suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.

However, for the entire process to come together, you will need to cooperate with him throughout the process by following his every instruction and partaking actively in the investigation. While it may seem like an inconvenience, it is necessary in order to get the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

4. Weigh Your Options

Broadly speaking, depending on the extent and nature of your injuries, you may be compensated for monetary expenditures or losses resulting from visits to the doctor, medical bills, purchase of medical equipment, hiring help, incurring funeral expenses in case of death of a loved one, and lost wages.
You may also be entitled to receive compensation for loss of companionship, enduring physical and mental suffering, and other punitive damages.


When negligence is established in a personal injury case, the defendant is required to compensate the plaintiff for all the injuries caused because of his actions and behavior. The compensation is usually in the form of money. Monetary damages such as medical bills and property damage are easier to calculate. For more complex calculations, such as in the case of suffering emotional anguish or losing the capability to earn, it may be best to resort to expert legal representation. Apart from that, punitive damages, which punish or prevent particularly heinous conduct, may also be available.

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