Common types of personal injury claims include road traffic accidents, work accidents, tripping accidents, assault claims, and product defect accidents (product liability). The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which may lead to medical negligence claims ) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermatitis, and repetitive strain injury cases. Of these, the most common are automobile collisions. Personal injury cases may also include toxic torts, in which a contaminant transmitted by air or water causes illness, injury, or death (as in John Grisham’s book, A Civil Action).
Some non-economical damages such as pain and suffering attributed to the damages, like for example having anxiety after a car accident, may be attributed to general damages that can be proved in court and may be entitled to monetary means of compensation. There are other torts, both intentional and non-intentional, that may be pursued and or mixed with personal injury.
Depending upon the intent or negligence of a responsible party, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party through a settlement or a judgment.
Although personal injury cases may result from an intentional act, such as defamation, or from reckless conduct, most personal injury claims are based on a theory of negligence. To hold a party or parties legally liable for injuries so damages based upon negligence, four elements must be proved:
- The party had a duty to act reasonably according to the circumstances.
- The party breached the duty.
- The party’s breach of the duty caused you to be harmed.
- You suffered monetary damages due to the harm you suffered when the party breached its duty of care.
The amount of compensation for a personal injury will primarily depend on the severity of the injury. Serious injuries (such as broken bones, severed limbs, brain damage) that cause intense physical pain and suffering receive the highest injury settlements.