If you have suffered injuries, whether they are caused by the actions or the negligence of another, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim and possible compensation. This type of claim is covered by tort laws, which are designed to present remedies to individuals harmed by the unreasonable actions of others. Tort claims usually involve state law and are based on the legal premise that individuals are liable for the consequences of their conduct if it results in injury to others.
Types Of Personal Injury Claims
Before a personal injury claim can be filed, it is important to determine the exact type of claim that is appropriate. Personal injury claims can be broken down into three distinct types:
- Intentional wrongs
- Strict liability
It’s important to remember that in order for compensation to be awarded, both the extent of damages caused and the liability of the defendant must be proven.
Intentional wrongs, as the name implies, are actions that have purposely caused harm to another person. The determining factor is that the defendant knew, or should have known, that injury or damage would occur through their actions or lack of action.
Assault and battery are both examples of this type of tort. A fist fight at a bar, an argument that turns into a physical altercation, or any other instance in which someone is struck, hit, or punched are included in this category.
False imprisonment, or being held against your will with no justification, is also considered an intentional wrong. Likewise, a store security guard who wrongly accuses you of shoplifting and detains you is also an example.
Negligence claims arise when an individual fails to exercise reasonable care, resulting in injury to another. One of the most common forms of negligence stems from injuries sustained in automobile accidents.
For instance, you could file a claim if someone is driving too fast for conditions, loses control of his vehicle, and crashes into you, resulting in injuries to you.
Medical malpractice also falls under the negligence umbrella. In this case, the negligence is committed by a health-care professional who departs from an accepted standard of practice, resulting in harm to a patient under his care.
Strict liability is generally applied to manufacturers and designers of consumer products. In essence, it holds the manufacturers liable for injuries that are caused by defective products they have produced.
Unlike other personal liability claims, strict-liability claimants do not have to establish negligence of the manufacturer. What is required is that the claimants present evidence that the product was designed or manufactured in a way that makes it unsafe, even when used as intended. In other words, proof of a defect in the manufacturing or designing process is required.
Compensation For Personal Injuries
In a personal injury case, monetary damages may be awarded to an injured person. The person or company who is found to be legally responsible for the accident is then required to remit the payment as ordered. Damage awards are sometimes agreed upon in an out-of-court, negotiated settlement. The legally responsible party may also be ordered by the court system, either by a judge or a jury, after a trial. The following are the eight types of compensations that may be awarded.
1. Medical Treatment
The cost of medical care associated with the injuries sustained are nearly always part of a personal injury settlement. It will include reimbursement for any treatments that have already been received as well as the estimated cost of medical care and treatment in the future.
Compensation for lost salary and wages due to the injury are commonly included in personal injury cases. This applies to all income that was lost from the time of the occurrence and any future loss of earning capacity.
3. Property Loss
It is likely that compensation will be awarded for any damages to personal property as the result of an accident. This would apply to your car, clothes, electronics, or any other item. Compensation is generally the cost of repairs or the fair market value of the property that was lost or destroyed.
4. Pain And Suffering
Victims of accidents are sometimes entitled to get compensation for the pain and serious discomfort caused by an accident, as well as any ongoing pain.
There is also the potential for compensation for mental pain and suffering. This is any kind of negative emotion that is the result of the physical pain and trauma of the incident. Like physical pain and suffering, it includes what has been endured to date, and the pain and suffering that is likely to occur in the future.
5. Emotional Distress
These types of damages are intended to compensate for the psychological impact of an injury. This can include fear, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, loss of appetite, and sleep loss, just to name a few. Emotional distress damages may be awarded as part of any pain and suffering damages in some states, and is separate in others.
6. Loss Of Enjoyment
When injuries make it impossible to enjoy once loved day-to-day pursuits, victims may be entitled to receive monetary compensation.
Activities such as hobbies, exercise, and recreational activities like fishing, hiking and bicycling are all examples. As with emotional distress, some states consider it a separate claim, while others view it as a general claim.
7. Loss Of Consortium
These damages relate to the impact that the injuries have on the accident victim’s relationship with his spouse. Loss of companionship or loss of ability to maintain a sexual relationship fall under this type of claim. It may also apply to the relationship between a parent and his child. In some instances, these damages are awarded directly to the affected family member.
8. Punitive Damages
While the previously mentioned damages are compensatory, punitive damages are a different animal altogether. They are intended to punish the defendant for his conduct and to deter him from the same activity in the future. Punitive damages have been known to reach astronomical proportions, sometimes tens of millions of dollars, which is why many states have a cap on the amounts that can be awarded.
Of course, this guide is just a quick and easy rundown of personal injury claims, which can be quite complicated. If you would like a detailed examination of your personal injury claim, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.