Personal injury law was enacted to ensure that individuals who suffered misfortune as a result of the negligence of others are adequately compensated for medical expenses, loss of wages, emotional distress or disability. Personal injury suits are commonly referred to as tort cases.
The most important premise in personal injury cases is negligence. Without establishing negligence by the defendant, a personal injury claim may not arise. Negligence is the failure to exercise certain standard of care expected from a reasonably prudent person in certain circumstances. For instance, a driver is required by law to follow traffic rules, such as driving at a certain speed and stopping at certain locations. When the driver is speed driving and causes injury to someone else, the driver is negligent as he was not driving according to what is required of him by the law. In another case, employers are required by law to provide protective gears to employees who are exposed to risky work. If these employees are injured as a result of not being provided protective gear, the employers are negligent and will be liable by law.
Once negligence is proven, the defendant is required to compensate the plaintiff for all injuries. Damages include punitive damages, property damage, medical expenses, and emotional distress. The calculation of damages for some injuries are easy, while the calculation of other damages may be difficult. For instance, the calculation of loss of earning capacity may require expert testimony.
Filing a personal injury suit is not as easy as proving negligence. One of the difficult aspects prior to initiating a personal injury suit would be identifying the proper defendant. It is thus imperative to hire an expert attorney to help the plaintiff identify the negligent defendants and additional defendants who may be liable for the negligence. Additional defendants could mean a landlord, in the case of a slip-and-fall accident, or insurance companies.
While negligence is an important aspect of personal injury cases, personal injury damages can also be claimed as a result of the intentional acts of other people. In these types of cases, which include assault, trespass, false imprisonment, the defendant intentionally inflicted injuries upon the plaintiff. A defendant may also be held liable, despite exhibiting standard of care required by law. This is called strict liability and happens in cases like demolitions or transporting hazardous materials.
Defective products also result to personal injuries. In defective product suits, the plaintiff will prove that the manufacturer's negligence in the design and sale of a product resulted to personal injuries. Manufacturers can also be sued for strict liability. Large class action lawsuits often start out as product liability cases.
Personal injury law does not just give those who suffered injuries remedies from the law, personal injury law also gives those who are accused of negligence defenses to ward off abusive claims. A defendant may argue three things to relieve him of any liability: (1) the plaintiff was partially or wholly responsible for his action; (2) the plaintiff assumed the risk; and (3) the plaintiff allowed the action that caused his personal injury. Many personal injury suits have been successfully thrown out because the defendants presented strong arguments. It is thus crucial to hire an expert personal injury attorney to ensure that personal injuries are compensated for.