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What Constitutes a Personal Injury?

No matter where you may live, there is always at least some risk of potential injury. That being said, those who have been injured in an accident may find themselves wondering whether or not they suffered a  “personal injury” by legal standards. This is a bit of a complicated question, as there are numerous situations in which an individual may or may not be eligible to recover damages via a personal injury claim. 

Let’s take a look at what goes into a personal injury claim as well as some common examples: 

What is the Legal Definition of a “Personal Injury”?

Legally speaking, a “personal injury” is any physical or psychological injury that an individual sustains due to the negligence or malice of another individual or entity. This includes everything from scrapes and broken bones to illnesses, health conditions, PTSD, depression, and more. If you can show that another party is at fault for your injuries, you can file a claim and recover compensation. However, there are two things to keep in mind: for starters, state laws differ as far as who you can file a claim against–individuals in “no-fault” states can only file claims with their personal insurer, whereas “at-fault” states allow claimants to recover from the liable party’s insurer. Second, the value of your claim will correspond to the severity of your injuries, in the sense that individuals who suffered severe injuries will likely receive more than those whose injuries were minor. 

By and large, motor vehicle accidents are the most common source of personal injury claims. However, there is an ever-expanding list of claim types that reach to all aspects of our lives, including travel, work, leisure, and more. A large number of claims may also be filed against insurers themselves, if they have refused to offer proper compensation or if they have somehow acted in bad faith. Government entities may also be subject to claims, but this is exceptionally rare as those claims fall under an entirely different set of rules and circumstances. 

Examples of Common Kinds of Personal Injury Claims? 

Motor Vehicle Accidents 

As mentioned above, vehicle accidents are the number one source of personal injury claims. The reason for this is primarily because these accidents are very conducive to the personal injury format–most drivers carry insurance, and if an accident occurs it is likely to cause at least some injuries. When you also factor in the idea that there is a liable party for every accident, you can start to see why so many personal injury claims come from auto accidents. These can range from mild fender-benders all the way up to commercial accidents and multi-car pile ups.

Work-Related Accidents 

Some workplaces come with a high level of safety risks, and that is why OSHA and other government agencies place such a high emphasis on proper protocols and procedures. If an employer doesn’t acknowledge or follow these guidelines and an employee is injured because of it, it opens the door for either a lawsuit or a Workers’ Compensation claim. Common examples include winter weather accidents, burns, shocks, and exposure to harmful substances. 

Medical Malpractice 

Healthcare professionals have the immense responsibility of keeping us as healthy as possible, but at the end of the day they are human too, and mistakes are inevitable. Whenever a patient suffers additional injuries or complications because of a medical error, a medical malpractice claim becomes possible. This is most commonly seen in surgeries and other intensive procedures that go wrong. Wrongful death actions are also possible in these scenarios if the patient ultimately lost their life. 

Premises Liability Claims 

Premises liability is a phrase that encompasses all claims in which an individual is injured due to hazardous conditions on another’s property. Home and business owners are legally obligated to provide a safe environment for guests, or at least notify them of any potential hazards. Slips and falls and pool-related accidents are by far the most common example of this, although premises liability claims as a whole can feature just about any type of injury. 

Defective Products, Drugs, and Medical Devices 

Manufacturers and retailers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe and effective for their intended use. Anytime a product is defective or falsely advertised and a consumer is injured as a result, a product liability claim may be warranted. This includes all consumer products, but especially those related to health and medicine. Unfortunately, drugs and medical devices are constantly being recalled, and affected users must file a claim if they hope to recover anything. Occasionally, if enough claimants have similar claims against the same defendant, a mass tort will be formed. These are similar to class-action suits, but in a mass tort case, each claim is weighed separately instead of as a group. 

In Need of a Personal Injury Attorney? Look No Further Than Van Law Firm 

Personal injury claims can certainly be confusing, but luckily for accident victims, the award-winning personal injury attorneys from Van Law Firm can help with any kind of injury claim, regardless of the circumstances or parties involved. We’ve recovered over $50 million for our clients thus far, and with over 500 5-star reviews, it’s clear to see our efforts have not gone unnoticed. Take the first step in defending your rights today by calling our office nearest you to schedule a free consultation and case review.