With the law of personal injury, an injured person can file a lawsuit in a civil court and seek damages for their loss. These cases are typically divided into four categories.
When a lawsuit alleges an intentional act, the injured plaintiff claims that the defendant injured him or her on purpose. For example, a battery would be an intentional act in that the defendant caused harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff’s person with the intent to do so. It need only be shown that the defendant intended to harm the plaintiff, and the plaintiff suffered legally recognized damages.
When somebody acts in a careless manner and injures somebody else, the law of negligence applies. Negligence cases would include motor vehicle collisions, premises liability or medical malpractice. According to some Utah injury and accident lawyers, medical claims can even include a physician prescribing medication and failing to take into account potentially dangerous side effects. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must prove:
- That the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached that duty
- The plaintiff’s injuries resulted from that breach of duty
- As a result of that breach, legally recognized damages were suffered by the plaintiff
If the plaintiff fails to prove any single element of damages, his or her case fails.
Sometimes a person is injured by a dangerously defective product, and the plaintiff need not prove intention or negligence. For example, a person might suffer a serious eye injury from a hammer that explodes when pounding a nail. A dangerously defective product involves:
- A design defect that affects every product in a product line
- A manufacturing defect at the factory, and only a handful of products are affected
- A failure to warn of an inherently dangerous product
If a plaintiff proves that a product was dangerously defective, strict liability attaches to the defendant. Product liability law can extend to manufacturers, suppliers of components parts, distributors and retailers.
Not every lawyer practices personal injury law, but they’ll likely to be on a first name basis with a reputable and successful attorney who concentrates their practice in that area. If you want to pursue a personal injury case, just ask for a referral. You might be entitled to damages. When they’re awarded, they operate to compensate you for your injury and deter others from potentially harmful conduct. Pursuing a personal injury case isn’t about making a profit, but about receiving rightful compensation for harm caused to you. It’s about protecting your rights, and the rights of others like you who could be harmed in the same way.
This article is from Marlena Stoddard, who writes on health, parenting and everything in between. Originally from Senoia, GA, Marlena lives in Santa Rosa, CA with her husband and two children. When she isn’t spending time with her children or writing, Marlena enjoys hiking and photography, animals and painting. For more on Marlena, you can follow her on Google+.