An Introduction to Personal Injury Claims.

In the legal context, the phrase “personal injury” refers to tort causes of action (e.g. legally recognized reasons to file a lawsuit) whereby an individual has suffered physical injury, permanent disability, psychological distress, or injury to property as a result of an intentional act or inexcusable negligence by another individual, business, or government entity.

The important consideration is that while many personal injury cases involve a party being physically injured, the phrase “personal injury” uses the legal definition of the word “injury” which Black’s Law Dictionary defines as.

“Any wrong or damage done to another, either in his person, rights, reputation, or property.”

What are personal injury claims? 

Personal injury claims are civil (noncriminal) cases which divide generally into three categories. Here are the most comon type of personal injury cases

Intentional torts are wrongful acts done intentionally by a party who knew that the was wrong. There are numerous types of intentional tort personal injury cases including.

Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are both considered criminal acts in most jurisdictions. In the State of California, assault is defined as an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another. Conversely, battery is defined as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another.

Simply put, assault is an attempt to commit violence upon another party, while battery is an act of violence upon another party. As it pertains to personal injury claims, a claim of assault will most likely be seeking damages for psychological or emotional distress, while a claim of battery will usually involve a plaintiff seeking damages for actual injury to their person.

Example: Jane and John are coworkers who get into an argument at work which leads to Jane throwing an object from her desk at John. While the object missed John, he is now afraid to go to work and is not able to earn his regular income. John has suffered financial injury as a result of his lost wages and psychological distress, both because Jane assaulted him.

False Arrest and False Imprisonment

False imprisonment occurs when a party restricts the freedom of movement of another through either the use of force or threatening the use of force. False arrest is often considered a type of false imprisonment, but this is not always the case.

One way of distinguishing the two is to think of false arrest as the initial wrongful act of restricting a person’s freedom of movement, while false imprisonment would be the prolonged detention that may or may not follow.

Example: Jennifer enters a store with a backpack on. After a few minutes, she starts walking towards the exit doors without making a purchase. Store security wrongfully profiles Jennifer without observing any suspicious activity and stops her at the doors and tells her that she is being placed under arrest for shoplifting. Jennifer attempts to walk around the security guard, who tackles her to the ground and places her in handcuffs.

When the police arrive, officers reviewed the recorded video of Jennifer from the time she entered the store to the time she attempted to leave. At no time does Jennifer remove any items from the shelves, and she is released. Jennifer has suffered damages in the form of her right to freedom of movement being infringed upon, and emotional distress from being tackled and handcuffed in front of dozens of onlookers when she did nothing wrong.

Example: Three decades ago, Matthew is brought in for questioning by officers under suspicion of committing rape. During a period of interrogation which was not recorded, investigators aggressively interrogate him using tactics that are forbidden by law. Eventually, he succumbs to their pressure and issues a false confession, which is recorded. Matthew attempts to rescind the false confession after speaking with an attorney, but he is eventually convicted.

When DNA test technology becomes available, evidence from the crime scene exonerates Matthew of any wrongdoing, and he is released from prison. Due to the wrongful conduct by members of the police department, who used illegal interrogation tactics, Matthew has suffered damages in the form of prolonged imprisonment, as well as both psychological and emotional distress due to said imprisonment.

Negligent torts occur when a party fails to act as a reasonable person would when a duty is owed to another party. Negligent torts are easily distinguished from intentional torts because they involve a failure to act, as opposed to an intentional act. The most common negligent torts are;

Motor Vehicles Accidents

Every operator of a motor vehicle is legally obligated to exercise due care while behind the wheel. Drivers owe this duty to all others on the roads including other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. When a driver fails to act according to this duty by failing to exercise due care while driving, and someone else suffers an injury to their person or property, they become liable for the damages that their negligence caused.

Motor vehicle accidents are by far the most common civil case filed in the United States. According to a U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics study, motor vehicle accidents represent 54% of all personal injury cases filed nationwide.

Example: Mary is driving her vehicle and needs to make a left-hand turn at an upcoming intersection. While Mary has a green light, there is no turn-arrow, so she must yield to oncoming traffic. Mary sees a small opening in the oncoming traffic and attempts to turn left.

Bill is traveling in the opposite direction, also has a green-light, and has the right-of-way. Mary turns in front of Bill and Bill is unable to stop in time, striking Mary’s vehicle on the passenger side. Bill suffers a broken arm and his vehicle is severely damaged, causing him to suffer damages in the form of medical bills and repairing his vehicle because Mary did not exercise due care while making a left-turn in front of traffic which had the right-of-way.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims arise from a medical doctor, surgeon, or other medical professional neglecting the duty of treating each patient’s condition to the best of their ability. Doctors owe this duty to all patients, a duty that is laid out in detail in the Hippocratic Oath. When a doctor neglects this duty, is reckless or grossly negligent while treating a patient, it can give rise to a medical malpractice suit

Example: A surgeon named Tyler is scheduled to perform back surgery on Samantha at five o’clock in the morning. Tyler’s med-school buddies invite him out for drinks the night before the surgery. Tyler goes out with his friends and stays at the bar until it closes at two o’clock in the morning, drinking heavily all night. Tyler gets less than two hours of sleep and arrives for Samantha’s surgery exhausted and still somewhat intoxicated.

While performing surgery, Tyler accidentally damages Samantha’s spinal cord, causing Samantha to lose the use of her legs for the rest of her life. Samantha has suffered damages in the form of hundreds of thousands of dollars for in-home care and medical bills, psychological and emotional distress from losing the use of her legs, and as a dance instructor, loses the ability to earn any income from the profession she has engaged in for her entire life, due to Tyler’s negligent decision to perform surgery while exhausted and intoxicated on alcohol.

Premises Liabality

Premises liability claims arise from situations where the owner of a property failed to keep the property maintained in a safe condition and a party is injured as a result. Slip and falls, non-functioning safety equipment, and hazardous conditions are all cases involving premises liability.

Example: A gallon of milk is dropped and spills all over the floor of one of the aisles in a supermarket. A store employee is notified, who then tells the manager, who does not immediately send someone to clean up the spill or place warning signs, for reasons unknown. Thirty minutes later, Lisa is walking down the dairy aisle where the spill occurred and does not notice the white liquid on the smooth white floor of the store. Lisa slips on the milk and suffers various injuries. Lisa suffers damages in the form of medical bills and lost wages due to the grocery store’s failure to either clean up the spill or at the very minimum, place signage warning customers of the hazardous conditions until the spill can be cleaned up. 

Strict liability torts are specific situations recognized by law where a party can be held liable for an injury even if they were not negligent. Many states pass laws that impose strict liability for damages caused in these specific scenarios which might otherwise be negligent torts. This type of personal injury case depends on the jurisdiction where you live, but some examples are

Product Liabality

Product liability claims arise from situations where a defective product causes injury, or a product fails to display the appropriate warning labels. Many states consider this type of claim to be a strict-liability tort.

Example: (True story) Takata manufactured airbags for numerous Honda vehicles for more than a decade. Takata airbags used ammonium nitrate in their airbag inflators, which made them very volatile. (Ammonium nitrate is a very volatile chemical compound sometimes found in fertilizer, which can be used to make explosives, as it was in the Oklahoma City bombing.) These airbag inflators were found to occasionally explode, sending metal shards flying into the car’s cabin. An explosion which disperses metal fragments in this manner is highly dangerous, as evidenced by the military’s use of a device known as a frag grenade, which is standard equipment for infantrymen.

Takata became aware of the design defect as early as 2004 but neglected to inform safety officials until 2015.

To date, Takata airbag explosions have killed 23 people worldwide and injured approximately 290. Those who have suffered injuries and the families of those killed recently settled this strict-liability class-action case with Takata in 2017, which included a total of 125 million dollars in victim compensation.

Dog Bytes

Many states have imposed strict-liability on owners of dogs and other animals who bite people. For example, in the State of California, a dog owner is liable for damages caused when their dog bites another party even if the dog had never shown aggressive traits before and the owner was not negligent.

Example: James’ dog Spike manages to leap over the backyard fence into their neighbor’s yard, where a young boy named Timmy is playing.

Timmy loves dogs and runs over to Spike and attempts to pet him. Startled by the boy’s excitement, Spike bites Timmy’s hand. Timmy’s parents are forced to take him to the doctor to get stitches in his hand and rabies shots. Thus, Timmy (or his parents, legally) suffers damages in the form of medical bills.

HOW TO FIND JUSTICE WITH A WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY

We believe that in the case of a wrongful death due to the negligence of others, whether an automotive accident or any workplace accident, the Family of the Victim(s) Deserves Swift Justice!

If your loved one died because of injuries suffered in an accident that was the result of someone else’s negligence, you have rights! You may be “Eligible to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim” against the liable party so you can Recover Compensation for the losses your family has suffered.  Personal Injury Attorneys are ready to help you during this difficult time and ensure your claim gets the attention it deserves.

While no amount of money could ever replace the loss that you are experiencing from the death of your loved one, your family will be facing a financial burden without that income. There may be mounting medical bills and funeral expenses because of your loved one’s passing. You should hold the liable party responsible for the damages that they have caused, and you have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim.

You don’t have to go through this alone! We are here to help the victims and their families, taking you through the process and ensuring you are treated fairly. With the guidance of a compassionate Glendale wrongful death lawyer, you are much more likely to Recover Compensation to help you through the financial challenges the accident has caused your family.

WHO WOULD BE CONSIDERED A VICTIM OF WRONGFUL DEATH?

For a wrongful death claim to be filed, the decedent must have been the victim of someone’s wrongful act or negligence. You must be able to prove that the defendant is the party responsible and they played a substantial role in the death of the victim.

As an example, someone killed in a car crash caused by a drunk driver could warrant a wrongful death claim. An individual killed while using a machine that had manufacturing flaws could lead to a wrongful death claim. Medical malpractice, such as surgical or medication errors, could result in the filing of a wrongful death claim.

Usually, a wrongful death claim is filed by the spouse, children, or parents of the decedent.

emotionally and financially. They are the individuals who will suffer most from the loss of their loved one. Through a wrongful death claim, they can Recover Compensation to help relieve some stress by making sure medical bills and final expenses are covered and that they continue with their standard of living.

Regardless of who files a wrongful death lawsuit, the victims’ direct family or decedents will be the people being compensated due to “damages suffered”. The dollar amount of these damages can vary over a wide range. There are three “type of damages” in a wrongful death claim, which are classified as economic, non-economic, and punitive.

FILING THE WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM

If your loved one died because of the wrongful acts of others, you should consult with a wrongful death attorney immediately. The state does have a “one action rule” which states that only one lawsuit can be filed against the liable party, so all heirs must join in the same lawsuit.

“Time is of the Essence” as a strict statute of limitations applies to filing wrongful death claims. In most cases, the claim must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or death. If the death was the result of medical malpractice or negligence of a healthcare provider, you have three years from the date you discover or through reasonable diligence should have discovered the injury. If the injury involves government tort liability, such as being hit by a city vehicle, then you are usually limited to six months to get the claim underway.

If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by the wrongful acts of someone else, you should “Schedule a Consultation” with a wrongful death lawyer Right Now! You don’t have to suffer through this alone. Help is Available to ensure your family gets on track after the death of your family member.