If you’ve been hurt or injured as the result of an accident, sexual attack, or crime, you have probably heard the term “personal injury” bandied about. You may have even been familiar with the phrase given its frequent use on everything from billboards to commercials to newspaper ads, all advertising the best “personal injury attorney” or asking, “have you suffered a personal injury?” The term personal injury has in fact been used (and misused) so widely that you may think it synonymous with any type of lawsuit you may file that involves an injury. Personal injury is a specific area of law with its own specific rules and nuances. If you think you may have a personal injury case, read on for the ins and outs of your potential lawsuit.
What is Considered a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any harm suffered to your physical self because of the actions of another person or company. While personal injury usually involves bodily harm, mental and emotional damage also can count. If you’ve suffered one of these injuries you may be able to file a claim or legal action to receive compensation for the damage you have suffered. Your family or loved ones may also have a claim in a personal injury case. Sometimes a family member like a spouse can recover for what is called “loss of consortium”. Lost wages, medical and other costs incurred from the injury, compensation for pain and suffering and, in some cases, punitive damages can all be awarded.
Who Can I Sue for My Injury?
The party who caused you harm may be liable for your damages in a personal injury case. This can be a private individual, employee, company or even a governmental entity. The actions that caused your personal injury may be intentional in nature but you may also still have a claim if the person/organization was negligent or reckless in their behavior. In some cases, a business will be responsible for their employee’s action. This is called respondeat superior.
Physical action against your person is also not a requirement of a personal injury case. In some cases, a faulty design or known hazard in a product may be the basis for your case. This area of personal injury law is known as products liability. In a products liability case, a company that manufactures a product, or individuals within that company, may be held liable if they knew or should have known that a design would create a hazard with normal or anticipated use.
Do I need a Lawyer for My Personal Injury Case?
When you’ve suffered a personal injury, you are always entitled to consult with an experienced, qualified attorney, like an auto accident lawyer Atlanta GA trusts to protect your rights or explore your options for receiving compensation for your injuries. This is true whether you need to file a lawsuit, are making a claim with an insurance company or are otherwise demanding payment from a party out of court.
Personal injury attorneys are knowledgeable in personal injury law and can help walk you through the recovery process and can also protect your rights. Insurance companies will typically have legal representation on their side in the event of a claim for serious injury. While not mandatory, it is often beneficial to both your peace of mind and bottom line to consult with an attorney prior to pursuing a personal injury case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Butler Law Firm for their insight into personal injury practice.