General Types Of Personal Injury Cases – Claims

Feb 8, 2020

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

1 Intentional Torts

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.
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.

2 Negligent Torts

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. 

3 Strict Liability Torts

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.

More than 25,000 personal injury cases are filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles

Approximately 10% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in the last five years have occurred in California

Personal Injury Facts

According to data from 2017, motor vehicle accidents caused more than 80,000 injuries in Los Angeles County

60,738

collisions which caused injury (or worse) to one or more person.

81,720

Injured


239

Killed


9%

Involved Pedestrians

6%

Involved Bicyclist


7.1%

Involved Motorcyclist


More Than 27%

of injured persons were between 20 and 29 years of age.

WHY HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?

In some Jurisdictions, especially Los Angeles, California, personal injury claims are a specialized form of legal practice. A party who is seeking compensation for a personal injury claim would benefit greatly from the assistance of a personal injury lawyer.

Some benefits of hiring a california personal injury lawyer;

  • Personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiators who can often secure a favorable settlement without having to go to trial. 

 

  • Personal injury claims take an average of 23 months, during which time you can focus on your life while your lawyer pursues fair compensation on your behalf. 

 

  • Personal injury lawyers understand what facts must be proven to win your case.

 

  • Personal injury lawyers are adept at gathering the required evidence and expert testimony necessary to establish the facts. 

 

  • Personal injury lawyers known how to navigate the tangled web of rules and regulations which one must follow when filing a lawsuit. 

 

  • Personal injury lawyers have litigated cases like yours before and know how much compensation to seek. 

 

  • Your probability of success increases exponentially when you are represented by a skilled personal injury lawyer.

HIRING A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER

There are several things to look for when seeking legal representation:

Responsiveness

An attorney who has the appropriate staff to handle and prioritize his client communications is a good indication of their professonal competence.

Client and Peer

An attorney who has the appropriate staff to handle and prioritize his client communications is a good indication of their professional competence.

Accessibility

You should never be left feeling as though you never get to speak to your attorney directly.

A strong staff is important, but ensure that your attorney gives you enough of their time.

Disciplinary Records

An attorney who has the appropriate staff to handle and prioritize his client communications is a good indication of their professional competence.

Attentiveness

Look for an attorney who listens to you and pays close attention to what you have to say.

This is a sign that they pay attention to details and are personally invested in the outcome of your case.

Presentation

Your attorney should look, act, and speak like a confident leader.

Responsiveness

An attorney who has the appropriate staff to handle and prioritize his client communications is a good indication of their professonal competence.

Accessibility

You should never be left feeling as though you never get to speak to your attorney directly. A strong staff is important, but ensure that your attorney gives you enough of their time.

Client and Peer

An attorney who has the appropriate staff to handle and prioritize his client communications is a good indication of their professional competence.

Disciplinary Records

An attorney who has the appropriate staff to handle and prioritize his client communications is a good indication of their professional competence.

Attentiveness

Look for an attorney who listens to you and pays close attention to what you have to say. This is a sign that they pay attention to details and are personally invested in the outcome of your case.

Presentation

Your attorney should look, act, and speak like a confident leader.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are a few things you should keep in mind when you are seeking or working with a personal injury lawyer.

Don't be afraid to ask questions, your attorney works for you and is being paid accordingly.

Provide all available evidence to your attorney promptly. They are often required to submit documents, correspondence, and pleadings within strict time frames.

Always remember to tell your attorney the absolute truth about your claim. You never want to handicap your personal injury lawyer by withholding information which they are trained to disseminate on your behalf.

Act NOW or risk Ending up empty-handed

Don’t lose the legal window of opportunity. Get maximum compensation for your car accident injuries – and more importantly, don’t give the defendant’s lawyers time to prepare against you.
Contact the expert Los Angeles attorneys at JT Group now!
It’s free and obligation-free.

(888) 529-3111

Available 24/7, It’s Free

Under California law, strict statute of limitations impose a narrow time frame for car accident victims to file a claim. Being late in doing so can make it impossible to get compensation, or result in a very low amount that’s barely enough to cover your medical expenses.