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Personal Injury: An Overview

If you’ve suffered an injury due to the negligence of a third party, the last thing you want to do is search for references to learn about your options for filing a personal injury claim and then have to figure out how to translate all the legal jargon within. Here is a quick walkthrough of the components of a personal injury case.

What is a personal injury?

A personal injury is defined as harm suffered by a person in an accident. The personal injury category extends to car accidents, medical malpractice, and more, so it can occur in almost any type of setting in a broad sense. In some cases, an injury may be worth filing a claim to get compensation, which is when having a personal injury attorney on board is the best thing you can do for your case.

What does all the jargon mean?

There are really only a handful of terms you need to worry about amidst the sea of legal jargon you’re likely wading through just to get some answers. Here are some of the most commonly used terms in legal matters for your reference:

  • Damages. This term is as broad as it sounds—damages is used to encompass all costs of an injury, not just the financial scope of things. Other elements that fit into this area are pain, suffering, bills for treatment, lost income, and more.
  • Defendant. A defendant is the person, persons, or entity that a claim is being filed against. In the case of an accident, whoever the at-fault party is for causing the accident would be the defendant.
  • Plaintiff. The plaintiff in your case would be you, as the plaintiff is defined as the person who files the claim and suffered the damages from the accident.
  • Negligence. Negligence simply means an active neglect to perform necessary actions or maintenance, usually stemming from careless or reckless behavior. In a personal injury claim, one of the main goals is to prove that someone was negligent and that their negligence caused your injury. 
  • Liability. If you’re liable, you’re responsible. When someone is liable for someone else’s injury, it means that in some way they caused the injury to occur.
  • Compensation. Compensation is just the legal word for payment—a plaintiff seeks compensation for damages they’ve suffered and paid for due to the personal injury inflicted. 

Are all personal injury cases the same?

There are actually different types of personal injury cases that can be separated into four main categories—vehicle crashes, medical malpractice, premises liability, and product liability.

Vehicle crashes are exactly what they sound like—accidents that involve two or more vehicles or may involve a vehicle hitting a pedestrian or cyclist. They’re also the most common type of personal injury claim simply because roadway accidents happen so often.

Medical malpractice claims are personal injuries due to negligent treatment in a medical setting. Rather than pursuing compensation from a negligent driver as you would in a vehicle crash, you would be pursuing compensation from a negligent medical practitioner.

Premises liability cases deal with injuries that occurred on someone else’s property because of negligent property maintenance or something similar. So if you slipped and fell in a grocery store aisle with no “Wet Floor” sign, you may have the ability to file a premises liability claim because they failed to a) provide a safe walkway and b) place proper signage marking hazards.

Product liability cases involve someone being injured by a faulty product. If a product breaks and injures you while you’re using it as it’s meant to be used, you may have a product liability case on your hands, in which case you can try to get compensation from the manufacturer.

Where do I start?

You’ll want to contact experienced personal injury attorneys sooner rather than later if you’ve been injured and are planning to seek compensation. Our team of lawyers is local and ready to serve you. We work 7 days a week so you don't have to sweat the small stuff. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Image credit: Harvard Health Publications