Personal injury is a legal term that is commonly used in reference to injuries that occur to a
person’s body, mind or emotions. The term is used to distinguish injuries that occur to the person rather than to property.
While most personal injury claims involve tort lawsuits for injuries resulting from the negligence of another
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person or organization, they may also involve defamation torts. Some of the damages commonly associated with personal injury claims are bodily injury, and emotional distress which may be caused intentionally or by negligence.
There are many incidents that can bring about a personal injury claim. These include vehicular accidents, work-related accidents, falls, assault, accidents at home, accidents resulting from defective products, and accidents that
occur during vacations or leisure activities. Personal injury claims also often arise from negligence in a medical setting, and exposure to harmful substances or dangerous machinery.
The primary objective of most personal injury claims is to get compensation from the responsible party. This may be the result of an out-of-court settlement or a trial judgment. Most such cases are legally complex and often controversial, giving rise to numerous calls for the reformation of tort proceedings.
In personal injury claims, the responsible party and the claimant are often represented by lawyers. In many instances, lawyers represent their clients on a “contingent fee” basis. This
arrangement essentially means that the lawyer only gets paid (typically in a percentage of the settlement amount) in the event of a successful claim. If the decision favors the defendant, the lawyer does not receive any compensation for his
Not all countries provide legal assistance to personal injury claimants. In England for example, government-funded legal aid was abolished in the late 1990s. In its place, the government implanted a system wherein the client will not be required to pay anything in the event of an unsuccessful claim.
Damages in personal injury claims fall into two categories: special and general. Special damages involve costs that can be quantified. This includes medical expenses, lost income, and the cost of property damage. General damages include costs that cannot be quantified easily or at all. This includes the cost of pain and suffering, the loss of companionship from a spouse or family member, and emotional distress. Most personal injury torts involve compensation for special and general damages.
The amount of compensation received by a personal claimant depends primarily on the extent of the injury and its severity. Some of the highest paid personal injury settlements involve serious physical injuries that cause significant physical pain such as fractures, lost limbs, and brain damage.
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