What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury is a legal term that describes a mental, emotional or physical injury to the body, as opposed to an injury to property. A personal injury lawsuit is a type of tort lawsuit under civil law where the person bringing the suit (the plaintiff) has suffered a personal injury and is suing the person(s) who injured them (the defendant(s)) to recover damages for their injuries. In most cases, a personal injury attorney is retained by the plaintiff to handle the action.
What are personal injury damages?
Personal injury damages are a calculation of the losses suffered by the plaintiff. A personal injury lawyer is best qualified to identify all damages and provide an accurate assessment of the settlement you are entitled to. Some states have caps on personal injury awards, but that is not the case in Washington State.
Personal injury damages vary widely from personal injury case to personal injury case and this makes sense when you consider all the types of injuries that personal injury law covers. Damages are divided into economic and non-economic categories.
Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Long-term care expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Loss of earnings capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional anguish
- Damage to reputation
- Loss of enjoyment of life/activities
Types of injuries covered by personal injury law
There are many types of injuries covered by personal injury law. Here are the major types:
- Injuries caused by accidents (car accidents are the most common but also includes accidents that happen on a social host’s property, slip and fall accidents, pedestrian accidents, and maritime accidents, among others.)
- Injuries caused by defective products
- Injuries caused by medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Birth injuries
- Victims of sexual abuse
- Defamation of character
- Nursing home abuse
- Assault & battery
- Traumatic brain injuries
Who are plaintiffs in personal injury claims?
The plaintiff is the person who was injured because of the negligence (tort) or intentional act (intentional tort) of another. In some cases, there can be more than one responsible party (defendant) for the injury and the plaintiff may be able to sue all of them to recover the compensation they deserve. In some cases, having more than one party potentially responsible for an injury works to the defendant’s advantage because they can argue that it was another other party who is actually at fault.
Determining fault in a personal injury case
When a person is injured in an accident and a claim is made, insurance companies must first decide who is at fault in the accident. If the case is brought to trial, a jury will be assigned the task of determining fault. In some cases, depending on state law, the injured party will be assigned a certain degree of fault and that can reduce the settlement they are entitled to collect based on the percentage of fault assigned to them.
Seek the help of a personal injury attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!