Without warning, your life can change in an instant: you are the victim of a serious injury. There are probably a million and one thoughts and emotions racing through your mind. What caused this injury? Surely it was an accident, right? Although the events leading up to the injury might seem like an accident, the injury may have potentially been caused by someone’s negligence. In essence, this is personal injury. Personal injury, a subsection of tort law, allows an injured party to receive compensation when another party’s wrongful conduct, whether negligence or intentional action, leads to harm. There are a plethora of possible scenarios that may give rise to a legitimate personal injury claim. However, it is crucial to note that not every injury equates to automatic legal liability.
Continue reading this article to learn more about the common causes of personal injury lawsuits.
Vehicular Accident Cases
With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s prediction of an up to 50 percent increase in vehicular accident-related injuries and deaths in the United States, it is not surprising that vehicular accidents are where most personal injury lawsuits arise from. Vehicular accident cases include accidents that involve automobiles, boats, planes, trains, bicycles, busses, golf carts, or virtually any other moving vehicle within this broad category. Usually, when a vehicular accident takes place, it is because a party is not following the rules of the road (or air or sea, depending on the type of vehicle). Even if the party is following the applicable rules and regulations and not breaking any laws, they may not be exercising the level of caution they ought to be. A careless person operating a vehicle can typically be held financially liable for the injuries that stem from a vehicular accident. Although, there are exceptions to this general rule in “no-fault” states, such as New York. In “no-fault” states, drivers must collect from their owner insurers, except in cases of “serious injury.”
Products Liability Cases
Products liability cases can be brought for injuries that stem from any malfunctioned product; this may include a defective medical device, cell phone, air pump, or kitchen mixer. A product liability case can be brought against multiple defendants. If you have been injured by a defective product and wish to pursue a claim to recover for your injuries, you must first identify which individuals and companies you may be able to hold liable. From there, you will name as many viable parties as defendants in your claim. Even though the naming process may prove to be difficult, depending on the product you were injured by, it is still best for you and your personal injury lawyer to do your due diligence to dig up as many possible defendants as possible, as this will increase your odds of receiving full recovery for your sustained injuries. These are all the parties in the chain of distribution that can potentially be held liable in a products liability lawsuit:
- Manufacturer. The manufacturer of the injury-causing product is at the very starting point of the chain of distribution. Suppose the defective product that caused your injury is a component of a larger product. In that scenario, you could include both the manufacturer of the defective product, as well as the manufacturer of the whole product that contains the defective part. To take as an example, if you were severely injured by an exploding cellphone battery, you would bring a defective productive liability claim against both the manufacturer of the cellphone and the manufacturer of the cellphone battery.
- Wholesaler, Supplier, and Distributor. The wholesaler, supplier, and distributor are considered the “middle man” of the chain of distribution. As such, they could each potentially be held liable for the distribution of the defective product. Meaning, these parties could be named defendants in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Retailer. Although the retail store you purchased the injury-causing product may not have had any impact on the manufacturing process of the product, the retail store could still be held liable for selling a defective product.
Medical Malpractice Cases
A medical malpractice case may arise after a health care professional provides treatment that falls under the industry’s standard of care. However, a medical malpractice case does not arise from just a health care professional’s failure to meet the standard of care. Rather, this failure must result in a patient’s injury or death. On the flip side, a medical malpractice case cannot be brought against a health care professional because of a negative result in a treatment. Medical malpractice cases must meet a two-pronged test:
- Negligence. The doctor, nurse, hospital, or health care professionals failed to meet the standard of care and acted carelessly and negligently.
- Injury or death. The patient was injured or suffered a fatality after being under the health care professional’s care.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Stemming From Dog Bites
Sometimes, a man’s best friend acts uncharacteristically and bites or injures someone. In the majority of cases, the dog’s owner will be held financially responsible for any bites or injuries that are caused by the dog. Though, dog owner responsibility laws vary from state-to-state. Generally, there are three categories of laws that a state will follow regarding dog bite personal injury cases.
- Strict liability rules. In states that have strict liability dog owner responsibility laws, the dog owner is always going to be held liable for dog bite damages, even if the dog has never previously shown any signs of aggression or propensity to bite.
- “One bite” rules. The “one bite” rule dictates that owners are only held liable for personable injury damages once the owner is made aware that their dog is aggressive or is prone to biting.
- “Mixed” states. As its name suggest, “mixed” states mix the one-bite rule with a limited degree of strict liability. A dog owner will be held liable for a victim’s medical and/or veterinary expenses if the dog has been previously adjudicated as a “dangerous dog.” For other damages and cases, the victim bears the burden of proof and must show that the dog has had the dangerous tendency to bite people and that the dog owner knew. New York follows the “mixed” rule.
Read more about personal injury law here or click to learn more about car accident cases.