When you hear the words “personal injury law,” you probably think of bodily injuries, but it also extends to property damages, lost wages, and a number of other potential losses after an accident. What really sets personal injury law apart from other areas of the law is that it is not based on a violation of criminal law. Instead, it is based on wrongdoing that does not constitute a criminal law violation but still harms another person. You can have a criminal case and a personal injury case at the same time, but the legal standards are different. Personal injury law is based on tort law.
An Overview of Tort Law
Wrongdoing is another name for the legal term “tort,” which comes from a Latin term meaning “harm” or “wrong.” Personal injury lawsuits are civil cases that often involve accidents.
Tort cases are based on a legal concept known as “negligence.” The term is synonymous with carelessness, disregard, or inattention. If someone was negligent, he or she acted in a way that fell below the standard of care for the situation. That is, the person did not conduct his or herself in a way that a reasonable person would have in a similar situation.
For example, consider a simple traffic accident in which one party runs a red light and hits another vehicle. The party who ran the red light is negligent because he did not obey the traffic laws. A reasonable person would have obeyed the traffic laws. Therefore, the party that ran the red light is negligent.
Negligence is often explained as a breach of a duty to another person. In the context of traffic, for example, all drivers have a duty to be careful and attentive behind the wheel. Failure to pay attention or to follow the rules of the road often results in a breach of a person’s duty to other drivers. In such situations, if the person’s breach caused harm, that could result in legal liability.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury claims involve a variety of legal claims. Some of the most common types of personal injury claims include:
- Vehicle accidents
- Products liability
- Slip-and-fall cases
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous drugs or medical devices
- Wrongful death
- Airplane and boating accidents
Although accidents that happen at work are technically considered personal injury, they are usually addressed under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws.
Compensation in a Personal Injury Case
When you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you can pursue compensation for your injuries and losses. Compensation may include payments for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, lost future earning capacity, future medical treatment, and more.
Compensation in a personal injury case is commonly referred to as “damages.” Damages are designed to put you back in the same state as you would have been if the accident never occurred. Although money can never truly put your life back together, it does help with some of the changes you may experience after an accident.
Learn more about personal injury cases and whether you have legal options after an injury by contacting Williams Elleby at 833 – LEGALGA.