Getting seriously injured due to the actions of someone else (negligent, reckless, or intentional) can be traumatic.
Knowing what to do afterward can be confusing, especially if it is your first time.
In this article, we’ll explain some of the various common types of personal injury cases attorneys handle to see if your situation justifies a call to an attorney’s office.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
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What Is A Personal Injury Case?
“Personal injury” is a legal term for an injury that someone else is (or might be) legally responsible for.
That injury is usually physical, but can damages in a physical injury case can also include mental and/or emotional suffering associated with the injury.
In isolated situations, a person may seek damages for mental/emotional harm alone (without physical harm).
Personal Injuries Caused By Negligence, Reckless Behavior, and Intentional Behavior
The most common types of personal injury cases (regardless of what type of case it is) results from negligent behavior.
Negligence generally means: the failure to act in accordance with ordinary and reasonable standards of care.
For example, when crossing a street outside of a crosswalk or at a traffic control device, it is normal, ordinary, and reasonable to check both ways for vehicles before entering the roadway.
A ordinary and reasonable person would not walk straight into a roadway outside of a crosswalk or at a traffic control device without looking for vehicles.
Reckless is another term often thrown around in personal injury cases. Recklessness is more serious than negligence, but falls short of an intentional bad act.
When a person knows that an outcome is likely to occur and chooses to act anyway, despite the risk of harm, the person is acting recklessly.
A good example of reckless behavior leading to a personal injury case is driving on a curvy 30+ miles an hour or more above the speed limit.
There is an obvious risk of crashing at that speed given the state of the road, but the driver does it anyway.
Intentional behavior is just that.
Someone acts with the intent that the other person or property be damaged.
Punching someone in the face is a good example.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
The most common personal injury case (and most well known) results from car accidents.
Millions of car accidents occur each year.
Human bodies are not meant to handle the forces involved in car accidents, even low speed collisions.
Because accidents often involve other cars, drivers, pedestrians, businesses, and government agencies that are contributors to the event, these types of personal injuries often require the assistance of an attorney to help the client navigate the process of getting treatment and compensation for her damages.
Many motor vehicle accident cases are pretty straight forward, and do not always require a significant amount of attorney time to handle (staff does most of the work).
Thus motor vehicle accident clients tend to be very attractive.
Common injuries that result from motor vehicle accidents include: whiplash, strained muscles, herniated discs in the neck and back, cuts and bruises, broken bones, TBI (trauma to the brain), concussion, internal bleeding, and more.
Slip/Trip and Falls
Slip and Fall cases are another common kind of personal injury case.
However, these tend to be more complex than motor vehicle accidents, because establishing the contributing fault of the parties involved as well as their legal responsibilities in the matter takes a bit more work.
When someone is injured after slipping or tripping on the property owned or managed by someone else, the person or company who owned and/or managed the property could be liable.
But not always.
Because these cases tend to be more complex, recovery is not necessarily assured.
As a result, lawyers tend to shy away from slip and fall cases unless the fault in the case is pretty clear from the outset.
Common injuries in a slip and fall case include: broken hips, broken legs, broken arms, torn ligaments and tendons, cuts, bruises, and head injuries.
When someone is injured by a product, they may have the right to seek damages for the company that made the product, as well as other companies that were in the chain or manufacture, distribution, marketing, and sale of the product.
Products can be poorly designed (design defect), poorly manufactured/made (manufacturing defect), poorly packaged (inadequate warnings or notifications), and poorly marketed (misrepresenting the uses of the product).
These types of cases are extremely technical, and generally should only be handled by attorneys who have expertise in this area.
The types of injuries received from products varies, depending on the product.
The actions taken by medical staff (doctors, nurses, assistants, and other professionals) can sometimes result in physical damage to their patients.
Sometimes these actions give rise to a cause of action against the medical professional for damages.
Examples of actions which may give rise to a medical malpractice claim include: drug errors, misdiagnosis, failure to treat, treatment errors, surgical errors, inadequate care, medical device failures, birth injuries, and more.
These cases are also quite complex, especially if they involve the death of a loved one.
Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse
The actions taken by those involved in nursing homes are sadly often result in harm to their elderly residents.
While some of the actions rise to only negligent, in other cases, nursing home staff have been proven to be reckless or even intentional in their harmful behavior to their clients.
Residents of nursing homes tend to be extremely vulnerable, physically, mentally, emotionally, or all of the above.
They are fully dependent upon the nursing home to care for them.
More and more, it is being reported that elderly in these homes are not receiving the care their families have paid for: food, clean clothing, bathing, interaction, medication, medical attention, and more.
Sometimes the staff may even act abusively towards residents, causing bruising, cuts, or other physical harm.
Sometimes the negligent or reckless actions of the staff results in the death of the resident.
These are also complex cases, to be handled by attorneys and firms which specialize in them.
Dog bites are common cases in the personal injury world.
Depending on how the bite was received, the owner may be liable to the person injured.
However, most dog bites do not result in lawsuits, as most dog bites are not serious enough to warrant the attention of an attorney or the effort on the part of the person bitten.
People make bad decisions sometimes.
And sometimes people get hurt.
While they are much less common than motor vehicle accidents, personal injury lawsuits for bad/intentional behavior are possible.
It someone intentionally hurts someone else, they may be liable for all the logical consequences of their intentional behavior.
Other Types Of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases arise out of workplace accidents, hazardous conditions on property, food poisoning, asbestos exposure, general business decisions, truck crashes, recreational vehicle crashes, bus collisions, bike wrecks, pedestrian collisions, motorcycle crashes, wrongful death, and more.
What If Your Case Doesn’t Sound Like Any Of These?
Not sure if you have a valid personal injury case?
Best thing to do would be to contact an attorney for a consultation.
Attorneys are used to working with uncommon facts and situations.
They should be able to help you untangle the facts and point you towards more information that will help you make decisions about your case.
Want to learn more as you get ready to meet with your lawyer for the first time?
Browse our free legal library guides for more information.