What is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law (also referred to as tort law) is the legal remedy and defense involved in civil claims filed due to a wrongful act. Unlike criminal law, personal injury law doesn’t include the government prosecuting the defendant. Instead, it involves a private victim, pursuing monetary compensation for the injury they sustained due to the wrongdoer’s actions.

The law is designed to help victims who have suffered injuries due to the actions or inactions of other people to recover financial compensation. But since the burden of proof lies on the victim, sometimes it can be difficult for them to get fair compensation from the defendant or their insurance companies, partly because they are not well versed with the process and also because they are unaware of the extent of damage at the time of compensation. Working with experienced attorneys like Cohen, Placitella and Roth gives the victim an upper hand over their personal injury cases and helps them to get compensation for their damages.

A majority of personal injury claims are based on negligence. Ideally, negligence needs all members of society to be responsible and not put others at risk. But this doesn’t mean that neglect will be ruled every time a person gets hurts, as some accidents cannot be avoided. To show that the other party was negligent, the victim has to prove that another person in the same position as the defendant would have acted differently in the same scenario. Like in a hospital setup, the victim needs to prove that another medical practitioner would have offered an alternative treatment, or paid closer attention to the issue, than what the doctor who attended to them did.

Other examples of negligence include animal bites that happen when animals are allowed to roam around freely, automobile accidents, slipping and falling accidents and so on. In such cases, the liable party ignored their duty to exercise reasonable care, which leads to the injury.

If the victim proves the four elements of negligence lawsuit: duty, breach, causation, and damages (which basically shows that the defendant’s actions or inactions lead to their injury and that their injury can be compensated in monetary terms), then the defendant has to pay for all damages that resulted due to their negligence.

While some damages like medical bills and property damages are easy to calculate, others like the loss of earning capacity, emotional distress are not. In such cases, expert testimony may be needed to establish the current and future damages. Punitive damages may also be included.

Besides negligence, personal injury can also occur due to another person’s intentional acts – where the defendant acts purposefully to harm the victim. Examples include infliction of emotional pain, theft, trespass, battery, false imprisonment, character assassination and so on. There are instances where the defendant will still be held responsible even though they did everything in their power to prevent the harm from happening. Strict liability applies when a victim is hurt due to the defendant’s acts, even if the activity is legal and all safety measures were taken – transporting dangerous materials and building demolitions are great examples.