Sudden injuries are painful and distressing. A serious injury may even have life-altering consequences. But when an injury occurs directly due to negligence on the part of another person or business, or from someone else’s wrongdoing, it’s especially traumatic. What’s worse—an injury victim could be left to suffer serious financial damages at the same time they are trying to focus on their physical recovery. That’s why many injured victims of negligence file personal injury claims in order to recover their financial damages as well as compensation for their pain and suffering.
Accidents happen in a variety of ways, but many are preventable when people take reasonable care. When someone fails in their duty to take reasonable measures to prevent harm, they are liable for damages in a personal injury case. In the U.S., there are some types of injuries that quickly become costly, giving rise to a number of common personal injury claims—each with specific legal considerations.
The most common personal injury cases involve traffic accidents. An astonishing 2,497,657 people were injured in traffic-related accidents in 2021. Because motor vehicles travel at high rates of speed, the potential for serious injuries in an accident is significant. Common traffic-related personal injury cases include:
Every traffic accident has a cause. The most common cause by far is driver error, but other causes could include weather conditions, roadway hazards, malfunctioning traffic lights, or defective auto parts. In traffic-accident personal injury claims, a thorough investigation of the accident takes place in order to find the cause. If the accident was caused by negligence on the part of another driver, a city road service, or a defective auto part, proving liability in a traffic accident requires careful consideration of the following legal points:
When the evidence in a case clearly demonstrates the above points, the party at fault is liable for damages—typically paid through their auto insurance policy.
A property owner owes a duty of reasonable care to ensure that those who enter their property are safe from dangerous hazards. This applies to commercial property owners, such as the owner of a store or restaurant who have an open invitation to guests, and personal property owners who must sometimes expect others to enter their property, such as delivery workers, neighbors, and children. If there is an obvious hazard that the property owner should reasonably identify and they fail to address that hazard, they are responsible for damages if a person is injured. Common premises liability cases include:
According to the National Safety Council, 42,114 people died in slip-and-fall accidents in 2020, making it the second leading cause of accidental deaths.
Proving fault in premises liability cases requires showing the following:
Damages for a premises liability claim such as a slip-and-fall accident or a pool accident are typically paid through the liability policy of a property owner’s commercial or private property insurance.
The majority of workers who are injured in the workplace have their financial losses covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation coverage in exchange for signing away the right to file a lawsuit. However, when the injury happened directly due to an employer’s negligence or because of a third party’s fault—such as negligence on the part of a contractor—the injury victim may benefit from a workplace injury claim rather than workers’ compensation. The liability insurance of a business owner typically covers workplace injuries caused by negligence. Proving negligence in a workplace injury requires demonstrating the following:
Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for all of their employees.
Manufacturers owe consumers a duty of care to produce safe, reliable products with clear safety instructions and/or warning labels. When they fail in this duty and their failure results in a serious injury, they are liable for the damages. The most common defective product claims involve the following:
When a manufacturer produces a product with a defective design, incorrect assembly, or an inadequate label, they are responsible for damages through their liability insurance.
Medical malpractice is another common source of personal injury claims. Shockingly, some studies show that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, as well as causing many serious injuries. Unlike typical personal injury claims, the legal considerations for a medical malpractice claim require proving that the provider at fault had a “special duty of care” rather than a “reasonable duty of care.” Doctors, nurses, and other providers have a duty to treat patients to the industry-accepted standard of care. Proving liability in a medical malpractice case requires showing the following:
A medical provider’s malpractice liability insurance covers damages to the victim such as the costs of corrective medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, it could also provide coverage for long-term disability if the malpractice caused serious lasting harm.
Only about 5% of personal injury cases require a lawsuit in court. Around 95% of claims are settled out of court through an insurance policy once a personal injury attorney in New Haven clearly demonstrates the legal considerations of liability and how it applies to each unique case.