Types of Personal Injuries

Personal Injury: Tort Law

      “Personal injury” is a broad category of cases involving harms and losses a person suffers because of another’s negligence.  This has been traditionally called tort law.  A tort is defined as, “A wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability.”  The types of torts over which a claimant can sue include:

  • Intentional Torts
  • Negligence
  • Product Liability
  • Nuisance
  • Defamation

Injuries for which a victim of a tort may recover are bodily and pecuniary (or financial) injuries.

Initial Determinations

      A claimant must make three initial determinations before deciding to pursue a personal injury claim:

  1. Can they establish liability? That is to say, is someone responsible for what happened?
  2. Did they suffer damages as a result of the act or omission to which they were a victim? To what extent?
  3. Is there a source of recovery? Does the person who caused the harm have insurance that would cover them or do they have assets sufficient to fully compensate the victim? 

If any of these components is missing, the claim will be unsuccessful.

Most Common Type of Personal Injury: Negligence

      The most common tort litigated is negligence.  A negligence claim has elements the claimant must prove in order to have a successful case. 

  • First, they must show the defendant owed a duty to the claimant not to engage in a particular type of conduct. 
  • Second, a claimant must show the defendant breached that duty. 
  • And third, a claimant must show that the defendant’s conduct caused the claimant’s damages. 

      A common example of a negligence claim is a motor vehicle collision.  Drivers owe a duty to everyone around them to drive safely.  If a driver fails to drive safely and crashed into someone, the driver is responsible for the harms and losses their victim suffers that are a direct result of the collision.