A personal injury suit is a civil court case as opposed to a criminal one, where one party (the plaintiff) seeks financial compensation for an injury or life-changing event that they feel the other party (the defendant) is responsible for creating.
This means that personal injury suits are a lot less cut and dry than other court cases that can be as simple as considering the circumstances of a case, and proving whether or not the other party is sufficiently culpable. Instead, economic and non-economic damages are all factored in and have to be established to be reasonable based on the particulars of the case. Many different types of injuries can occur in our modern lives, so it is important to know what kind of events may entitle you to compensation. These kinds of cases are typically more centered on restitution as opposed to retribution, meaning the plaintiff seeks for their lives to be brought as close to normal as possible through financial compensation, as opposed to punishing the defendant for what has occurred.
Let us go through some events that may entitle someone to seek out damages, with information courtesy of Altenor Law Firm:
A very common reason people end up seeking a civil suit is due to car accidents. These types of accidents are typically extremely costly, possibly fatal, and extremely traumatizing to all parties involved. The suit may be brought against the driver who’s at fault or their insurance company, depending on their level of coverage. In these circumstances, negligence on the part of the opposing party relating to things like not paying attention to the road, losing control of their car, or even texting and driving can all be brought together to make for a case.
The damages in these types of cases are very often primarily economic, but non-economic damages can factor in as well. The economic damages often sought after are the costs of getting the car repaired, the cost of alternative transportation for the plaintiff to go about their lives (work and others), or even lost wages should the loss of vehicle prove to make the plaintiff unable to get to work. Medical bills suffered by anyone in the car are also brought forward as economic damages.
As far as non-economic damages are concerned, the plaintiff may seek damages based on pain and suffering related to the accident. If the accident resulted in the loss of a loved one that the person relied on for emotional support or the development of a serious psychological disorder as a result of the trauma, non-economic damages would often be sought.
If the negligence of a person or place of business resulted in the loss of life of a loved one, the family members of the deceased might decide to file a wrongful death suit. These suits can be brought against a physician for improper conduct during a medical procedure that resulted in death, or against a business that didn’t provide adequate safeguards to their customers. Someone being hit by a forklift driven by untrained staff or parts of a poorly maintained building falling and killing somebody are common reasons to bring a suit against a place of business.
The economic damages associated with the wrongful death can be numerous and extremely costly. Depending on the plaintiff’s level of medical coverage, they may have to pay for hospital bills even though their family member did not survive the ordeal, which can run into thousands of dollars. The family of the deceased may also seek damages to make up for the lost wages that the family previously depended on to live their lives. Funeral expenses may also be sought by the plaintiff, making wrongful death cases particularly expensive for any defendant.
Non-economic damages are a fixture of wrongful death cases, as the death of a loved one has significant implications on the emotional well-being of their family members that can result in significant pain and suffering. Should the head of a household be the person killed, and the family now has no source of emotional support to anchor their household, they may seek damages to help them move forward after the mourning period has ended.
Surely, everybody is familiar with businesses needing to put up signs, such as wet floor signs or other signs that warn against the possible hazards inside of that place of business. The onus is on the property owner to ensure that their property is safe should they be regularly expecting people to frequent it. Any building should be properly maintained and kept as secure as possible. More often than not, a premises liability case concerns itself mainly with slip and fall type of cases.
Economic damages can be the costs of medication or a surgical procedure to correct whatever damages have occurred. Other things like lost wages are factored in heavily. Essentially, any financial burden the plaintiff has now incurred can be sought as economic damages.
The non-economic damages associated with premises liability cases are more often than not relating to pain and suffering that may result from the development of a chronic injury due to the slip and fall. Should the plaintiff not be able to do activities they previously enjoyed, or suffer a permanent loss of mobility or function that causes them significant distress, it is advised to seek out pain and suffering damages related to the injury.
In rare circumstances, punitive damages may be awarded to the plaintiff by the judge to further motivate the business owner to adequately maintain their property, and warn people of the potential dangers.
Many personal injury cases involve motorcycle accidents as motorcyclists are in more danger on the road than those in cars. For instance, many motorcyclists fit perfectly into the blind spots of certain vehicles, which might result in a driver changing lanes and hitting the motorcyclist. On top of that, there are certain circumstances under which it’s simply not possible for the motorcyclist to recover control of their motorcycle regardless of their skill level. For instance, boxing in a motorcyclist, and then expecting them to make a turn at a sharp angle and unsafe speed can be considered negligent behavior by some courts.
As per usual, the standard economic damages apply here, but more often than not, a motorcycle will not be in working order even after a relatively simple accident, necessitating damages in the form of covering repairs or the cost of a new bike. Medical bills and lost wages will factor in these cases as well. The lack of safety features on motorcycles makes for much more expensive medical bills than accidents involving other means of transportation.
Should the plaintiff suffer permanent loss of function in their body or mental trauma as a result of the accident, it is also likely they will seek non-economic damages to cover the pain and suffering caused by those events. Commonly, when a motorcyclist is sufficiently injured, and they may never be able to ride again, they will seek damages to make restitution for them losing their ability to drive their preferred mode of transportation.
Assault and Battery
The plaintiff and the defendant in these types of personal injury cases typically also have a criminal case involving each other. Should the defendant be proven guilty in the criminal case of assault and battery, a civil suit can then be filed to make up for other damages that have been incurred by the plaintiff.
Any fees relating to lost wages can be sought after the civil court case, as it is likely the plaintiff had to testify in court against the defendant. Any expenses relating to the plaintiff having to go to court and change their lifestyle can be sought, as well as the medical bills relating to any injuries sustained.
An assault is often a malicious and traumatic experience, so it is much more likely that non-economic damages will be brought against the defendant to make up for what the plaintiff has gone through. Should they be afraid to leave their houses or visit the site of their attack, they may be compensated for how that will affect their life.
If this list is any indication, there are many different circumstances under which you may file for damages to help recoup the effect that an unfortunate event may have had on your life. So long as the opposing party caused these damages through negligence or provable fault of their own, there is a good chance you are entitled to payment. Seek out experienced lawyers that will be able to guide you through the individual circumstances of your case, and then inform you if you have enough to work with. Also, if you do think you are going to proceed with a civil personal injury case, it is crucial that you collect all of your receipts and associated documents to help prove your damages to the court.