Personal injury, which often falls under tort law, refers to bodily harm caused by another party, either intentionally or unintentionally. A single injured party in California can file a lawsuit, or multiple parties can file a class-action suit against a business that caused them harm. Outcomes of cases can vary by the type of suit and the laws of the state.
Types of personal injury
Common personal injury cases include motor vehicle accidents and slips and falls. Cases commonly occur because of negligence that causes bodily harm.
Medical malpractice occurs when a person in the medical field causes harm to a patient, usually unintentionally. This could be due to misdiagnosis, an unneeded procedure or a medication mistake. Intentional torts occur from harm the defendant intended to cause, such as assault.
It’s important to note that personal injury cases do not have to involve physical injury. They can also include defamation in which one party spreads malicious information about another person.
Many states enact duty of care laws that make a property owner or manufacturer liable for damages. The prosecutor must typically establish some factors as proof. They must prove that the defendant owned the duty of care and breached the duty of care, and that breach caused an injury.
Sometimes, the duty of care can be easily established in personal injury cases. For example, drivers have the obligation to follow rules to avoid accidents. If they violate the law and injure a person with their vehicle, the injured party has a right to sue them.
In slip and fall cases, duty of care can be trickier to prove since a plaintiff must establish that the owner should have known about and remedied a problem on their property. Some states have comparative fault laws, which means the plaintiff must take some responsibility for clumsiness and/or carelessness.
Personal injury cases usually involve working with insurance companies to make a settlement. When parties can’t reach a settlement, the case will probably go to court, making it important for the plaintiff to seek legal representation.