Personal Injury Lawsuits

What Exactly is a Personal Injury?

A personal injury is a physical, mental, or emotional injury and lawsuits usually result when the injury is caused by negligence on the behalf of another individual, business or other entity.  Personal injury claims should be made as soon as possible since most states have a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time you have to file a claim.  There are a wide range of accidents that are eligible for a personal injury claim.  The three most common types of accidents are auto accidents, slip and falls, and defective products (also known as product liability).  The amount of compensation for a personal injury will primarily depend on the severity of the injury.  Serious injuries that cause intense pain and suffering will tend to receive the highest injury settlement.  However many personal injury cases involve only minor injuries but you may still be entitled to substantial monetary damages. Medical expenses, no matter how small they are, including hospital expenses, medication, personal therapy, can be recovered.  In addition, in cases of extreme negligence, punitive damages can be recovered to ensure that the conduct is not repeated in the future.

Damages and Injuries

Injuries can come from many different sources -- they may result from an intentional act (such as physical battery or slander), the negligent production of dangerous prescription drugs, or even tainted food.

When you become injured through no fault (or limited fault) of your own, and another party is to blame, you may have a legitimate claim for damages.

Damages is a legal term that refers to the monetary compensation the plaintiff is claiming the defendant is liable for. These damages are intended to make the injured party "whole," according to legal theory. In some cases, the plaintiff may seek punitive damages on top of compensatory damages to punish the defendant for particularly unconscionable acts.


Mediation is a common way of resolving personal injury cases without going to trial.  It is now one of the most widely used methods of arriving at a reasonable compromise settlement in a personal injury claim. Mediation is most frequently used in claims that would be the most expensive and difficult to litigate to a jury verdict.  When approached effectively, it ends the claim or litigation without any further cost to the client; when it fails the injured individual proceeds to use the regular procedures of jury trial and litigation without any penalties. Mediation is an extremely cost-effective procedure that could save the injured person an enormous amount of money in litigation expenses.

How can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

If you have suffered a personal injury it is likely that an attorney will secure more damages than you can for yourself. However, personal injury is a specialized field and only certain attorneys are qualified to handle these cases.  For example, a corporate attorney specializing in contract law would not be the best choice for a personal injury case.  There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a personal injury attorney.  Although all attorneys have attended law school and passed the bar exam this does not necessarily qualify them to handle your personal injury claim. The following questions should be considered when choosing a personal injury attorney:

  • How long has the attorney being in practice?
  • Does the attorney have experience in similar cases?
  • What is the attorney’s record in recovering damages for clients?
  • Is the attorney prepared to take cases on a contingency basis and does he have the financial resources to do so?

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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