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Grupo MedLegal® > Legal Matters > Personal Injuries

Personal Injuries

Personal injuries can be defined legally as any damage or type of aggression to a person’s body or mental or emotional state, whether intentionally or unintentionally caused. However, the term is also used to refer to the civil liability in which one person accuses another of being responsible for an injury due to negligence.

What are the most common types of personal injury? There are many kinds of personal injuries occurring from day to day due to the negligence or misconduct of another person. However, per US law, there are many practice areas related to personal injuries, each one with its own rules and regulations. The most frequent types of personal injury cases are the following:

Injuries Related to Car Accidents

Any harm suffered during an accident, whether as a pedestrian or driver.

Slips and Falls

For example, slipping because of liquid spilled in a store aisle.

Dog Bites

Any injuries to any part of the body.

Physical Assault

Any injury from assault or robbery.

Injuries from Defective Products

Any injury caused by the use of a product.

Whether intentional or unintentional, personal injuries are the main cause of death among Americans under 35 years of age, forming the fifth greatest cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that nearly 40% of these injuries happen while people are carrying out everyday activities, while exercising, or even while enjoying leisure activities; perhaps surprisingly, 44% happen within the home.

What damages or consequences result from personal injuries?

When a person suffers an injury because of an accident or tragedy, these injuries are generally devastating not just for the person harmed but also for their family: implying suffering, concern, medical expenses, and lost time, meaning lost salary. Many times, the process is unfair and painful for the person injured, not only because of consequences (trauma, the inability to do physical activities, or emotional harm) but also because they will experience emotional and financial stress through no fault of their own. To right this injustice, the law allows those who suffer personal injuries to file a claim against the responsible party to recover compensation for the harm they have suffered. The purpose of this compensation is to restore the person to their condition prior to the accident, and although a lawsuit cannot ease the physical and emotional pain suffered by the victim and family members, at least it can lighten the financial cost required in the process.

About personal injuries and US law

Each year in the United States, thousands of people suffer injuries because of accidents resulting from carelessness or bad intentions. Therefore, the law protects those who are hurt, allowing them to request compensation for damage caused; provided the victim can prove that the other party, whether a person or organization, is responsible for causing the injury, whether directly or indirectly (better known as cases of negligence). The victim can claim this financial compensation before the courts. However, besides compensation for injuries suffered, the victim can sue for the possible consequences of the injuries and the way in which they can change the victim’s environment and life. For example, a worker who slips and falls in a public place is not able to continue with his daily work, losing his or her salary as another consequence of the injury. This compensation, called “loss of amenity,” accredits the victim with the expenses caused by the loss of time. A successful personal injury lawsuit allows the person to recover the financial loss, and depending greatly on the severity, the settlement will also be greater, as well as the sum awarded for the future consequences.

What is covered by the personal injury compensation?

The victim can claim compensation for personal injuries suffered, loss of salary, loss of future earnings, medical expenses, property damage; and resulting pain, suffering, and disorders. Payment can be secured through a previous agreement or a court case, with payment varying according to the case; as a lump sum or in variable payments over an established period of time. However, this compensation usually consists of the following: Compensation for medical expenses. Medical expenses (current and future), including rehabilitation expenses, must be verified with a medical treatment certificate from doctors and therapists. Compensation for loss of salary. When a person is rendered unable to work, he or she has the right to claim wages lost because of the inability to complete his or her normal activities. Likewise, the victim has the right to claim this compensation in the case of death of the person they were dependent on (spouse or biological parent). Compensation for pain and suffering. The victim’s family or spouse may have the right to a payout in consideration of the pain and suffering caused by the injuries. Other compensation. This includes all expenses incurred when the victim is rendered unable to perform activities of daily living, such as taking care of their children, caring for elderly parents, housekeeping, etc. This is proportionate to the cost of hiring someone to perform these activities. If the victim dies, funeral expenses are also covered.

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