Personal injury refers to injury which is caused unintentionally by another’s failure to use reasonable care. The definition of reasonable care is determined on a case-by-case basis. The types of damages the injured party may recover include:
- loss of earnings capacity
- pain and suffering
- emotional distress
- loss of consortium or companionship
- property damage
- reasonable medical expenses
- costs and attorney fees
They include both present and future expected losses. The primary aim of personal injury or accident law is to provide relief for the damages incurred. Liability is based upon the offender’s failure to exercise reasonable care, where such failure could foreseeably result in the harm which actually occurred to the injured party. A person may be liable for the injury caused through negligent or reckless action.
Medical Malpractice, Catastrophic Injury, Slip and Fall, Product Liability and Car Accident cases are all forms of personal injury. This area of law is complex and controversial, and many of its critics are pushing for various forms of tort reform to limit tort litigation, contingency fees and the amount of damages that can be awarded.
Personal injury lawyers often represent plaintiffs on a contingency fee basis, wherein the plaintiff does not pay legal fees unless and until the plaintiff wins the case and then the lawyer receives a percentage of the recovery as his or her fee. If the plaintiff doesn’t prevail, no fee is owed.
If the parties in a personal injury case cannot agree to an out-of-court settlement, the claim may proceed to trial in a civil court, which is a lengthy process. This can be a state or federal trial court, although most personal injury lawsuits are heard in state court, and the decision is subject to review by an appeals court. In instances where the amount of recovery sought is minimal, the personal injury case may be tried in a small claims court.
If you believe you need a lawyer or need further information, call our office in Bethlehem PA or New York City.