Common Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits
Personal injury law is a set of laws known as torts. These laws allow injured persons or their families to seek compensation when someone else is responsible for the injuries. There are numerous events, actions, omissions, and behaviors that can lead to personal injury lawsuits. Below, you will find a brief description of some of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits.
Common Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits
Not every accident or incident that leaves someone injured is grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. There are, however, several situations that most commonly result in personal injury lawsuits, which are:
Car accidents are the most common type of personal injury lawsuit filed in the United States. In the vast majority of these cases, the accident is a result of carelessness or recklessness, disobeying the law, or not driving carefully enough. Some examples include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Speeding or street racing
- Failing to yield, stop, or obey traffic signals
- Failing to yield to a bicyclist or pedestrian
Drivers who are negligent and cause injury to someone else can be held liable for financial losses including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Drivers can also be held liable for additional expenses if the victim was killed and his or her family files a wrongful death claim.
Medical malpractice is another common type of personal injury lawsuit. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide care that meets accepted standards and a patient is harmed as a result. Some examples of medical malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Medication errors
- Birth injuries
Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex under the umbrella of personal injury law. These cases require a great deal of evidence to prove that the harm caused was due to negligence and not an honest mistake.
Birth injuries are often similar to medical malpractice claims, but they have some unique qualities and complexities specific to the pregnancy, labor, and delivery processes. Birth injuries occur when a healthcare provider – obstetrician, gynecologist, surgeon, nurse, etc. – is negligent in his or her care and the result is injuries to a newborn. Some examples of birth injuries include:
- Delayed birth (labor lasting more than 18 hours)
- Failure to order a Cesarean section (c-section)
- Improper use of assistive tools including forceps or vacuums
- Forced or traumatic delivery
- Improper administration of drugs
- Failure to properly monitor fetal and maternal vital signs
- Failure to respond to warning signs or complications in a timely manner
Any of these birth injuries could result in lasting complications and medical conditions for you and your child. Birth injuries, especially those causing oxygen deprivation or brain damage, lead to disorders like epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and cognitive disorders.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are another common reason why people file personal injury lawsuits. Property owners (or other parties deemed legally responsible) have a duty to keep their properties free of hazards. That means ensuring that the property is safe, and that taking action to prevent injuries from occurring. Some examples of situations that lead to slip and fall accidents include:
- Torn or ripped carpeting
- Wet spots due to spills, leaks, etc.
- Objects left in the walkway
- Improper lighting on sidewalks and stairs
- Lack of safety or warning signage
- Loose or broken concrete
Sometimes, accidents cannot be prevented or foreseen, and these incidents cannot be used to file a personal injury claim. If, however, the property owner failed to keep the property safe and free from these hazards, or failed to correct dangerous hazards, then he or she could be liable for injuries that occur.
Dog bites are another common type of personal injury case. Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure that their dog is properly cared for and secured, and is not a danger to others. The reality is that dogs are animals with instincts that don’t always line up with good intentions by humans. Even dogs who have never shown aggression can become spooked or agitated, which can lead them to act out.
When a dog bites someone, the owner is financially responsible for any medical expenses and pain and suffering resulting from the injuries. Dog bites can cause extreme physical injuries, and sometimes lead to infections. If dogs are not properly cared for by a veterinarian, bites can also cause disease like rabies. For many people, dog bites are also emotionally traumatic, which is another form of damages often sought in personal injury cases.
Defective products is another type of personal injury lawsuit filed commonly. There are three types of defective product claim, which are:
- Defective Design: Relates to claims that a product was defectively designed and as such is inherently dangerous.
- Defective Manufacturing: Relates to claims that a defect in manufacturing caused the product to be dangerous causing injury. Some examples of defects in manufacturing include:
- Auto recalls due to defective parts
- Recalled car seats or high chairs, that may not function properly
- Products meant for human consumption that are found to have poisonous substances or chemicals
- Failure to Warn: Failure to provide adequate warning or labeling as to the proper use of, or risks associated with, the product. Some examples of this type of claim include:
- A drug manufacturer failing to put side effects on labels.
- Failure to warn consumers about the risk of burns or other injuries possible if the product is not used properly.
- Failure to warn consumers of a known defect or danger in products being sold.
Getting Help with Personal Injury Lawsuits
Even though there are many situations that may seem like they would be grounds for a case, it is important to remember that in order for a personal injury lawsuit to be successful, the injured party must prove that the other person acted negligently or intentionally. To find out whether your situation could be a personal injury lawsuit, contact our office to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.