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What Qualifies as a Personal Injury?

Mar 31st, 2022

While most of us try to live as safely as possible, it’s impossible to live in this world without some risk of injury. Accidents happen all the time, whether it’s on the roadways or in our own homes. Many times, these mishaps cause injury, and if that injury happens through someone else’s fault or negligence, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. But what, exactly, constitutes a “personal injury?” And how do you know if your injury is eligible for compensation?

The Legal Definition of Personal Injury

Personal injury is a legal term used to describe any type of injury that occurs as the result of another person’s fault, negligence, or intent to harm. This can include physical injuries, such as broken bones or whiplash, as well as emotional and psychological injuries, such as anxiety or PTSD caused by trauma or abuse. It can also encompass the onset of illness due to toxic exposure, for example. The Legal Information Institute puts it this way: “Personal injuries include every variety of injury to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation.”

In order to qualify for a personal injury lawsuit, the injury must have been sustained due to someone else’s actions or inactions, whether intentionally or through negligence. Obtaining compensation then becomes a matter of proving that the other person caused the injury and is therefore legally liable.

Examples of Personal Injury

When we think of personal injury, most people think in terms of vehicle accidents and slip-and-fall accidents—mainly because these are the most common types of cases we see. But there are many other examples of these cases, including some you might not expect. These other examples include:

  • Assault and battery. If someone assaults you, they may be charged with a crime—but you may also file a civil lawsuit to cover any physical injuries and/or emotional distress.
  • Medical negligence and malpractice. Harm inflicted through medical errors, botched surgery, prescription errors, etc., also qualify as personal injury.
  • Product liability. Manufacturers who produce unsafe products can be held liable for any injuries their products cause. During the holiday season, for example, if a child receives a poorly made toy that breaks and sends a plastic shard into their eye, the manufacturer should pay damages. (Prevent Blindness America has declared December “Safe Toy and Gifts Month” to raise awareness of these issues.
  • Toxic exposure. For example, if you become ill from toxic mold that a landlord left untreated, or got cancer from asbestos exposure at work, you may be eligible for compensation.
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress. Not all personal injury is physical. If someone causes you psychological issues through a pattern of verbal/emotional abuse, they may be legally liable for it.
  • Defamation or libel. If you’re a public figure and someone spreads misinformation that causes you to lose income, you may be able to file a personal injury suit over damage to your reputation.

How Do I Know if I Have a Personal Injury Case?

If you sustain a personal injury, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that the other party is responsible for your injuries. That’s often easier said than done. The best way to know if you have a provable case is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Call our offices today to schedule a free consultation.