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John W. Burdick

John W. Burdick


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Personal Injury: What It Is

Personal injury is an area of law designed to protect those harmed by the negligence, recklessness, malpractice, or inaction of others. Also called tort law, personal injury law encompasses a full range of legal claims, from wrongful death, auto accidents, and medical malpractice to defective drugs, product liability, and workers' compensation. Each victim can file a personal injury claim for physical injury, emotional injury, and, occasionally, for property damages. Further, in some cases - such as those involving medical malpractice or wrongful death - the family of the injured or deceased can file suit on behalf of its loved one.

Those who file personal injury claims may be eligible to receive damages, namely financial compensation for their loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent disability, and other resulting injuries. If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, you are encouraged to obtain legal advice from personal injury attorneys in your area.

Understanding Personal Injury Law: Establishing Your Claim

First, realize that if you can demonstrate that 1) the person charged truly bears legal responsibility for your personal injury and 2) that the damages claimed truly reflect the extent of the injury or loss, you may have a personal injury case. Every personal injury case must address these two crucial elements, called liability and damages. These elements, depending on your state, may be established on one of three bases: negligence, strict liability, and intentional wrong. Personal injury attorneys are equipped to explain these bases to you.


If you file your personal injury case as a tort of negligence, you accuse the defendant of causing your injury by failing to prevent it. For example, if a grocery store owner does not properly label a wet floor and you subsequently fall and injure your back, the storeowner may be deemed negligent for failing to properly follow safety regulations. Personal injury attorneys are equipped to handle such claims.

Strict Liability

Strict liability generally applies to product liability law, a division of personal injury. Under strict liability, manufacturers who market defective products that, when used correctly, cause injury, can be prosecuted. For example, if you use a hair dryer as directed and are nonetheless electrocuted, the manufacturer may be found liable, even if he didn't know the defect existed. Strict liability applies whether or not negligence or malice is involved. Personal injury lawyers are equipped to handle such claims.

Intentional Wrong

In some instances, you may claim intentional wrong and pursue a civil personal injury lawsuit in addition to filing criminal charges. Victims of domestic battery or sexual abuse, for example, may file both civil and criminal lawsuits. To find out if your case is eligible, find and ask an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Do You Have a Case?

The following personal injury claims* fall under the heading of personal injury and may be prosecutable:











* Personal injury is a broad, evolving area of law. If you do not see your particular claim here, it is still wise to speak to a personal injury attorney in order to receive trusted legal advice.

How to Proceed with Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you are considering pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, it is wise to find and ask a personal injury lawyer who has the legal expertise, experience, and skill needed to help you build your case and win the compensation you deserve. However, be aware of the statutes of limitations laws in place in your state. Every personal injury claim must be filed within a certain amount of time or it will expire; if a claim expires, it will be barred forever and you will lose your chance to collect compensation.

Find and ask a personal injury attorney in your area.