What is a personal injury? Definition and examples

A personal injury is a physical injury that your body suffers rather than damage to something you own or your reputation. It is a legal term for an injury to a part of your body. It also includes injury to a person’s mind or emotions.

Personal Injury - image showing many types
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Often, the physical, mental, or emotional harm is caused by another party. A personal injury does not necessarily have to be inflicted deliberately. However, to pursue a lawsuit, it is typically somebody else’s or another organization’s fault. For example, you may have become injured at work because your employer did not fully adhere to safety standards. Even if they complied with all rules and regulations, it may still be their fault. Most personal injuries are the result of accidents, which lawyers try to prove is somebody’s fault.

Cornell Law School has the following definition of the term:

“An injury not to property, but to the body, mind, or emotions. For example, if you slip and fall on a banana peel in the grocery store, personal injury covers any actual physical harm (broken leg and bruises) you suffered in the fall as well as the humiliation of falling in public, but not the harm of shattering your watch.”

Personal Injury Law or Tort Law

We refer to personal injury law as tort law. The word tort emerged in the English language in the mid-thirteenth century with the meaning “injury, wrong.” It came from the Old French word tort, which meant “crime, injustice, wrong.” The Old French word came from the Medieval Latin word tortum, meaning “injustice.”

A wide variety of types of personal injury claims come under the umbrella term tort law.

Types of personal injury claims

Personal injury claims may be the result of:

  • Occupational accidents. An injury that a worker sustains in the workplace is known as an occupational injury.
  • Product defect accidents.
  • Road traffic accidents.
  • Tripping or slipping.
  • Assault claims.
  • Medical malpractice.
  • Dog (animal) bites.
  • Defamation – libel and slander.
  • False arrest or imprisonment.

The majority of claims in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and many other parts of the world involve injury from road traffic accidents.

Should you hire a lawyer?

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer - image for article 49939
Freepik.com image adapted by Market Business News.

Filing a personal injury claim is definitely something you should do with a specialized professional if you want to win your case and get the best settlement possible. This is especially the case if the injury is a serious one.

In one of our previous articles, I wrote:

“Filing a personal injury claim demands legal expertise. You can’t possibly handle everything on your own. And this is particularly true if you’ve been seriously injured.”

“Working with a professional will ensure that you get a fair settlement within the shortest time possible.”

A specialized legal professional will fight your case without being affected by irrelevant and possibly detrimental factors. Personal injuries can trigger emotional reactions; being in pain or feeling resentful can affect your ability to pursue a case objectively.

If you are worried about costs, ask your lawyer if they work on a no-win-no-fee basis. Many law practices do.

Protecting your business from lawsuits

Any business or organization can become the target of a personal injury lawsuit. Even if it does not have a workforce. If you own a small store that you manage alone, you may get sued if somebody slips on your premises and suffers an injury.

To prevent or reduce your vulnerability to lawsuits, consider following these tips:

  • Take measures to reduce the risk of accidents to a minimum.
  • Review your business’ safety measures periodically.
  • If you purchase new equipment, make sure those who use it get the proper training.
  • Have a strict limit on the number of hours your drivers can work continuously.
  • Take out an insurance policy such as Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Liability Insurance.

In one of our previous articles, Veronica Cruz wrote:

“Precautions are, of course, the first line of defense against personal injury lawsuits, but if you have already been sued, lawyer up immediately.”

“Do not call the individual who filed the lawsuit, and don’t try to negotiate with their lawyer on your own because that’s what your personal injury defense lawyer is supposed to do for you.”