What comes to mind when you think of personal injury lawsuits? Do you think of the lady who sued McDonald’s after suffering third-degree burns when McDonald’s coffee spilled on her legs? Do you think about the “ambulance chaser” attorneys who advertise on TV at times when people who are too ill to work are most likely to be watching? Do you think about charlatans who slip and fall at big box retailers under dubious circumstances? There is a lot more to personal injury law than just the stereotypes.
What is a ?
Any incident can be the basis of a personal injury lawsuit if it meets the following criteria:
- A person suffered an injury or serious illness.
- The injury was the result of someone’s negligence. In other words, the defendant had a duty not to endanger the plaintiff, and the defendant allegedly breached that duty.
The defendant did not intentionally harm the plaintiff. Rather, the injury was the result of a mistake on the defendant’s part or of an accident caused by the defendant’s lack of caution.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
The criteria for personal injury lawsuits are sufficiently open-ended that almost any kind of accident or mistake can be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit, as long as someone got injured. The following are some of the more common types of personal injury cases
- Accidents: Accidents involving vehicles such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, and boats are often the subject of personal injury cases.
- Premises Liability: The defendant is the owner of a public place, such as a store, restaurant, or golf course where the plaintiff gets injured. A classic example is when a plaintiff gets injured after slipping and falling on a wet floor at a store.
- Product Liability: Consumers get injured or become ill after using a product, and the manufacturers of the product failed to warn consumers about the risks of the product. One classic example is the man who won a lawsuit against a microwave popcorn manufacturer after the court determined that the artificial butter flavor in the popcorn caused the plaintiff’s lung disease. Another example is the people who suffered from liver problems, sometimes even requiring liver transplants, because of unintentional overdoses of acetaminophen.
- Medical Malpractice: A patient’s condition worsens because of mistakes on the part of a physician or hospital staff.
- Nursing Home Neglect: Nursing home patients get sicker when the employees of the nursing home fail to care for the patients adequately. It is often a result of understaffing, and common complaints in nursing home neglect cases include infections because of lack of proper infection control on the part of the staff, bedsores because staff members left patients in the same position for too long, and broken bones because the nursing home staff did not observe proper fall prevention measures.
Not every accident is grounds for a personal injury case. If you think that your injury was the result of unnecessary dangers caused by a person, place, or product, consult a the attorneys at Ferguson, Rawls & Raines for help.