Personal injury is a term that is commonly used in law and legal capacities. It refers to injury that is caused to the body, mind or emotions instead of property or inanimate object. In legal terms, personal injury may be caused because of negligence on another individual’s part or as an attempt to defame another individual. Personal injury damages include injury to the body, intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) and the negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED).
Personal Injury: Owing to negligence:
According to the tort law on personal injury due to negligence, if you, as an injured person prove that the accused person demonstrated negligence or acted negligently, then you can recover the damages that are caused, as compensation. Damages may be considered a type of award. This is usually monetary in nature and must be paid to the person who is entitles for the compensation. If a case of negligence is proved, you, as an injured plaintiff, are entitles to claim damages that have harmed your body, property, mental well-being, financial status or intimate relationships as well. Moreover, it must be noted that negligence cases are based on solid evidence and facts which eventually entitle a person to the damages that must be paid. As a part of the law of liability, the law of negligence is only a small aspect of a bigger picture. Cases of negligence must be proven with conviction and logic in order to recover the compensation.
Personal Injury: Owing to defamation:
Defamation, also known as calumny, vilification or traducement, in legal terms is the announcement and spread of false information and statements. These statements are meant to harm the repute and character of individual or multiple entities such as businesses, product groups, governments, religions or countries as well. There are various other types of defamations as well, which are based on false accusations and information. For a claim to be considered as defamation, it must first of all be false and made by a person other than the defamed person. That is to say, one cannot defame themselves! Two other types of defamation include spoken defamation known as slander and defamation in other media such as printed words or pictures which is called libel. In certain civil law authorities, defamation is considered a serious crime. This also includes freedom of speech in certain cases, especially by belief of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Personal Injuries: A dictionary of types
There are several types of personal injuries. Some of the most prominent ones include road traffic accidents, work place related accidents, claims of assault, domestic accidents, defects in the products and accidents related to those and vacation accidents. Another type personal injury related accident are medical and dental accidents, leading to medical negligence and related claims. Moreover, conditions that may fall in the category of industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesotheliomia, pulmonary diseases (These include emphysems, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive airways etc.), occupational deafness, occupational stress and continuous strain injury cases.
Compensation depends on the intent or extent of negligence by the responsible party which has been accused. As mentioned before, compensation is usually monetary and is transferred after a court settlement or judgement. However, in more advanced jurisdictions such as the United States of America, the compensation transfer system is rather complex and a tedious form of the tort reform. As a normal practice, personal injury attorneys represent their plaintiff’s after asking for a contingent fee has been settled. Contingent fee is also known as a conditional fee and is only realized when the results are in favour of the personal injury lawyer’s client. It is usually extracted out of the net amount recovered by the plaintiff who had originally put the charges on an individual. However, if the case does not go in the favour of the plaintiff, then the personal injury lawyer does not get his fee from the compensated amount that the plaintiff gets.
Damages: What are they in legal terms?
“Damages” is a term which is related to the sum of money that is awarded to the injured party, i.e. the plaintiff. As mentioned before, the injured party usually suffers harm due to negligence which may be intentional, reckless or a negligent act on part of the defendant. In legal terms, damages maybe categorized as special or general. Special damages may also be known as economic damages, while general damages may be known as non-economic damages. Both these damages are compensable losses in the personal injury related cases.
General Damages: General damages are a natural cause of the defendant’s unlawful actions. In this type of compensation, there is an obvious and factual relationship between the defendant’s wrongful action and the plaintiff or victim’s injury. Most of the times, even if the defendant knows the extent of the harm; the plaintiff receives full compensation for the general damages that he/she receives. Damages that are general include costs that are less measureable. These costs include pain and suffering, conglomerate losses and emotional distress. In simple terms, when it comes to general damages, the defendant “takes the plaintiff as he/she finds him/her”.
There are several types of general damages:
- Pain: Physical and suffering.
- Disfigurement of the body.
- Impairment of the body.
- Mental suffering and anguish.
- Loss of a companion i.e. damages paid to family members in case of death of a loved one.
- Adverse effects to the quality of life of the plaintiff at the expense of the defendant.
Calculations of General Damages:
As general damages do not have a quantity attached to them, it is difficult to calculate them or assign a monetary value to them. As a resultant, it is difficult to compensate the plaintiff as well. It is common to work out and calculate the exact dollar amount that is exclusive to the extent of the injury. Moreover, this amount is unique to each victim and plaintiff. Some factors that may contribute to assigning an amount to the injury include:
- Gruesomeness of the injury
- The skill of the personal injury lawyers and attorneys
- Individuals who are part of the
As a general rule, the amount of compensation depends on the severity of the damage and injury. Injuries that are serious i.e. broken bones, disengaged limbs and brain damage etc. receive the highest injury settlements. The injured person may also be compensated on a permanent basis for the rest of the plaintiff’s life.
Special Damages: Special damages are costs that are measureable and viable of being itemized. These damages include earnings that maybe lost and damages to the property due to the wrongful actions of the defendant. These damages may be known simply as “out-of-pocket” costs that are calculated by summing together the plaintiff’s quantified financial losses. However, claiming payments is not as easy as it seems. The cost attached on these damages must be proven with proper evidence and specificity.
There are several types of special damages. Some of these include:
- Substitution, replacement repair of damaged property
- Loss of earning capacity and wages
- Loss of items that cannot be repaired
- Medical expenses (current and those incurred in the past)
Calculations of special damages:
Opposed to general damages, special damages are easier to quantify and put a price tag on. This is because the exact dollar amount can be put on the damaged items as these items already have a monetary value. For example, if a negligent neighbour breaks a beautiful lamp in to-be plaintiff’s house, he/she is liable to pay the homeowner $75 for the lamp. However, it becomes challenging when the personal injury lawyers have to put a price on the future medical expenses or future lost wages of the plaintiff. This situation can be handled by the help of expert witnesses and other solid evidence that supports the case.
HOW TO CLAIM GENERAL AND SPECIAL DAMAGES AFTER A PERSONAL INJURY:
It is all fun and games until it is time to actually claim the damages after a personal injury takes place. An injured individual is liable to receive and claim both general as well as special damages. Personal injury cases where there is a physical injury, the plaintiff or the victim will aim to recuperate money for the medical expenses that he/she has to incur. Moreover, if the plaintiff has vocational losses due to the physical injury incurred, then he/she will ask for additional money for the lost wages.
In several cases, injuries that are physical are accompanied by pain and suffering. As mentioned before, these damages and injuries are categorized as general in nature. In order to make a claim for pain and suffering, there are a number of aspects that contribute to the negotiating power of the plaintiff. These factors or aspects include:
- Steadiness and uniformity
- The plaintiff’s likeability and congeniality
- The plaintiff’s ability to give a candid testimony about the pain and suffering that he/she has undergone or is undergoing
- Support of the healthcare providers.
Related personal injury lawyers and personal injury attorneys references:
- Defintion of personal injury, http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1985
- Personal Injury – Special General Damages, http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/special-general-damages.html
- Factors Affecting Pain Suffering Claim, http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/factors-affecting-pain-suffering-claim.html
- Personal Injury, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_injury
- Damages, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damages
- Defamation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation
Social Media Key hashtags: