Understanding “Personal Injury” as a Legal Term
In legalese, personal injury does not refer to an injury at all, but rather a branch of law that advocates for the wrongfully injured. This field is also known as “tort law,” where “tort” is another word for “wrongdoing.” Essentially, personal injury lawyers hold people responsible for careless or otherwise inappropriate behavior or omissions that harm someone else.
Example: Car Accidents
For instance, some of the most frequent personal injury cases involve car accidents. If someone does something wrong, like running a stop sign, or behaves carelessly by drinking and driving, they are likely to cause an accident. When that accident harms someone else, personal injury attorneys step in.
Unlike criminal law, which punishes wrongdoers for their actions, personal injury law is focused on assisting the victims of torts.
What Are Damages?
Damages are financial awards designed to help victims recover after an accident or wrongdoing. The financial consequences of a severe car accident, for example, can be enormous.
Victims might have to pay for medical treatment and may miss days, weeks, or months of work. If they are disabled by the accident, they may lose their ability to work altogether.
Personal injury lawsuits help make sure that these hardships do not fall exclusively on the shoulders of the injured party. By holding a wrongdoer liable for their actions or omissions, attorneys can request compensation to help their clients move forward.
In some cases, damages are awarded to alleviate pain and suffering, or other emotional ailments.
Occasionally, a wrongdoing is so egregious that the court will award punitive damages. This helps the legal system make an example of the defendant and discourage other people from behaving similarly.
In order to win damages on behalf of their clients, personal injury attorneys must prove negligence. To accomplish this, lawyers illuminate a “duty of care” and demonstrate how it was violated. Returning to the car accident example, every driver owes a basic duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians on the road. In California, all licensed drivers acknowledge this duty when they receive a driver’s license. If a licensed driver texts while operating their vehicle, for example, they are not meeting their duty of care. This careless behavior would make the driver negligent in a personal injury case.
In premises liability cases, wrongdoings may be caused by actions, or by a failure to warn. For instance, a wet floor could constitute negligence if the storeowner mopped during busy hours and forgot to alert customers to the danger with a safety sign.
No matter the situation, proving negligence is the touchstone to any personal injury lawsuit.
Determining the cause of an accident or injury is not always easy and proving negligence can be even more difficult. This is exactly why you need a skilled personal injury attorney on your side.
At Carichoff Law Group, P.C., we have almost 2 decades of experience, and we focus our practice on personal injury law.
We understand what it takes to win, and we are passionate about obtaining justice for our clients.
If you have been injured by someone else’s negligent behavior, we can help.
Call us at (916) 471-6098 for a free consultation.