personal injury

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Personal injuries include every variety of injury to a person's body, emotions, or reputation, as contradistinguished from injury to property rights.

Grounds

There are three grounds on which personal injury claims can be brought:

  1. Negligence is the most common basis for personal injury claims. The basis for liability under negligence stems from an individual’s failures to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. For example, a hunter who carelessly shoots his gun towards other people.

  2. Strict Liability holds a defendant liable for committing an action, regardless of what his/her intent or mental state was when committing the action. For example, if an injury occurs as a result of a defect in a product, the manufacturer is responsible for that injury even though they did not act negligently or intend for their product to cause harm.

  3. Intentional Wrongs result from an intentional act of the defendant. Common intentional torts are batteryassaultfalse imprisonmenttrespass to landtrespass to chattels, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Causes of Action

Personal injury claims can arise from harm done to the body. For example:

  • Automobile accidents

  • Workplace accidents

  • Assault

  • Product defect accidents 

  • Medical malpractice

  • Nursing home abuse

  • Toxic torts

Personal injury claims can also arise from non-bodily harm. For example:

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress

  • Defamation

  • False detention, arrest, or imprisonment

  • Malicious prosecution

  • Invasion of privacy

Damages

If the plaintiff is successful on their claim, they will be awarded money damages for their injuries. Damages are meant to compensate the injured party for their loss. Damages for personal injury may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Medical expenses

  • Lost wages 

  • Pain and suffering

  • Mental and emotional distress

  • Household assistance

  • Travel expenses

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]