Have you ever suffered an injury that you believed was somebody else’s fault? If you have, you probably needed a personal injury lawyer’s assistance.
Personal injury lawyers seek compensation for the victims of accidents caused by someone other than the victims themselves.
They handle a wide variety of claims, including the types of claims described below.
Motor vehicle accidents are perhaps the most common type of personal injury claim.
Among these, car accidents are by far the most common. When a car accident occurs, the victim typically looks to the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability insurance policy for compensation.
Texas requires its drivers to purchase auto accident liability insurance covering $30,000 in bodily injury per person, $60,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per accident.
Your chances of finding an at-fault driver with enough insurance to pay your claim improve if the driver is an Uber driver or a commercial trucker. Both of these types of drivers are typically well-insured.
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Slip and fall accident claims are a type of premises liability claim.
Suppose, for example, that you are shopping in a department store. You are traveling down an escalator when it suddenly stops, causing you to fall. You file a personal injury claim because you suffered a broken hip and traumatic brain injury. You base your claim on the assertion that the department store failed to adequately maintain its escalators.
Your claim is a premises liability claim because the owner or operator of the premises owes a duty of care to guests on the property, including customers. The department store breached its duty of care by failing to maintain the escalator. This breach caused you to slip and fall, which caused you to break your hip and crack your skull. Proving all of this should entitle you to personal injury compensation.
Not all premises liability claims are slip and fall claims, of course. It’s just that slip and fall claims are among the most common premises liability claims.
There are two primary types of workplace accident claims.
One is a workers’ compensation claim. If you suffer a work-related injury, you can file a workers’ compensation claim against your employer if they carry this insurance. You don’t have to prove that your employer was at fault to win. However, your compensation is limited to economic damages—generally, medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.
The other type of workplace accident claim is one caused by a third party. If someone other than your employer harmed you through misconduct, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them. You will have to prove that they were at fault, but you can claim both economic and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Every adult owes a duty of care toward others to exercise reasonable care to avoid accidents and injuries. A motorist, for example, has a duty to drive safely.
However, certain professionals owe a heightened duty of care to their clients. Doctors, for example, owe a professional standard of care to their patients. The exact extent of this duty depends on the doctor’s training and experience. A cardiologist will owe a different duty of care than a general practitioner.
If your doctor breaches their duty of care and thereby harms you, you might have a medical malpractice claim against them. Your doctor might have botched a surgical procedure and thereby caused you injury. Alternatively, your doctor might have failed to diagnose a disease, allowing it to progress without treatment.
Medical malpractice claims tend to be complex and high-value. They also tend to be difficult to win without a lawyer.
You may have a product liability claim if you suffer an injury caused by a defective and unreasonably dangerous consumer product. Three types of defects can trigger liability—design defects, manufacturing defects, and insufficient product warnings.
You can sue anyone in the product’s chain of distribution, from the manufacturer to the retailer. Product liability claims can be technically complex and often require opinions from expert witnesses.
Intentional assaults justify personal injury lawsuits. One of the problems with obtaining compensation for an intentional assault is that most insurance policies don’t pay out for intentional misconduct. Sometimes these claims are successful, however.
Imagine, for example, suing a nightclub for an unjust beating inflicted on you by their bouncer. As long as you can prove that the bouncer was liable, you could hold the nightclub vicariously liable as the bouncer’s employer. You can win a personal injury lawsuit for an intentional assault even if the same defendant was acquitted of the same offense in criminal court.
In the US, over 800,000 people visit emergency rooms yearly due to dog bites. In the event of a dog bite, you might consider suing the owner of the dog. However, it is more difficult to sue a dog owner in Texas than it is in many other states. The reason for this is that Texas, unlike some other states, applies a “one-bite rule.”
Under the one-bite rule, you usually cannot sue a dog owner for a dog bite unless the dog has shown aggressive tendencies before. This would put the owner on notice that their dog could be dangerous. If you win a dog bite case against a dog owner, the owner’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance will likely pay your claim.
Nursing homes owe a heightened duty of care to their residents. They can bear civil liability for instances of active abuse or passive neglect. Nursing home abuse can be difficult to spot if the patient is already in poor health, especially if they suffer from dementia and cannot report their abuse.
Strictly speaking, wrongful death claims are not personal injury claims because death is not an injury. Close relatives of someone who died for reasons that would have justified a personal injury lawsuit had they lived can file a wrongful death claim. Compensation goes to close relatives and the deceased victim’s probate estate.
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