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What Are The Different Types of Personal Injury Cases?

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

How many ways are there to be physically hurt through no fault of your own in the course of your average day? Your answer will depend on what you do for work, of course, as some jobs are more dangerous than others. But the absent inherent danger, how many ways are there to be injured due to someone else’s actions short of criminal behavior?

Let’s make a partial list and offer a little commentary about each:

Automobile Accidents

We begin with this because it is by far the most common personal injury claim in the United States today. Soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and debilitating injuries that prevent you from working are often the result of an accident caused by negligence.

These types of personal injury cases will often involve the use of expert witnesses - accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, actuaries to help calculate lost wages and earning capacity, and more. Jury trials determine both liability (who was at fault) and damages (money to be awarded, both compensatory (lost earnings, pain, and suffering) and punitive. When you suffer from an automobile accident in Boston or other areas in Massachusetts, you need an excellent and experienced MA-licensed personal injury attorney to represent you for your rights.

Medical Malpractice

This is relatively self-explanatory. You sought medical attention or had surgery, and mistakes were made, whether in diagnosis or on the operating table. You suffered harm as a result, and you seek compensation. Again, lost earnings and pain and suffering make up the claim.

Medical malpractice law in the United States is derived from English common law and was developed by rulings in various state courts. Medical malpractice lawsuits are a relatively common occurrence in the United States. The legal system is designed to encourage extensive discovery and negotiations between adversarial parties with the goal of resolving the dispute without going to a jury trial. The injured patient must show that the physician acted negligently in rendering care and that such negligence resulted in injury. To do so, four legal elements must be proven:

  1. a professional duty owed to the patient;

  2. breach of such duty;

  3. injury caused by the breach; and

  4. resulting damages. Money damages, if awarded, typically take into account both actual economic loss and noneconomic loss, such as pain and suffering.

In the United States, medical malpractice law has traditionally been under the authority of the individual states and not the federal government, in contrast to many other countries. To win monetary compensation for injury related to medical negligence, a patient needs to prove that substandard medical care resulted in an injury. The allegation of medical negligence must be filed in a timely manner; this legally prescribed period is called the “statute of limitation” and varies from state to state. Once the injured person has established that negligence led to injury, the court calculates the monetary damages that will be paid in compensation. Damages take into account both actual economic loss such as lost income and cost of future medical care, as well as noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Physicians practicing in the United States generally carry medical malpractice insurance to protect themselves in case of medical negligence and unintentional injury. In some instances, such insurance is required as a condition of hospital privileges, or employment with a medical group.

Medical malpractice is defined as any act or omission by a physician during the treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient. Medical malpractice is a specific subset of tort law that deals with professional negligence. “Tort” is the Norman word for “wrong,” and tort law is a body of law that creates and provides remedies for civil wrongs that are distinct from contractual duties or criminal wrongs. “Negligence” is generally defined as conduct that falls short of a standard; the most commonly used standard in tort law is that of a so-called “reasonable person.” The reasonable person standard is a legal fiction, created so the law can have a reference standard of reasoned conduct that a person in similar circumstances would do, or not do, in order to protect another person from a foreseeable risk of harm.

In the United States, the patient alleging medical malpractice must generally prove four elements or legal requirements to make out a successful claim of medical malpractice. These elements include:

  1. the existence of a legal duty on the part of the doctor to provide care or treatment to the patient;

  2. a breach of this duty by a failure of the treating doctor to adhere to the standards of the profession;

  3. a causal relationship between such breach of duty and injury to the patient; and

  4. the existence of damages that flow from the injury such that the legal system can provide redress.

The aggrieved patient who initiates the lawsuit before a court is called the plaintiff or complainant. By filing a lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks a legal remedy from the court. If the plaintiff is successful, the court will enter judgment for the plaintiff and issue a court order for damages. The party against whom the complaint is directed is the defendant; in the case of medical malpractice, this party is the physician, medical laboratory, hospital, or professional organization to which the physician belongs. In litigation, cases are identified by citing the plaintiff first; thus a lawsuit is cited as “Plaintiff v. Defendant.”

A medical malpractice lawsuit in the United States is initiated by filing a summons, claim form, or complaint; these legal documents are called pleadings. Pleadings set forth the alleged wrongs committed by the defendant physician with a demand for relief. In some jurisdictions, the legal action is initiated by service of legal process by physical delivery of documents to the defendant by a process server; these documents are then filed with the court with an affidavit verifying that they have been given to the defendant's doctor according to certain rules of legal procedure.

Medical malpractice is a very complex matter, and as you might imagine, most medical providers are insured and easily lawyered up. Thus, consulting with a professional medical malpractice lawyer is always recommended when you have a concern about medical malpractice.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Again, we know what they are. The claim will be that you slipped, fell, and sustained injuries through the negligence of another. Lost earnings, and pain and suffering, will be the claim.

If you have been injured in this way, first consider that it is a normal part of living for things to fall on or to drip onto a floor or the ground and for smooth surfaces to become uneven. Also, some things put in the ground -- drainage grates, for example -- serve a useful purpose there. So a property owner (or occupier) cannot always be held responsible for immediately picking up or cleaning every slippery substance on a floor. Nor is a property owner always responsible for someone slipping or tripping on something that an ordinary person should expect to find there or should see and avoid. We all have an obligation to watch where we're going.

However, property owners do need to be careful in keeping up their property. While there is no precise way to determine when someone else is legally responsible for something on which you slip or trip, cases turn on whether the property owner acted carefully so that slipping or tripping was not likely to happen -- and whether you were careless in not seeing or avoiding the thing you fell on. Here are some general rules to help you decide whether someone else was at fault for your slip or trip and fall injury.

Accidents in the Workplace

Unsafe working conditions can lead to serious injury. If those conditions were a result of negligence, injuries sustained in those conditions can be actionable - you can sue. Lost wages, and pain and suffering, will be the claim.

Workplace injuries are injuries or illnesses that occur in relation to an employee’s job. Most states narrow the definition of a workplace injury to one that “arises out of and in the course of employment” to prevent employees from pursuing compensation for injuries not directly caused by the job. Generally, a workplace injury occurs because the work environment is unsafe (the premises are dangerous, the equipment is defective, or the environment is contaminated with hazardous chemicals). In addition, jobs that require repetitive or difficult movements (eg. factory labor or heavy lifting) may cause injury.

Falls are common among construction workers, miners, and factory employees. Many construction accidents involve falls from defective ladders or scaffoldings. A fall from several stories up can break bones, cause internal injuries, and even result in permanent paralysis or death. Workers who do sustain such injuries can expect to miss a significant period of time at work while recovering, and many are never able to return.

Employers are obligated to maintain a safe workplace for their employees, but many fail to do so, and workers are injured every year as a result. Use this list to identify workplace hazards and determine whether you may be at risk. If you have already suffered an injury in the workplace, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and other losses.

Product Liability

If someone is injured by a defective product, they may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor, depending on the type of defect. Under federal law, the two primary categories of product defects are design defects and manufacturing defects.

Manufacturers’ defective products that lead to injury or death are another common type of personal injury case. A wrongful death claim as a result of defective manufacturing is also a common court case.

When a consumer sustains an injury due to a defective product, a number of parties can be held liable for releasing a product that they knew or should have known posed a risk to users. The jurisdiction in which the product liability case is filed will determine the liability of those involved in the chain of commerce as the defective product passes from the manufacturer to the consumer. A person or company can be held liable for a number of products ranging from faulty medical devices to foods that cause food poisoning.

While these are only five types of personal injury cases, you get the idea. The negligence of another (the wrong) causes harm (the injury) that results in a loss (of life, or of earnings, or of a consortium with your spouse or partner), and you want to be compensated for the loss(es).

Personal injury cases are complicated, and the experts needed to succeed with the claim can be many, both in the preparation of the case and at trial. Blumsack & Canzano have decades of experience in preparing personal injury cases and taking them to trial with success.

Let us help you with that experience and our track record of success. We’ll determine whether there is a legitimate claim, assess the measure of the claim in monetary loss, assemble any needed experts, and bring that claim forward for you.

Call for an appointment today at (857) 990-9060 and put us to work on your case.



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