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Personal Injury Law

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Personal injury laws were created to provide victims of negligence or criminal action from having to bear the financial and emotional burdens that come with serious injury, particularly when those injuries result in a long-term recovery or permanent disability. In most states personal injury law cases require the claimant to prove that she suffered damages and that the defendant was clearly responsible for those damages. Some states permit awards for pain and suffering as well as for medical bills and lost wages.

Personal Injury Law and Lawsuits

Torts are wrongs recognized by law as grounds for initiating a lawsuit seeking redress for damages. Unlike the criminal actions brought by the "state," tort lawsuits are typically initiated by an individual, group, or class of individuals who believe that the defendant caused them to suffer damages through negligence or criminal action. Tort law is specifically designed to both provide some type of relief for the injured party and to deter other persons or companies from doing continued damage.

One of the more common reliefs provided to injured parties is coverage of all medical bills resulting from the injury. Another is replacing lost wages and making provision for lost earning capacity. In many cases, an award or settlement under personal injury laws includes both present and expected future losses. As noted above, some states also make allowances for pain and suffering. Awards in these cases can sometimes mean millions of dollars for the injured party, and, in the case of a class action suit, can be tens of millions or more.

Personal Injury and Criminal Liability

Some personal injuries result from criminal actions. These can include an injury incurred during a bank robbery or other criminal act. Assault and battery can also be cause for a tort lawsuit. There are also categories for torts, intentional, negligent, and strict liability. The latter is often used in product liability cases. A criminal conviction can result in a tort lawsuit, and the reverse may also be true.


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