When an individual makes a personal injury claim, they are claiming that they have sustained an injury. This injury may be physical, mental, or both, resulting from an act or a failure to act by the defendant.
In personal injury cases, a court may award a plaintiff compensatory damages for personal injury. In certain types of cases, the events that formed the basis of the personal injury claim may also form the basis for criminal charges against a defendant.
For example, if the defendant assaulted the plaintiff, they may face a civil lawsuit for the assault as well as criminal assault and battery charges.
What Kind of Injury Does a Personal Injury Claim Involve?
Personal injuries may damage a plaintiff’s physical health, emotional health, or both. Mental health injuries may include the emotional pain and anguish which resulted from the accident or injury.
Examples of physical injuries that a plaintiff may sustain include injuries to:
- Limbs; or
- Other parts of the anatomy.
This injury that the plaintiff sustains does not have to manifest instantly. In many cases, injuries develop over a period of time.
There are numerous examples of accidents or events that can for the basis of personal injury claims, including:
What are the Elements of Personal Injury?
A personal injury attorney helps individuals who have suffered injuries obtain compensation for their injuries from the individual or entity who caused them. Personal injury law is complex and governs many different issues.
It is important to note that personal injury laws are distinct from criminal law. When an individual files a personal injury lawsuit, the lawsuit is filed in a civil court.
As previously noted, a criminal charge may be filed separately based on the same incident if it was of a criminal nature. It is important to note that personal injury actions may fall into three categories, including:
Each of these categories of personal injury law has its own unique set of elements which a plaintiff must prove in order to prevail in their case.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?
Legal actions have statutes of limitations which is a time frame that a plaintiff or the government has to bring their claim before they are barred from doing so. Different types of legal claims have different statutes of limitations.
Statutes of limitations may also vary across jurisdictions. Some serious criminal charges do not have an applicable statute of limitations.
If this statute of limitations expires, or runs, an injured party may be barred from bringing their lawsuit. These statutes are intended to reduce the likelihood of false claims as well as to preserve evidence.
It is important for an individual to be aware of the statute of limitations which may apply to their case. In some personal injury cases, a statute of limitations does not begin to run until the plaintiff actually discovered or should have discovered their injuries.
If an individual is unsure regarding the statute of limitations which may apply in their case, it is important to consult with an attorney so they do not miss the opportunity to receive compensation for their injuries.
What is a Remedy?
Remedies are forms of compensation which are awarded to individuals in legal proceedings. These are provided in order to restore the injured or aggrieved individual to the position they were in prior to the injury or wrongful conduct occurring.
Remedies may be divided into two general categories, legal and equitable. A legal remedy allows the plaintiff to recover monetary damages.
Equitable remedies, on the other hand, are non-monetary solutions which are used to resolve the disputed issue. In addition to these remedies, courts may also order declaratory judgments.
These judgments are issued when a court determines that an individual has rights in a particular situation but does not award damages.
What is a Legal Remedy?
A legal remedy allows a plaintiff to recover monetary damages. Monetary damages are awarded to compensate a plaintiff for the harm that they suffered.
Monetary damages may include different categories of damages, such as:
- Compensatory damages;
- Lost profits;
- Punitive damages;
- Lost wages;
- Expectation damages; and
- Restitutionary damages.
Certain categories of damages may also be awarded to prevent the defendant from being unjustly enriched.
What is the Definition of an Equitable Remedy?
A monetary damage award, as noted above, may be referred to as a legal damages award. An equitable remedy may be issued in lieu of a legal remedy in certain cases.
Equitable remedies are remedies which do not rely on monetary compensation. Instead, equitable remedies typically focus on actions which a defendant needs to take as a result of the determinations made during the lawsuit.
Can Both Legal Remedies and Equitable Remedies be Recovered?
In most cases, a plaintiff may choose to receive either legal damages or an equitable remedy. However, the election of a remedy and the availability of remedies will be determined by the facts of each case as well as the applicable federal and state laws.
If there is a case where legal and equitable remedies are both available to a plaintiff, a court may allow the plaintiff to receive both remedies. This will depend upon the type of loss the plaintiff suffered as well as the amount of monetary losses the plaintiff will suffer.
What are Common Equitable Remedies for Personal Injuries?
Tort cases typically involve unintentional injuries caused by one individual to another. Often, they are negligence cases which result from a lack of exercising care, for example, when handling a dangerous item or ensuring that a premises is safe.
The majority of equitable remedies in tort cases involve some type of an injunction. An injunction is a court order requiring the defendant to cease an action or to take an action, for example:
- Repairing dangerous properties or structures;
- Posting warning signs and labels;
- Recalling dangerous products;
- Removing products from the business’ shelves and storage; or
- Transferring or delivering items.
An injunction and its details will vary by case as they depend entirely on the facts of each unique situation and are based on the type of injury involved in the case.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Equitable Remedies?
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer. Personal injury cases can be complex and difficult to prove, as they often require expert medical opinions.
Your lawyer can review your case and advise you regarding the applicable statute of limitations. In addition, your attorney will be able to explain the possible remedies you may be entitled to based on the facts of your case.
If you are required to appear in court, your lawyer will appear with you each time. It is important to be aware that if you were injured and are having to sue a company or large entity, they will likely have attorneys on staff to defend any lawsuits filed against them so it is important to have your own representation.