A personal injury accident occurs when a person suffers some type of harm or injury, because of another person’s carelessness or disregard. A personal injury can damage the plaintiff’s emotional health, physical health, or both. It is important to note that the injury which is sustained by the plaintiff does not need to manifest immediately, as some injuries develop over time.
Following an accident, the injured party can file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. They would then use the civil court proceeding in order to collect compensatory damages for their injuries. Personal injury law is distinctive from criminal law; when a person files a personal injury lawsuit, it is filed in civil court. Criminal actions may be filed separately if the incident was criminal in nature, such as in cases of assault and battery.
Personal injury actions may fall into one of the following three categories, each of which have separate sets of elements which must be proven in order for the plaintiff to be successful:
The most common types of accidents include the following, as well as articles pertaining to those accidents:
What Are Head Injuries?
Head injuries refer to any type of injuries that are sustained to the head region. They can be especially serious if the injury involves significant damage, or if the injury affects other bodily functions as well. Head injuries are commonly associated with other types of personal injuries, such as neck injuries or brain injuries.
Injuries to the head can be sustained from a variety of causes or accidents; as such, head injury claims may involve a number of different medical conditions, including:
- Loss of consciousness;
- Loss of memory; and
- Loss of motor coordination.
Some people do not immediately realize that they have suffered some type of head injury, because it may be difficult to determine the symptoms. Symptoms include:
- Confusion and difficulty remembering recent events;
- Unusual tiredness and laziness;
- Severe headaches;
- Weakness or numbness of certain parts of body; and/or
- Fever or nausea.
Head injury lawsuits may be based on a number of different legal theories, such as:
- Negligence: If a party breaches their duty to exercise reasonable standards of care to the plaintiff, they may be liable for head injuries resulting from the breach. An example of this would be how sports injuries often involve some degree of negligence;
- Automobile Accidents: Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of head injuries. Specifically, motorcycle accidents frequently involve serious head injuries;
- Slip and Fall Accidents: An owner of a business may be held liable for head injuries if they failed to maintain their premises in a safe condition for patrons, which caused a slip and fall accident resulting in head injury;
- Premises Liability: Dangerous conditions on the premises such as falling objects, protruding structures, or sharp objects can cause head injuries;
- Products Liability: Helmets or other protective headgear can cause injury if they are defective when they reach the consumer; and/or
- Assault and Battery: Intentional acts by a defendant could result in legal liability. Punitive damages may be also obtained if the act was done with particularly malicious intent.
Are There Any Legal Remedies For Head Injuries?
One significant difficulty in proving a head injury claim would be causation. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s acts actually caused the injury. This may be proved with medical documents, photographs, and the testimony of an expert witness.
Most head injury claims will result in a monetary damages award to the victim, which allows the plaintiff to be compensated for any losses associated with the head injury. Examples include:
- Medical Expenses and Cost of Medical Treatment: Compensatory damages generally cover the costs of hospital bills, medical treatment, prescription medicines, and other health care aspects;
- Lost Wages or Future Loss of Earnings: If the personal injury resulted in a loss of wages, these can be recovered through compensatory damages. The victim can also be compensated if the injury causes them to lose the ability to earn wages in the future;
- Cost of Living With a Disability: If the plaintiff’s head injuries result in disability, they can receive compensation for costs associated with the disability, such as wheelchairs or assisted living arrangements. They can also be compensated for future loss of earnings if the injury reduces the amount of wages that they can earn in the future;
- Pain and Suffering: The victim may be compensated for severe pain and mental/emotional suffering resulting from the injury. However, they must prove that the pain is linked to the injury, and that the suffering is not contrived or imaginary; and
- Loss of Consortium: A spouse can sometimes receive a damages award if the injury deprives them of the emotional elements of marriage when their spouse experiences a head injury.
Are There Any Legal Defenses For Head Injuries?
Defenses in personal injury cases may reduce or dismiss the defendant’s liability in the case. Defenses are generally associated with whether the plaintiff took a role in causing their own injuries, and whether the plaintiff did anything after the injury in order to reduce the severity of the injuries.
Some common defenses used in a personal injury case include:
- Comparative Or Contributory Negligence: In comparative negligence states, the court will allow the plaintiff to recover damages, even if they were partially at fault for the incident. The court will prorate the amount of negligence that the defendant is responsible for.
- In contributory negligence states, the court will not award damages to the plaintiff if the plaintiff was at fault for contributing to their own injuries, even if the plaintiff was found to be 1 percent at fault. Some states may have modified versions of contributory and comparative negligence;
- Assumption Of Risk: The assumption of risk defense relies on the plaintiff knowing what type of potential injuries they may experience, and that the plaintiff is agreeing to the potential injury. An example of this would be participating in contact sports and signing a waiver of liability prior to doing so; and/or
- No Mitigation Of Damages: One requirement for personal injury cases is that the plaintiff must attempt to mitigate or reduce their damages. If they fail to do so and the injury worsens, they may lose their case.
Do I Need A Head Injury Lawyer?
If you have sustained a head injury, you should hire a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Personal injury attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options according to your state’s laws.
An attorney will also organize the documents and evidence that will be necessary in order to prove your claim. Additionally, your personal injury lawyer will also be able to represent you in court, as needed.