In a personal injury claim, a plaintiff states they have sustained an injury, which may be physical, mental, or both, because of an act or a failure to act by the defendant. A plaintiff may be awarded money damages for personal injury if their case is successful.
In certain cases, the events which are the basis of the personal injury claim can also form the basis of criminal charges. For example, a defendant can face a civil lawsuit for assault as well as criminal charges of assault and battery.
What Kind of Injury Does a Personal Injury Claim Involve?
A personal injury has the potential to damage the physical health, emotional health, or both of a plaintiff. A mental health injury may include emotional pain and anguish which was sustained by the accident.
A physical injury may include an injury to:
- Limbs; or
- Other parts of the anatomy.
The injury which is sustained by a plaintiff may not appear instantly. It may, instead, develop over time. There are numerous examples of events or accidents which may form the basis of the personal injury claim, including:
There are many different types and variations of accidents which may occur. It may be helpful for an individual to examine accident statistics in order to help them be prepared for an accident before it occurs.
What Kinds of Acts Form the Basis of a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injuries may occur intentionally, such as when a defendant injures a victim deliberately or if they intend to commit an act which results in an injury. Personal injuries can also occur unintentionally.
If an unintentional injury is a result of an individual’s negligence, a plaintiff may file a lawsuit based on that negligent behavior. Other types of cases which may be classified as negligence cases include:
What are Common Holiday Accidents?
During the winter and holiday seasons, certain personal injuries are more likely to occur that may not occur as frequently during other times of the year. Holiday accidents are accidents which occur more frequently during the holiday season rather than other types of accidents.
For example, a common holiday accident occurs when an individual falls while they are putting up their holiday decorations. An accident may occur when an individual falls from the roof of their home or decorating their Christmas tree.
These types of accidents may lead to serious injuries. Other holiday accidents and injuries which may occur include:
- Burns caused by cooking;
- Getting sick because of a food-borne illness;
- Back injuries from slipping on icy patches while walking to an individual’s front door;
- Tripping and falling over extension cords attached to lights and other decorations, which results in sprains or broken bones;
- Motor vehicle accidents caused by bad weather or bad driving conditions;
- Alcohol-related injuries; and
- Various other types of injuries.
Can Holiday Accidents be Fatal?
Many individuals die each year as a result of holiday accidents. For example, one common fatal holiday accident is a candle-started fire.
This type of fire accident occurs when an individual or an individual’s pet knocks over a candle at a residence or if an accident file starts. This may cause major property damage as well as fatal injuries.
One other common and deadly example of a holiday accident is a fire that is caused by a space heater. In some cases, individuals leave portable space heaters on when they leave their home or when they go traveling over the holidays.
In other cases, a flammable material such as wrapping paper may be left near the space heater while individuals are in the home. A fire from a space heater may destroy valuable property and even cause the death of individuals who are inside.
Can I Sue for a Holiday Accident?
Whether or not an individual can sue for a holiday accident depends upon who caused the accident and the circumstances of the accident. Numerous personal injury cases arise around the holidays as a result of negligence.
In these types of cases, it may be possible to sue based on the legal theory of negligence. For example, if an individual attends a holiday dinner party and becomes ill as a result of a food-borne illness, they may be able to sue the host.
This may occur if the host negligently prepared the food in a manner which deviated from how an individual should exercise normal food preparation precautions, such as refrigerating ingredients or baking an item to a specific temperature. Another example of how this may occur is if an individual knowingly served food which was contaminated or expired.
What Types of Damages Can a Court Award an Injured Plaintiff?
An injured plaintiff who is able to prove that the defendant is liable, or who proves that the defendant committed an intentional act or negligently caused an injury, may be entitled to compensatory damages. Pursuant to the laws, a plaintiff may be able to recover two types of damages, damages for an injury as well as damages for the consequences of the injury.
The laws recognize this distinction. There are two categories of compensatory damages, known as general damages and specific damages.
General damages are damages which are awarded for the plaintiff’s injury itself. These types of damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish; and
General damages are those which may not be readily assigned a monetary value. Because of this, in order to recover damages, the testimony of an expert, for example, a physician or psychiatrist, is necessary to assign a monetary value.
Special damages are damages which compensate an individual for a specific consequence of an injury which they suffered. Specific damages may include medical expenses and lost wages.
Items in the special damages category can be assigned a precise monetary value. Examples may include:
- Medical bills, which show the payments that are owed;
- Pay stubs, which show the amount of the plaintiff’s earnings; and
- Other related bills, which will show the exact amount owned.
Special damages are awarded to compensate a plaintiff for the costs which their insurance or medicare and medicaid did not cover related to their injury. If an individual has been injured during the holidays and believes they may be interested in filing a claim at a later date, it is important to save any bills or other documentation related to their injury.
Should I Talk to a Lawyer about a Holiday Injury I Sustained?
If you suffered an injury as a result of an accident or visiting other individuals during the holiday season, it may be helpful to consult with a personal injury lawyer about your legal options. Your attorney can review your case, determine if you have a claim, and advise you regarding how to proceed to obtain damages to compensate you for your injury.
Your lawyer will also represent you each time you are required to appear in court. If possible, your lawyer can also help you negotiate with the other party in order to settle your claim outside of the courtroom.