- 18 Apr
Personal Injury Law: More Than Just Car Accidents
Often times, personal injury lawyers are seen as the ones to go to after a car accident. But the scope of personal injury law is actually much larger. A Tampa personal injury lawyer can help you if you’ve been injured by a faulty product, bitten by a dog, or harmed by a medical professional.
Defining Personal Injury Law
The American Bar Association boils personal injury law into one question, “Was the defendant liable for the damages you sustained, and, if so, what is the nature and extent of your damages?”
Accordingly, personal injury law is focused on holding someone accountable for actions that have harmed someone else. A defendant may be liable if they have acted negligently and their negligence led to an injury. A defendant can also be sued if they willfully injure someone, as in the case of assault.
Vehicular Accidents: Beyond Automobiles
Yes, automobile accidents may be the claim most frequently filed under personal injury law, but other vehicular accidents qualify as well.
Boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents can all be tried under personal injury law. In addition, the personal injury umbrella also covers construction vehicle accidents. While hoverboard accidents have increased with popularity, most of these accidents involve user error. Other accidents that include hoverboards catching fire should be filed as a defective product claim.
Product Liability Claims
A faulty product is one that suffers from a design or manufacturing defect, or whose instructions or marketing is inaccurate or harmful. Perhaps the largest (most expensive) product liability cases are those that have involved automobile recalls or the tobacco industry.
Automobile defect cases are generally filed because of a dangerous defect in either the design of an automobile or in the manufacturing process. The latter can include anything from missing bolts to cheap materials.
In the case of the tobacco industry’s frequent forays into court, the issue at hand was marketing; specifically, the claims that denied that smoking cigarettes could lead to lung cancer.
Premises Liability Claims
Premises liability claims deal with injuries that occur on a particular property. For example, if you slip and fall while shopping, the store may be liable for your accident if they didn’t properly sign the area after mopping. In addition to slip and fall claims, premises liability claims also include amusement park ride accidents and any other injury derived from unsafe conditions caused by negligence on someone’s premises.
Environmental Injury Claims
Environmental injury claims cover injuries sustained from chemicals and other environmentally hazardous conditions such as toxic fumes or waste. If a company is knowingly or negligently disposing of waste improperly and it affects a town’s water source, they can be sued under personal injury law.
Julia Roberts and Erin Brockovich brought this type of claim into the limelight, and unfortunately, with tragedies such as the Flint water crisis, environmental injury claims won’t be going away any time soon.
Professional Malpractice Claims
You may be familiar with medical malpractice, however, personal injury law also covers malpractice by any professional. This includes dental malpractice, surgical malpractice, and legal malpractice. Professionals, in this instance, includes anyone trained to perform a particular task. In this vein, a mechanic who negligently uses old, rusty brakes to fix a vehicle that then crashes because of brake failure can be sued under personal injury law.
Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death can be caused by a number of factors, including construction accidents, automobile accidents, and faulty products. If a loved one is killed because of tainted food or unsafe working conditions, personal injury law allows family members to file a wrongful death suit. Just like other personal injury areas, negligence leading to injury (in this case, death) must be proven by a preponderance of evidence.
Often times, families who are unable to receive justice through the criminal court system choose to file a wrongful death case in civil court. The most famous case of an individual being found liable in a wrongful death suit after being acquitted in criminal court is, of course, the OJ Simpson trial.
Speak With a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer if You Think You Have a Case
These are only some of the claims that fall under the personal injury umbrella. It is important to note that not all personal injury attorneys handle all claims. Before consulting with a personal injury lawyer, it is advisable to check their website to see what kind of claims they handle. A reputable personal injury attorney will frequently provide a free consultation to help you determine whether you have a claim.
If you have been injured and think you have a personal injury claim, make sure to speak with a Tampa personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Because of the various statutes of limitations for certain claims, it is imperative that your case is filed in a timely fashion.