Personal injury claims can include damage to a person’s body, mental health, and reputation.
Types of personal injury claims include, but are not limited to, wrongful deaths, injuries caused in vehicle accidents or by assault or product defects, workplace injuries, invasion of privacy, defamation, and exposure to dangerous substances (toxic torts).
Defendants might be liable in a personal injury case if they were negligent or if they inflicted damage intentionally or, in strict liability cases, if they caused damage regardless of their intention.
The defendant may be negligent if he caused damage by failing to behave with the same standard of care that a reasonable person would use. The negligence could involve omissions as well as actions.
A defendant may be liable in a personal injury claim if he caused the damage through intentional action. Battery and assault are examples of intentional wrongs. Emotional distress when inflicted purposely may also qualify.
A defendant is liable in a personal injury claim if:
- he possessed livestock or exotic animals that caused injuries
- his product provably caused injuries through defects of poor design or manufacture or lack of sufficient warnings
- he injured a person due to his ultra-hazardous activity
Damages for personal injury claims are usually compensatory in nature and may include, but are not limited to, past and future medical costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and distress. The court may award punitive damages if the wrongdoer has behaved despicably, but this occurs in only a small number of personal injury cases.