Laws About Personal Injury

Have you ever watched a loved one get caught in a serious accident? These situations are extremely stressful. If the accident was your loved one’s fault, then they will wonder about a potentially looming personal injury lawsuit for years. If it was someone else’s fault, your loved one will have to make the call: to sue or not to sue. But not every accident was created equally, and personal injury law draws the line between what compensation covers and what it does not. This is what you should know.

Usually, suing a person or organization because they were responsible for an injury you sustained requires proof of negligence. In other words, it was not an “accident” in the truest sense of the word; instead, it was a preventable act of negligence. Someone caused your injury because they were not handling a certain situation with the expected safety standards.

One particularly tricky law says that a person who was injured by another person’s negligence can sue for personal injury if and only if that person’s “contributory negligence” was more than the defendant’s. In other words, the person being sued was the biggest cause of the accident — even if the person making the case was negligent as well. 

Other laws outline the differences between the general public and those in a certain profession (such as doctors or teachers). These professionals are held to a higher standard of conduct than your average Joe, meaning you can sue them for negligence related to their field of work more easily.

There is also a difference between civil negligence and criminal negligence. The former means that a defendant’s negligence may have led to a catastrophic accident but that the defendant broke no laws in the process. The latter means that a defendant’s negligence was both criminal and civil. In such cases the plaintiff is more likely to win a civil case when the defendant has already been charged and convicted with a crime related to the accident.

Personal injury law is also guided by a statute of limitations. These statutes are mostly dependent on the type of accident, whether negligence was criminal or civil in nature, and the region where the accident occurred. For example, a true “personal” injury in a state like Pennsylvania is bound by a two-year statute of limitation. Libel is technically a personal injury as well, but is bound by a less strict one-year statute of limitation. Longer statutes exist for rent collection and broken contracts. 21 years for the former and 20 years for the latter!

There are other aspects of personal injury law to consider — such as when the statute of limitations kicks in. For more detailed information related to personal injury law in your state, request the services of a personal injury lawyer.

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