Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property.
In Anglo-American jurisdictions the term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit in which the person bringing the suit, or “plaintiff,” has suffered harm to his or her body or mind. Personal injury lawsuits are filed against the person or entity that caused the harm through negligence, gross negligence, reckless conduct, or intentional misconduct. Different jurisdictions describe the damages (or, the things for which the injured person may be compensated) in different ways, but damages typically include the injured person’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and diminished quality of life.
Common types of personal injury claims include road traffic accidents, work accidents, tripping accidents, assault claims, and product defect accidents (product liability). The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to medical negligence claims ) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermatitis, and repetitive strain injury cases. Of these, the most common are automobile collisions. Personal injury cases may also include toxic torts, in which a contaminant transmitted by air or water causes illness, injury, or death.
Most personal injury claims are based on a theory of negligence. To hold a party or parties legally liable for injuries so damages based upon negligence, four elements must be proved:
The amount of compensation for a personal injury will primarily depend on the severity of the injury. Serious injuries (such as broken bones, severed limbs, brain damage) that cause intense physical pain and suffering receive the highest injury settlements.