According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, nearly 100 million people seek emergency treatment for an unintentional injury. Other people’s misconduct causes many of these injuries and, given the complexity and fragility of the human body, there are many possible types of personal injury damages and many types of personal injury claims.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury case arises when one person suffers an injury due to another person’s misconduct. In most cases, this misconduct is negligence, a legal term that means something like ”carelessness.” In other situations, the claim arises from recklessness, a more severe form of negligence typified by, for example, intoxicated driving. The third state of mind associated with personal injury is intentional misconduct, typified by a “road rage” incident.
A small personal injury claim might amount to only a few hundred dollars. The very largest personal injury claims can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars and involve hundreds or even thousands of victims. Most personal injury claims fall between these two extremes, however.
The 7 Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
You can classify most personal injury claims into the seven broad personal injury case types described below. Following is a non-exclusive list of personal injury types. These are not exhaustive.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury cases. You might further subdivide these types of personal injury cases into the following subtypes:
- Auto accidents. Automobile accidents are perhaps the most common single subtype of personal injury claims.
- Motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle accidents frequently produce catastrophic injuries.
- Trucking accidents. Although truck accidents frequently produce catastrophic injuries, commercial truckers are typically well-insured.
- Pedestrian accidents. Pedestrian accidents occur most often in urban areas. Wrongful death claims are common.
- Uber/Lyft accidents. Rideshare accidents are becoming more and more common. On-duty Uber and Lyft drivers are typically well-insured.
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider, typically a physician, injures a patient through substandard medical care. Examples include:
- Surgical error;
- Failure to diagnose a dangerous condition;
- Improper prescription;
- Many other possible errors.
Winning a medical malpractice claim typically requires the support of an expert medical witness. These cases also tend to be scientifically complex.
Product liability claims generate some of the more unique types of personal injury lawsuits. A product liability claim arises when someone suffers injury from an unreasonably dangerous consumer product. The injured party does not have to be the person who purchased the product. You must prove that the product contained one of the following three types of defects:
- A design defect;
- A manufacturing defect;
- Inadequate warnings about the dangers of the product.
You can win a claim against a product manufacturer without even providing that the manufacturer was at fault. You can sue other parties in the product’s chain of distribution, but you must prove fault.
Any type of personal injury claim can become a wrongful death claim if the victim dies from the injury. Indiana wrongful death laws are rather complex. In a nutshell, however, the deceased victim’s probate estate and certain family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive damages therefrom.
The types of damages available depend on whether the victim was a child or an adult. If the estate paid certain expenses, such as funeral and burial expenses, the court will reimburse the estate itself.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers most workplace injuries. The advantage of a workers’ compensation claim is that you don’t have to prove that your employer was at fault. The disadvantage is that you cannot receive non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. In some cases of workplace injury, however, you can exit the workers’ compensation system and sue for noneconomic damages.
Premises Liability/Slip & Fall
The owner or operator of a public establishment and even a private home must ensure that their premises are safe for guests, people performing legal duties such as mail carriers) and, to some extent, some types of trespassers. Most premises liability claims are filed against businesses. The most common type of premises liability claim is a personal injury claim over a slip and fall accident.
The owner or operator of premises must repair or warn of any dangerous condition that they know of or could have discovered through a reasonable inspection of the property.
Animal Bites and Attacks
Most personal injury cases involving animal bites and attacks are dog bites. Normally, Indiana applies a “one bite rule” that allows the owner of a dog or other tame animal to escape liability if the animal had never before shown any aggressive tendencies. After that, the dog owner is liable for any injuries.
One exception to the “one bite rule” is that a victim who was carrying out a legal duty at the time (a mail carrier, for example) can win a lawsuit even if the dog had never shown any aggressive tendencies.
You need a permit to keep a wild animal, such as a fox, as a pet. If you keep one without a permit and it injures someone, you may face liability under Indiana’s negligence per se principle, which makes it easier for the victim to win the claim.
Other Types of Personal Injury Cases
The total number of types of possible personal injury claims and injuries is virtually impossible to count. Some examples include:
- Burn injuries;
- Head injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Civil battery;
- Food poisoning;
- Dram shop cases (in which a bar or nightclub bears liability for serving an intoxicated customer who later causes an injury);
- Aviation accidents;
- Boating accidents;
- Child injury cases;
- Mass torts such as asbestos exposure.
Types of damages in personal injury cases include medical expenses, lost earnings, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and several similar types of damages. As illustrated above, these damages can be tangible or intangible. You can add punitive damages to available personal injury types of damages under certain circumstances.
Don’t worry if your personal injury does not fall into one of the categories described above. Also, don’t worry if you don’t have any money, because we will charge you nothing unless we win your case. As experienced Northwest personal injury lawyers, we offer the following advantages.
- We enjoy a successful trial record, making opposing parties more willing to settle than to face us in court.
- Our attorneys have 80 years of combined experience.
- We have won thousands of cases.
- Our attorneys have plentiful experience in complex cases and have faced down (and beaten) some of the most capable law firms in the country.
- Our attorneys have practiced in Indiana their entire careers, and we know most of the local players in Northwest Indiana.