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What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law is the area of law developed to address injuries, whether physical or psychological, or accidents and the compensation paid for them or other remedies achieved between parties. Most people think of personal injury law in the context of car accident cases. The important distinction with personal injury law is that it involves injury inflicted to the body, mind, or emotional well-being of a person, rather than injury inflicted on an inanimate object, such as personal property or real property.


The majority of personal injuries come under the caption of torts. As a result, personal injury suits refer to a specific type of tort litigation in which allegations are made that a claimant's injuries were caused by another party's negligence or wrongdoing. The accidents or injuries at issue in personal injury law occur as a result of negligence or wrongdoing exercised on the part of another individual, company, government entity, or other party. The party causing the accident or injury is the tortfeasor. In addition to negligence being a cause of these types of injuries, another potential cause of such injuries is a defamation tort. Defamation usually results in injury to the mind, emotional well-being, or reputation of a party, as opposed to inflicting any type of real or personal property damage.


Personal injury cases are disputes that occur when one party suffers an injury or harm arising out of an accident or injury, and another party might be liable or legally responsible for the harm inflicted. A personal injury case can take or assume a rather formal posture through the court system and civil court cases proceeding in that context. The object of a civil court case in the personal injury context is to identify the other parties legally responsible or at fault for the injuries sustained and to achieve a judgment or compensation award for the injured party that will attempt to restore the victim to wholeness or at least pay in full or part for losses, damages, medical bills, expenses, and costs.


Short of the requirement of formal litigation through the court system, it is common for personal injury cases to resolve through informal early settlement prior to the commencement of any suit filing. Informal early settlement entails the exchange of discussions and negotiations about the claim and damages asserted between the parties, including the victim, person alleged to have caused the damage, insurance companies, and any attorneys. When informal early settlement is not sufficient to resolve a case, alternative dispute resolution methods and tools may still prove successful in achieving a settlement short of full-blown formal litigation proceedings in the court system.