ersonal Injury law is centred in the law of torts. This area of law is one that concerns itself with the righting of civil wrongs. There is no governmental action inherent in these kinds of legal cases. There is only the plaintiff – the person who was injured in some manner, and the tortfeasor or the person who caused the injury. Personal Injury Law is solely the domain of the private person. There may be occasions where a criminal matter may result in additional civil matters, however these are considered to be separate matters and are dealt with at differing times and in alternate courts.
Most personal injury matters hinge on the proving of negligence by the tortfeasor. There are exceptions to this rule – particularly the matter of slander and bullying. Negligence is proven where one person is not personally responsible. Their actions, or inactions cause harm to befall another. Generally people do not mean to harm one another – but carelessness and irresponsibility can be harmful or even deadly to others. The drunk driver did not get into the car and drive home with the intention of crashing into another person, but by being irresponsible about driving under the influence of alcohol they have inadvertently caused harm. If the tortfeasor is proven to have acted in an irresponsible manner then they will have to make restitution to the plaintiff, generally in the form of material compensation i.e. Money.
Once a case of negligence has been proven in favour of the plaintiff damages will be awarded. The aim of awarding damages to a plaintiff is in an effort to make the injured person whole through the awarding of monies for compensation. Compensation can be awarded to pay for medical costs, loss of earnings – past and future, for a reduction in the quality of life the plaintiff may have suffered. Compensation may also be awarded for emotional distress that the plaintiff ha suffered as a direct result of the tortious action. Another compensation may be awarded for punitive damages (See below). Compensation is generally restricted by state provisioned limits, which give guidelines as to how much a particular injury can be compensated for. Disablement or disfigurement to the very young may be awarded much higher compensation than similar injuries to older people due to the length of time that the plaintiff will effected by the injury. These limits aim to give fair and adequate compensation for any loss that is suffered.
Punitive damages are awarded when the state – as represented by the civil court and judge that acts as an arm of the state – decides that an example must be made of the tortfeasor and the punitive damages will act as a deterrent for others who may be tempted to engage in similar forms of wrongdoing. Punitive damages are often awarded against large corporations for civil wrongs such as provision of defective goods. Where it is shown that a gross negligence was in evidence in either design or manufacture a court may chose to apply punitive damages to deter other companies from producing defective goods.
This is where one may suffer an injury from a defective product. The defect may be present in the design or in the manufacturing process. These kinds of personal injury cases often balloon to become large class actions where many people have been similarly affected by the same product. These cases often span many years, have hundreds of plaintiffs and can result in multi-billion dollar restitution packages. One of the most famous class actions is the one against Dow Corning for silicone breast implants. This resulted in many billions of dollars of compensation being paid out to thousands of women over a span of years. The company went into bankruptcy and the product was removed from the market. There is still ongoing debate about the findings of the case with evidence arising in later years demonstrating negligible risk for silicone implants. Saline implants and silica based implants are still available today.
In the competitive world of sport winning is everything and those who play at a high level may use underhanded tricks to gain victory. This is where the rules of fair play interact with sports law. If a competitor injures another intentionally to gain advantage then there is grounds for a civil compensation case. Many of these cases are found in favour of the plaintiff. The law is based on common law precedents of fair play and a ‘level playing field’. If one participant contravenes the law then they may be risking a civil suit for injury compensation.
If a medical practitioner does not demonstrate due care and abide by the strictures of their ethical code then they may find themselves subject to a personal injury lawsuit. We often see cases of malpractice across our news feeds and for good reason. We trust medical practitioners. If we are not treated within the strictures of their code of ethics then we have grounds to make personal injury claim against them. Medical negligence may arise for a variety of reasons, each as individual as the practitioners themselves.
For more information on Negligence view our article here:
Disclaimer: While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended as legal advice. All individual circumstances will differ and such should be discussed with a lawyer. For legal advice pertaining to your particular circumstances or regarding the information provided please contact us here: