Personal Injury Law

When Are Individuals Entitled to Bring an Action for Personal Injury?

When someone is physically or emotionally injured, it is considered in law to be a “personal injury”. The laws covering personal injury allow the injured person to obtain compensation for personal injuries caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. Personal injury law is also called “tort” law. Tort actions have three elements: there must be a legal duty between the defendant (the wrongdoer) and the plaintiff (the person injured); there must be a breach of that duty; and damage (injury) must occur because of that breach. When all three elements are present, a tort has occurred and an action for money damages (compensation) may be brought by the injured person against the wrongdoer.

You Are Entitled to be Free From Harm From Other People and Companies

Laws in the United States require all citizens to use reasonable care in their actions, so as to not harm others. If someone else harms you as a result of their fault, they may be liable to you under the tort laws governing the situation. Liability may be imposed for intentional acts, or for negligent acts. An intentional act is one designed to cause harm or injury – the person committing the act wanted to harm you. A negligent act occurs when someone fails to use reasonable care, and you are harmed as a result of that failure. For instance, if an angry person throws a brick through your car window, that is an intentional tort (it may also be a criminal act). On the other hand, if a careless driver runs a stop sign and crashes into your car, that is negligence. In the first case, the defendant wanted to cause an injury; in the second case, the defendant did not want to injure you but failed to use reasonable care to prevent your injury. In both cases, the defendant had a duty to not injure you, because our laws and society create that duty. The duty was breached by the intentional or negligent actions of the defendant, and damage to your person resulted.

Strict Liability: When Others Are Liable Even If They Exercised Due Care

Another area of personal injury law covers “strict liability”. Strict liability means that there is responsibility whether or not negligence was involved. This is applied to situations that are abnormally or inherently dangerous, and also in the area of product liability. Manufacturers are charged with the responsibility of assuring that their products are safe when used as directed. If someone is injured by a defective product, under strict liability law, in order to recover compensation for their injuries they do not have to prove intent or negligence, only that the product was defective through no fault of their own, and that harm was done as a result.

What Damages May Be Recovered?

Once a personal injury has occurred, the wrongdoer may be found liable for the injury. “Damages” is the legal term for the losses you sustain. The dollar value of the damages can be established in court, or can be agreed upon by you and the wrongdoer, by you and the wrongdoer’s insurance company, or by other means. Personal injury law establishes a mechanism for determining who is in the wrong, or in other words, who is “liable”, and what the liable person should have to pay for the damage caused. Under Arizona personal injury law, the injured person may be entitled to recover damages (money compensation) for any of the following elements that apply to the situation:

1. The nature, extent, and duration of the injury.

2. The pain, discomfort, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and anxiety already experienced, and reasonably probable to be experienced in the future as a result of the injury.

3. Reasonable expenses of necessary medical care, treatment, and services rendered, and reasonably probable to be incurred in the future.

4. Lost earnings to date, and any decrease in earning power or capacity in the future.

5. Loss of love, care, affection, companionship, and other pleasures of the marital or family relationship.

6. Loss of enjoyment of life, that is, the participation in life’s activities to the quality and extent normally enjoyed before the injury.

If you are the victim of a personal injury, there are several things you can do to help yourself. First of all, make sure that you immediately contact the proper authorities. Promptly seek proper medical attention and contact your own insurance company. If you believe the carelessness or intentional act of another caused your injury, you may want to contact an attorney to discuss this. You should call as soon as it is convenient to do so and avoid discussing the matter with strangers and/or insurance representatives who are not from your own insurance company. You should be cooperative with the police, your own treating physicians, and your own insurance company. Statutes of limitations cover most personal injury cases, which means that you only have a certain period of time in which to file a lawsuit.

Call Us – We Can Help

If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Bache & Lynch at 520-834-8921 or contact us online.

The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if we win compensation for you. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.