Different Types of Personal Injury CasesA personal injury case is where the plaintiff experiences an injury to either the body or the mind. Based on this definition, there are many occasions where victims of accidents can seek compensation for their injuries. Here are just a few of the most common personal injury cases experienced personal injury attorneys handle regularly.
Motor Vehicle AccidentsOne of the most common personal injury cases is motor vehicle accidents. Regardless of whether the accident occurs from a car, truck, or motorcycle, millions of Americans are injured from motor vehicle accidents annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in every major industry. In just one year, 1,270 American workers died in work-related motor vehicle accidents. Victims of motor vehicle accidents can suffer from catastrophic injuries, which are injuries that people can never recover from.
Premises LiabilityAnother typical personal injury case is premises liability. Premises liability accidents happen when a person suffers an injury while visiting another property. These cases hold property owners responsible for failing to provide a safe environment to all visitors. Property owners are accountable to all visitors to provide a safe space and remove any dangerous hazards from their environment. Common accidents on another person’s premises include swimming pool accidents, animal attacks, slip and fall accidents, and even amusement park accidents. In some cases, victims injured in an elevator or escalator can sue for premises liability.
Wrongful DeathOne of the newest personal injury lawsuits is wrongful death lawsuits. Survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit from any of the above accidents or any accident resulting in another person’s death. What makes wrongful death lawsuits unique is that another plaintiff can seek compensation against a negligent defendant for the reckless actions against another party. The deceased victim’s survivors can file a claim against the negligent party and request compensation to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Just like any personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiffs must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions caused the death of the survivors’ loved ones.
Differences Between Personal Injury Trials and Criminal Law TrialsEven though criminal law holds the public’s interest, personal injury cases are some of the most frequent cases in American courtrooms. However, some people confuse the two different types of cases, especially in wrongful death lawsuits. Most people assume that wrongful death lawsuits are similar to murder trials. However, here are some of the key differences between the two.
The ability to pursue financial compensationPlaintiffs in a personal injury lawsuit have the opportunity to request a certain amount of compensation from the defendants. This ability is a stark contrast to criminal trials, where the state must file charges against a defendant, and the only consequence for the defendant is jail or prison time.
The different goals that the legal representation wants to achieveA criminal lawyer has one goal: to absolve their client of the alleged charges they are facing. A personal injury lawyer focuses on making their client “whole” again after their accident. Fighting for compensation is one of the ways that a personal injury lawyer can help their client feel “whole” again.
The differences in the areas of lawCriminal lawyers concentrate their practice in one particular area of the law. As a result, they generally do not take on clients outside of their realm of focus. On the other hand, personal injury lawyers represent clients regardless of what kind of personal injury accident they have endured. If the accident falls under the branch of personal injury, the lawyer will represent the client and fight for their compensation.
Different levels of proofDuring a criminal trial, the burden of proof determining whether a defendant is guilty of a criminal charge is beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof that a personal injury case must meet is a "preponderance of the evidence." This standard means that there must be at least a 51 percent chance that the defendant was negligent against the plaintiff. Personal injury law contains an easier burden of proof than criminal law.
Chances of Winning a Personal Injury LawsuitEven though the burden of proof in a personal injury case is lower than in a criminal case, that does not mean that winning will be any easier. The chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit are dependent on several factors:
The severity of the plaintiff’s injuriesHow significant are your injuries? Are you likely to make a recovery? In general, the more detrimental a plaintiff’s injuries, the more compensation they are entitled to from the defendant.
How well a personal injury lawyer can prove that the defendant was negligentFour elements must prove a defendant’s negligence. The more evidence that a personal injury lawyer can prove the defendant’s negligence, the greater the chances of winning a lawsuit.
Whether the defendant carries insurance that can cover the plaintiff’s damagesIn many personal injury lawsuits, the defendant will cover the plaintiff’s damages through their insurance company. If the defendant does not carry any insurance or the defendant’s insurance policy does not provide enough coverage, it can present a problem for the plaintiff when trying to recover compensation.
What Are The Success Rates of Personal Injury Cases?
Many employees in the legal field will tell you that many cases do not make it to trial, and personal injury lawsuits are no exception. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, many personal injury cases settle out of court. If the personal injury case results in a bench trial, plaintiffs have a 68 percent chance of winning compared to jury trials. Bench trials are trials where a judge makes the final ruling decision. If a plaintiff’s injury case involves a jury, the plaintiff has a 54 percent chance of winning. When personal injury lawsuits make it to trial, it can result in an unfavorable outcome for the plaintiff.