No matter where you go in the United States, you’re likely to see/hear a TV/radio commercial advertising a personal injury lawyer or law firm— but what does “personal injury” mean? Personal injury is a broad topic, covering a variety of situations that cause bodily harm. However, not all personal injury law firms cover all personal injury. Here’s a look at what situations fall under personal injury.
Automobile accidents— whether they involve cars, motorcycles, or semi-trucks— are the most common practice area of personal injury law firms. In the U.S., there are about 13 car accidents per minute, making them pretty common. Some of the most common causes of car accidents in the U.S. include:
- Reckless driving (including speeding)
- Driving under the influence (of drugs or alcohol)
- Distracted driving
- Inclement weather
When involved in a car accident, you should call 911 and also visit a doctor to treat and document any potential injuries. You should also call a personal injury lawyer to ensure you’re compensated properly. It’s also important to note that you should contact a lawyer local to the city where the accident occurred.
Birth injuries can occur when a child is seriously injured during birth. This is a subcategory of medical malpractice, and usually covers common birth injuries such as:
- Shoulder dystocia
- Facial nerve palsy
- Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus)
- Cerebral palsy and other brain trauma
Personal injury law firms that cover medical malpractice may or may not cover birth injuries, so it’s important to look into firms that specify that they have experience in this area.
Class Action Lawsuits/Mass Torts
Both class action lawsuits and mass torts seek justice for a large group of people who have been injured, usually because of a product recall. The difference is that mass tort claims are similar to personal injury claims, as each plaintiff is treated as an individual. Class action lawsuits group all victims into one plaintiff to be represented. Examples of current class action lawsuits/mass torts include:
- Uber/Rideshare Accidents
- Tylenol (Autism) Lawsuits
- NEC Baby Formula
- Mesothelioma Lung Cancer
- Hernia Mesh Lawsuits
- Drug and Product Recalls
- Chemical Hair Straighteners (Cancer) Lawsuits
Healthcare professionals working in medical services of any type are supposed to prioritize patient safety. However, mistakes do happen— but these mistakes can lead to serious, lifelong injuries or even death. Some of the most common medical malpractice claims include:
- Surgical/anesthesia mistakes
- Negligent treatment
- Hospital errors
- Emergency room errors
- Diagnostic errors/misdiagnosis
- Dental mistakes
Nursing Home/Assisted Living Abuse and Neglect
Nursing homes and other assisted living facilities are sometimes the only options for people who need constant care. Unfortunately, not all assisted living facilities are properly caring for their patients— for whatever reason— and some patients in these facilities experience abuse and/or neglect. Common forms of abuse/neglect include:
- Verbal/emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Medication errors
- Bed sores
Some personal injury law firms may sub-categorize nursing home abuse under medical malpractice since nursing homes are a type of medical facility.
Premises liability is a subcategory of personal injury that pertains to property owners being held responsible if someone gets injured on their property. The most common types of premises liability cases include:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Inadequate security
- Dog (and other animal) bites
- Asbestos exposure
Many things can cause slips, trips, and falls, like broken staircases, clutter, cracked pavements, damaged carpeting, inadequate lighting, and snowy/icy/wet surfaces.
In the United States, the majority of employers must have workers’ compensation insurance in the event that their employees get injured on the job— through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, some employers either don’t carry this insurance or refuse to pay their workers’ compensation, so a personal injury lawyer who specializes in this area can help.
Wrongful death is a subcategory of all of these personal injury categories, because any of these injuries can lead to death. A wrongful death is defined as a death that could have been preventable, but happened due to the negligent action(s) of others.
Again, not all personal injury law firms cover all areas of personal injury. Car/motorcycle/semi-truck accidents seem to be the most covered area of personal injury law, and many law firms only specialize in this specific area. To make sure your needs are covered, you’ll have to look into a law firm that covers multiple areas of personal injury.