What Constitutes as a Personal Injury?
Three characteristics distinguish personal injuries from other kinds of legal harms:
- The injury affects a specific individual’s body, brain, or emotional well-being.
- The injury results from negligence or recklessness rather than malice or intent.
- The injury stems directly from a failure to exercise reasonable care.
The third criterion matters because simply being negligent or acting recklessly does not expose a person or organization to liability for a personal injury. Under law, a specific action must cause a specific harm to merit a claim for personal injury.
If this reads too much like legalese, you can at least excuse the Cleveland, OH, personal injury lawyers with Agee Mitchell Clymer and Portman for being lawyers. Very precise, sometimes seemingly circular, definitions inform everything we do. The precision also matters greatly to plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits because simply suffering a physical injury, brain damage, or emotional distress does not, by itself, qualify a person to receive compensation and payments for damages.
Personal Injuries Come in Many Forms
A full list of personal injuries would run into the tens of thousands of items. It would range from broken bones and cancer to concussions and post-traumatic stress disorder. Any attempt at comprehensiveness would likely fall short in any event, because new ways of hurting people seem to appear daily.
Here are just a handful of the most common types of personal injuries that give rise to insurance claims and court cases:
- Birth injuries such as cerebral palsy and stillbirths
- Brain and head injuries, especially those that inflict permanent problems with speech, movement, and cognition
- Blinding and vision loss
- Cuts and lacerations
- Deafening and hearing loss
- Disfigurement (i.e., scarring)
- Electrical shocks
- Emotional distress and trauma, including all forms of psychological disorders that originated with the accident
- Fractures and crush injuries
- Illnesses (e.g., work-related lung disease, developmental disorders due to lead paint exposure)
- Loss of function, which can include physical disability and psychological impairment
- Loss of support and companionship, especially for spouses and children after a wrongful death
- Overdoses and poisonings from toxins, medications, and illegal drugs
- Persistent and chronic pain
- Spine and neck injuries
Personal Injuries Have Many Causes
Car accidents and truck crashes come most quickly to mind when thinking about personal injuries, but several types of errors or irresponsible behavior can result in harm. These include dangerous and defective products, medical malpractice, wrong-site surgeries, dog bites, maintaining unsafe worksites, and failing to secure premises. That last category encompasses the kinds of injuries most people refer to as slips and falls. Just one example would be walking down a store’s aisle and having a heavy box fall on one’s head. Again, a fuller list could run into the thousands; the short version is that businesses, property managers, and homeowners have legal obligations to ensure the safety and health of customers and visitors.
Personal Injury Victims Need Attorneys
Returning to the third characteristic of what makes a personal injury a personal injury in the eyes of the law, the skilled and experienced Ohio personal injury attorneys of Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman can help injured individuals draw straight lines between the harms they suffered and the negligence or recklessness of the responsible parties. Whether a driver ran a red light and hit you in a crosswalk, a doctor prescribed the wrong drug in the wrong dose, or a damaged set of stairs outside an apartment building went unrepaired, you can count on us to pull together and present the evidence required to hold the careless or heedless individual or corporation accountable. To learn how, contact us online or call (800) 678-3318 to request a no-cost case consultation.