Your Injury Case

What, Exactly, Is a Personal Injury Case?

There are two main types of legal cases: civil and criminal. Although both types of cases are judged in a courtroom, there are some major differences between the two.

Criminal cases:

  • Start when the police think a law has been broken and lay charges against someone.
  • Have possible penalties such as fines (money that's paid to the local, state, or federal government as a punishment for breaking a law), restitution (money paid to the victim of a crime), and incarceration (time spent in a jail or prison).
  • Don't require the victim to press charges (in spite of what you might commonly see in legal TV shows, the police can decide to pursue a case as soon as they think a law's been broken, even if the victim doesn't want to).

Civil cases:

  • Start when Person 1 (or organization, like a company) sues Person 2 because they think that Person 2 has harmed them in some way.
  • Have possible penalties that are only financial (these are called damages). No one is sent to jail at the end of a civil case (although if it's discovered during the case that someone broke the law, criminal charges can then be filed).
  • Requires one person/party to start the case. Even if it's widely known that two people were in a car accident, the case won't start until one person (or their insurance company) sues the other.

Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases are civil cases. They only begin when one person makes the decision to seek damages from another. The person who starts the court case is called the plaintiff. The person who is being sued is called the defendant.

There are many different types of cases that fall under the personal injury umbrella. Let's look at some of the major ones.

Car Accident Injury Cases

Car accident cases make up the majority of personal injury cases (53%, according to the Department of Justice). A car accident case is any case involving an automobile. It doesn't need to be between two drivers; it could be between a driver and a pedestrian, for example. These accidents often cause both property damage and personal injury.

Property damage is usually the more clear-cut of the two. After all, it's easier to put a price tag on a car than on someone's long-term health. Not all personal injury lawyers handle both property damage and personal injury cases. Many do, but it's something you'll want to check before choosing a lawyer.

The personal injury portion is more difficult to put an exact price on, and this is the area where an experienced lawyer can make all the difference. A lawyer that specializes in personal injury will have the knowledge to fight for every dollar you're entitled to. Your lawyer will think in the long term to help you get the damages that you need to make your best recovery.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and falls are another common type of personal injury case. These happen when a person is injured in a fall, and they think someone else's behavior (or lack thereof) caused that fall. Many of these cases involve negligence (for example, when a property owner doesn't fix a damaged walkway and it causes someone to fall, or a store doesn't let customers know that a floor has just been mopped and is slippery).

Product Liability

Sometimes, a product malfunctions and causes injury. Some examples of this would be a curling iron that gets much hotter than it should and causes a serious burn if it's accidentally brushed against the skin, or a power tool that doesn't have a safety guard (or has a poorly made guard) and hurts someone.

In these cases, it may be possible to sue the manufacturer and/or the distributor of the product to recover damages for personal injury. These cases (like almost all personal injury cases) can get very technical, so you'll want to make sure you have an experienced lawyer to assist you.

Workplace Accidents

Accidents that happen in the workplace have some special considerations that other types of personal injuries might not. For example, a law known as RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) requires all workplace accidents to be reported and records to be kept. Check out our article 10 Items to Tackle After a Work Accident for more information on what to do after this sort of accident.

Finding a Lawyer Doesn't Have to Be Complicated

If you've suffered from any of these sorts of accidents, you may be stressed and unsure what to do next. At, we can evaluate your case and get you started in just three minutes. You don't have to worry about this on your own. Start your claim today.