Personal injury law covers a wide variety of case types. Any time an individual is injured because of another party’s negligence or reckless actions, he or she may file a personal injury claim to recover the following damages:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages and future income;
- Pain and suffering; and
- In the case of wrongful death claims, funeral expenses and the loss of the victim’s companionship and consortium to his or her family members.
The following are the types of personal injury claim that a victim may file. Sometimes, the category into which an individual’s accident falls is not immediately obvious. When this happens, the victim can work with a personal injury attorney to determine the appropriate claim type for his or her injury.
Product Liability Claims
Manufacturers have what is known as product liability. This means that when an individual is injured by a faulty or defective product, the product’s manufacturer may be liable for the victim’s damages.
When a manufacturer finds that one of its products poses the risk of harm to its users, the manufacturer must recall the product. When a product is recalled, the manufacturer offers consumers the option to have the faulty product either repaired or replaced to eliminate the hazard.
Sometimes, distributors and retailers can be named as negligent parties in liability claims if they continue to sell a recalled product.
Premises Liability Claims
Property owners have the responsibility to maintain a safe environment on their properties. This means that they must remove hazards as they become aware of them and for hazards that cannot be quickly or easily removed from the premises, clearly mark them so guests can avoid becoming injury victims.
The responsibility to prevent accidents on one’s property is known as a property owner’s duty of care. The duty of care that a property owner owes to those on his or her property depends on why the individual is on the property.
Business invitees require the highest duty of care. Business invitees are individuals who come to the property to conduct business, such as shoppers coming to a property owner’s store to make purchases. A property owner must repair any dangers on the property as soon as possible and when he or she cannot, he or she must mark the hazard clearly as such.
Social guests are owed a slightly lower duty of care than business invitees. Social guests are any guests who enter a piece of property to spend time with the owner, but not to conduct business. For a social guest, a property owner must warn of any hazards on the property and take care to prevent injuries.
Trespassers, adults who enter a property illegally, are owed the lowest duty of care. The only duty of care that a property owner owes to trespassers is to not intentionally harm them. However, minor trespassers cannot be held liable for their own actions and must be extended a higher duty of care.
Dog Bite Claims
When a dog bites a victim, the dog’s owner is liable for the victim’s damages. But there are many exceptions to this liability. Examples of exceptions to Tennessee’s dog bite law include:
- The dog was not running at large or was otherwise restrained when the bite occurred;
- If the dog was protecting its owner or another innocent party when the bite occurred;
- If the dog was a military or police dog and the bite occurred within the dog’s official duties;
- If the victim provoked the dog into biting;
- If the dog was secured in a crate; and
- If the victim was a trespasser to the dog’s home property.
Additionally, if the bite occurred while the victim was on the dog owner’s property or if the dog and its owner were lawfully on the property, the victim must prove that the dog’s owner knew or should reasonably have known about the dog’s aggressive tendencies in order to have grounds for a dog bite claim.
Car Accident Claims
Car accident claims are one of the most common types of personal injury claim filed in the United States. This is largely because of how frequently we use our cars – most Americans use their cars every single day.
If you are injured in a car accident, you may seek compensation from the negligent driver’s automobile insurance provider. This is because Tennessee is a fault state with regard to car accident claims.
Wrongful Death Claims
A death can occur in any type of accident. When a victim dies because of an accident or his or her injuries sustained in one, the victim’s loved one may file a wrongful death claim to recover the expenses associated with his or her loss. These expenses can include:
- Funeral costs;
- Medical bills;
- The loss of the victim’s earnings and future financial contributions to the household; and
- The loss of the victim’s companionship and consortium.
Medical Malpractice Claims
When a victim is injured because of the negligence or reckless behavior of a doctor or another healthcare professional, he or she may file a medical malpractice claim to recover damages.
Some examples of medical malpractice that can lead to injuries include:
- Misdiagnosis of an illness;
- Leaving surgical equipment inside a patient after surgery is complete;
- Giving a patient the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of his or her medication;
- Failure to diagnose an illness or condition;
- Use of excessive force during birth or surgery that causes fractures, sprains, or other bodily harm; and
- Neglecting a patient during his or her recovery.
When an infant suffers an injury at his or her birth, the infant’s parents may file a birth injury claim. This specific type of medical malpractice claim deals with the injuries that infants suffer because of the treatment they or their mothers received prior to and during birth, such as the improper use of a vacuum extractor or incorrect dosage of medication.
Intentional torts are a little bit different from other types of personal injury claim because with an intentional tort, the party responsible for the victim’s injury intended to cause harm. Assault, battery, and domestic violence are all forms of intentional torts.
When a victim files a claim for an intentional tort, he or she may recover the same types of damages that he or she can recover through other types of personal injury claim. In addition to the victim recovering damages, the offender may face criminal charges for his or her actions. Although the claimant must prove that the offender’s actions were done to intentionally cause harm, he or she does not need to prove that the offender’s actions were meant to harm him or her specifically. Merely the proof that the actions were committed to hurt others is enough to prove intent in this type of claim.
The idea of a defamation claim being considered a type of personal injury can seem nonsensical to some. After all, committing an act of libel or slander against an individual does not cause him or her any physical harm. But in the United States, claims of defamation are considered to be personal injury claims.
Why? Because they can cause an individual to suffer emotional harm and lost career opportunities. Libel is defined as character defamation committed through printed or written words or images. For example, an altered photograph showing an individual committing a crime may be considered to be libel. Slander is the spoken word version of libel. Slander generally has shorter-term consequences for a victim, but can be as harmful to his or her reputation as libel.