Personal injury is broadly defined as any possible injury to an individual. Personal injury law actually encompasses all types of injury, including accidents, malpractice, product liability and any other injuries discussed on ILD. We use the term “personal injury” more narrowly – discussing those injuries which do not fit underneath those other, more specific, categories.
Personal injury lawyers practice tort law. In essence, tort law can be thought of as:
Books are written about each of these elements. Countless cases exist to help define each element. Who owes whom a duty? What is exactly necessary to breach the duty? Etc.
Were you owed a duty? Who is responsible for the injury? In thinking about who’s responsible – did they have a duty to you? For instance, on the road, any driver has a duty to another driver. Businesses owe a duty to their patrons. Doctors owe a duty to their patients. Although it isn’t often thought about in such terms, people and businesses have countless duties to others.
“Breach” can be slightly more complicated. For instance, we all know a driver who crosses the center line has breached their duty to the car he hits head on. But not every situation is so clear. Breaching a duty is not always obvious.
Causation is even less obvious. Did the breach cause the damages – that’s the question which must be asked. Going back to the driver who crossed the center line… when the dashboard winds up in the other drivers lap, breaking both of her legs, it’s easy to know the negligent driver’s crossing the center line was the breach that caused the broken legs. But what if a driver barely taps the bumper of another, but because the other driver had a wholly separate condition, the driver died? What caused what? It can be very unclear.
Damages are often easier. What were the hospital bills? What was the property damage? What were the lost wages? These are often numbers on a piece of paper. Wrongful death damages and non-economic damages are more difficult to know. These damages are sometimes lumped in with pain and suffering.
Sometimes a negligence case has two separate aspects to the trial – liability and damages. Liability is, in essence, the first three tort elements – duty, breach, and causation. Once that’s proved, damages must be proved and sorted out. The more damages are at stake, the more likely the issue is to be heavily litigated.
The purpose of Injury Lawyer Database is to bring transparency to the way injured people select attorneys. We believe a lawyer should be chosen based on statistics, experience, and success. We provide statistics on lawyers from real injury cases.