What Is Personal Injury?
by Christian Scranton
In legal terms, personal injury is a term simply used to describe damage done to the person rather than property. This can cover all manner of injury as well as other forms of harm. Let’s take a closer look at what is considered a personal injury.
Personal injury cases can be brought against the party that is at fault for the injury. This may be on the basis of negligence (or the more serious gross negligence), intent, recklessness or the violation of liability law.
Ordinary negligence refers to a failure to uphold a duty. When you enter a shopping mall, the operator has a duty of care to ensure that you are met with a safe environment. This means that the escalator must be well maintained, the floors free from trip hazards and spills, and any electrical devices—such as hand dryers in the restrooms—tested for safety. If they fail to carry out the appropriate checks to ensure that their building is safe for customers and patrons, and this results in an injury, this will be considered a personal injury as a result of their carelessness and negligence.
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Gross negligence is more serious. It might not surprise you that it is a more extreme form of ordinary negligence, one that exhibits a disregard for the health and safety of other people. Gross negligence is used to describe behavior that is likely to cause harm. For example, a driver failing to stop at a stop sign comprises ordinary negligence, but a driver speeding through a stop sign, failing to see your car, may be considered gross negligence.
Reckless conduct goes a little further than negligence. In this case, the other party knows that they are putting you in harm’s way. Using our stop sign example, a reckless driver may speed through the stop sign and fail to react to oncoming traffic even though they saw your vehicle.
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Although this variation may be harder to prove as it is difficult to fully establish what is going through another person’s mind, it is possibly the easiest to define. If your injury was caused by a party fully intending to do you harm, then your personal injury case is based on intent.
Finally, certain parties—such as product manufacturers—are subject to liability law. The most fitting example of this is product liability law. If you buy something, you as a consumer must be protected from injury and other harm under this law. If the product you buy is faulty and your suffering could and should have been prevented by the manufacturer, your case is most likely a product liability case .
If another party caused your injury or other suffering based on one of the concepts above, you may have a personal injury case. If you’re ready to discuss pursuing your case, feel free to get in touch with us. We can arrange a face-to-face consultation in California or advise you via video or telephone.