Personal injury law can seem overly complicated, especially for those unfamiliar with legal arguments and definitions. However, the basis of personal injury claims comes down to intent, negligence and responsibility. If you can understand these ideas, then you can understand the foundations of any personal injury claim. Therefore, when discussing personal injury law, there are mainly three types of claims – intentional torts, negligence and strict liability. Each case has a specific definition and a particular burden of proof.
1. Intentional Torts
Intentional torts are typically described as claims that stipulate an injury occurred due to the deliberate or willful act of another. Therefore, an intentional tort is usually filed when someone is the victim of a crime, like a mugging, assault or other action leading to significant harm. While this type of incident will likely result in a criminal proceeding as well, a civil lawsuit does not require the same burden of proof, meaning that a defendant may be found innocent during a criminal proceeding and guilty in a civil case.
Negligence may seem like a straightforward topic, but in legal terms, it is significant and broad in definition. In its most simple definition, negligence refers to the carelessness of one party causing injury to another. For example, an individual choosing to drive intoxicated and then causing an accident which leads to significant injury of another party is considered careless, or negligent. A doctor who accidentally sews a surgical rag inside of a patient, causing infection and discomfort, is negligent and will likely face a malpractice claim. However, negligence, while loosely defined mainly refers to the failure to act in a manner of care responsible and prudent for an individual of their standing. Therefore, a doctor is held to a higher standard than a patient, whereas a drunk driver is held to the general standards of every driver.
3. Strict Liability
Strict liability is not dependent on the actions of any individual, but rather on the defectiveness of a product. While most personal injury claims are brought against individuals, strict liability is typically brought against businesses and corporate entities, and this type of case must prove several things.
- The product was unreasonably dangerous
- The product was defective
- The product did not change significantly in transport
- The defect caused the injury
While personal injury law can seem complicated, it is typically based around one of the above claims. If you feel that you have a strong personal injury claim, or if you are curious about the merits of a potential case, then contact a local personal injury attorney to discuss possible next steps.