“Personal injury lawsuit” can mean many different things. The injury underlying the lawsuit might be from a small fender bender or a complex pharmaceutical mishap. These types of injuries are different from the injuries that might result from a breach of contract or fraud. The most distinct difference is that personal injury cases usually involve some type of physically apparent injury. For example, you might decide to file a personal injury lawsuit if you break your arm in a car accident. Disputes over car accidents are the most frequent type of personal injury lawsuits. Sometimes personal injury lawsuits are referred to as torts.
Although each personal injury lawsuit is unique, they all share some common characteristics. Each lawsuit has a plaintiff and a defendant. The plaintiff is the party alleging an injury. The defendant is the party being blamed for the plaintiff’s injury. If you are successful in your lawsuit, then you will receive damages. Damages compensate you for the losses you incurred as a result of your injury. For example, you may have incurred medical bills during treatment for you injury. Other types of damages include punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. Punitive damages are damages that are intended to punish the defendant for his conduct – they are rarely awarded.
An example of a recent high-profile personal injury lawsuit is the claim brought by Toyota owners against the manufacturer. In that case the plaintiffs alleged that they had been injured when their cars accelerated out of control causing accidents. Toyota chose to settle a class action, separate from the personal injury claims, before going to trial. The reported settlement resulted in a payout of over $1 billion to the plaintiffs. The personal injury claims remain pending and it is unclear what damages the plaintiffs will recover in those cases.
If you have recently suffered an injury you may have a personal injury claim. There are limits on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit to recover for your injury. Contact an attorney today to discuss your potential claims, whether to file a lawsuit, and how to handle your claims.