Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. The term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit alleging that the plaintiff’s injury has been caused by the negligence of another, but also arises in defamation torts.
The most common types of personal injury claims are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping accidents, assault claims, accidents in the home, product defect accidents (product liability) and holiday accidents. The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to numerous medical negligence claims every year) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermatitis, and repetitive strain injury cases.
If the negligence of another party can be proved, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party. In the United States, this system is complex and controversial, with critics calling for various forms of tort reform. Attorneys often represent clients on a “contingency basis,” in which the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the plaintiff’s eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved. Oftentimes, having an attorney becomes essential because cases become extremely complex, such as in medical malpractice cases.