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Personal Injury Defined

Personal injury accounts for physical, emotional, and mental injuries that result from an accident. Personal injury does not include damage to property. Furthermore, the legal definition of personal injury stipulates that the accident from which injury occurs is the result of the other party’s failure to act with reasonable care. Reasonable care postulates that the party who caused the accident did not exercise appropriate care and caution. This is determined by asking how a sensible and rational person would act under the same circumstances. It can be considered negligence if the other party is determined to have failed to act with reasonable care. Negligence is a key element in most personal injury cases to determine that another party is at fault for the resulting injuries.

The Elements of Negligence

For a successful negligence suit, five elements must be proven:

  • Duty: Is there a duty of care owed by the party the caused the accident (defendant) to the injured party? This is often determined by the nature of the relationship between both parties and what duty of care is involved in that relationship. Often, a judge will determine duty.

  • Breach of Duty: If the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff and failed to use reasonable care in meeting that duty, that is a breach. This element is determined by a jury.

  • Cause in Fact: The plaintiff must provide proof that defendant’s actions led to injury.

  • Proximate Cause: The defendant is only responsible for the actions he or she can foresee. If injuries occurred outside of what the defendant could foresee, the plaintiff cannot prove the defendant is responsible for those injuries,

  • Damages: The plaintiff must prove that there were damages resulting from the defendant’s negligence, not merely the presence of negligence.

What Counts as a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit can include injury or wrongful death cases from accidents, liability, and medical malpractice.

  • Accidents: Accidents can include car, bicycle, pedestrian, boat, airplane, truck, and construction accidents where one party’s negligence causes injury to another party.

  • Liability: Liability can include product, premises, or nursing home liability. Product liability holds companies, manufacturers, sellers, and distributors of products responsible for safeguarding consumers against defective or dangerous products. Premise liability places responsibility on the owner and residents of land or premises if anyone sustains an injury. Nursing home liability makes the nursing home responsible for injuries and deaths resulting from negligence.

  • Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice holds medical professionals responsible for patient harm due to negligence.

What Damages are Recovered in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A successful personal injury lawsuit may recover special damages (medical expenses, past & future, lost earnings, lost profits, etc..), general damages (pain & suffering, past, present & future, diminished capacity to labor, etc..) and, if appropriate, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.

Contact Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.

If you believe you have a personal injury case, you need the help of an experienced lawyer. In some cases, there is a time limit during which you must submit your claim. Additionally, there are steps to take following an injury that can help you case. Atlanta metro area attorneys at Goldstein & Hayes are here to help. Contact us now for a free consultation.