January 4, 2024
Did you know there were approximately 25.5 million emergency department visits for unintentional injuries in 2021?
While the negligence or misconduct of others isn’t always to blame for unintentional injuries, it can be the culprit sometimes. When it is, you may be able to file what is known as a personal injury claim to try to receive a settlement (known as compensatory damages) for your injuries and pain and suffering.
The most common types of personal injury cases involve car accidents, which leads many people to believe personal injury firms exclusively handle auto claims. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
Once you review the seven personal injury examples we provide in this article, you’ll see personal injury cases actually span a pretty wide spectrum.
What Is Considered a Personal Injury?
To put it simply, you may have a personal injury on your hands if you were harmed by the negligence or misdeeds of another party.
Harm in a personal injury case can be physical or emotional in nature. For example, you could have incurred back injuries from an incident, but also be suffering from PTSD and depression as a result of it. If you proceed with filing a personal injury claim, all the ways in which you were harmed generally will be taken into consideration.
In the following subsections, we discuss the seven most common types of personal injury cases to help you gain a better understanding of when to get a personal injury lawyer.
Keep in mind the list below is not comprehensive. If you don’t find your specific type of personal injury, it doesn’t mean you lack the grounds for filing a personal injury claim.
The 7 Most Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Most Indiana personal injury cases will fall under one or more of the seven categories we mention in this section. While procedures and the type of evidence you’ll need to prove your claim can vary based on the type of personal injury you’re dealing with, there are some rules that broadly apply to all personal injury claims.
The most important rule to be aware of has to do with deadlines for filing a personal injury claim. Indiana limits the amount of time you have to file your claim to two years from the date or your accident, or two years from the date you discovered your injuries or reasonably should have discovered them. That said, you should aim to file your claim as soon as possible of your accident for optimal results.
If you proceed with filing a claim, and hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with it, they will be able to fill you in on any other rules that pertain to your case.
1. Motor Vehicle Accidents
By far, the most common types of personal injury cases are motor vehicle accidents. While we most often think of motor vehicle accidents as involving two cars, there are many more categories of motor vehicle accidents that personal injury lawyers can handle.
For example, at Hensley Legal, we often deal with truck accidents, Lyft and Uber accidents, motorcycle accidents, hit-and-run accidents, and even accidents in which a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle.
Because Indiana is an at-fault state, parties are only eligible for a personal injury settlement from the other party’s insurer if they were less than 51% at fault for the accident. Determining fault in a car accident can be complicated in this state, but if you have questions, you can always schedule a free consultation.
2. Product Liability
Remember when McDonald’s was forced to pay a huge settlement for serving scalding hot coffee to a customer that resulted in her suffering third-degree burns? That would’ve been considered a product liability personal injury claim.
Product liability personal injury cases generally involve a faulty product that causes harm. In instances where a manufacturer knows their product is faulty or poses a risk of some kind, they must provide adequate warnings to the consumer about the potential injuries that could result from use of the product.
In general, to prove a product liability claim, you will need to demonstrate the following:
● The product was flawed.
● You were using the product as instructed.
● You were injured as a result of the product.
● The product’s flaws caused your injuries.
3. Medical Malpractice
We’ve all heard nightmarish stories about surgical tools being left inside patients. Any incident in which a patient suffers injury due to negligent or inferior medical care generally would qualify as medical malpractice.
Did a physician misdiagnose you or fail to detect a life-threatening condition?
Were you prescribed a drug that shouldn’t have been combined with your other medications?
Did you contract a dangerous infection from an unsterile hospital room?
Unlike some of the other personal injury examples on this list, medical malpractice can be complicated to prove. Testimony from an expert witness and medical documentation may be required if you hope to win a settlement.
4. Workplace Incidents
Accidents in the workplace are common, particularly if your job involves operating heavy machinery or manual labor. This is why most employers are required by law to take out a workers compensation insurance policy.
Workers compensation insurance generally will pay for injuries that occurred in the workplace without you having to prove your employer was responsible, but it usually will not cover non-
economic damages. For example, if you lost a finger as a result of a workplace injury, you would be compensated for the medical bills you incurred, but you would not be compensated for the mental health repercussions you suffered.
5. Animal Attacks
While no one wants to believe their beloved pet could severely injure someone, it happens all the time. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, dog and cat bites account for more than 95% of all bite wounds treated in the emergency department.
While many animal bites will only cause injury to the outermost layer of the skin, others can be fatal — which is why Indiana employs a strict “one-bite rule” policy.
In short, if a pet owner had been acting in good faith (i.e., they were not aware of their pet having any violent or aggressive tendencies) when their pet attacked someone, they potentially could escape liability. However, if their pet proceeds to attack someone after that first incident, they likely would be held responsible for their pet’s actions.
A person could also be held responsible for their pet’s actions if their pet is a wild animal, and they don’t possess the proper permits to own them. If a wild animal, such as a snake, causes injury to someone, that person generally would have an easier time proving their personal injury due to Indiana’s negligence per se doctrine, which states that negligence should be assumed when a law or regulation is being violated.
6. Premises Liability
Did you know people have a duty of care when it comes to maintaining the safety of their premises? This holds true for businesses as well. If premises are hazardous in any
way, and this results in someone slipping and falling or otherwise getting hurt, the property owner could be held liable for compensating them for their injuries.
If you were injured as a result of dangerous premises, you must prove the following to receive a settlement:
● That the property owner had a duty of care
● That the property owner breached their duty of care
● The factors that caused your injuries
● The damages you incurred
In premises liability claims, photographs of the premises and witness testimony can be helpful when proving your claim.
7. Wrongful Death
When an accident victim dies from their injuries, they will no longer have a personal injury claim. That, however, doesn’t mean their surviving loved ones will have no recourse for collecting damages.
To recover damages, they can file what is known as a wrongful death claim. This type of claim should compensate the family for any expenses they incurred as a result of their loved one’s death (e.g., funeral and burial expenses), any financial losses they suffered (e.g., lost wages), and the loss of companionship they will experience.
In Indiana, wrongful death claims for adult victims typically can only be initiated by the executor or administrator of their estate, but any damages received will go to their family. When a wrongful death involves a child, their parents or guardians can file the claim.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer to File a Claim
While you certainly are free to pursue a personal injury claim on your own, having a lawyer by your side can take the guesswork out of the process.
Proving fault in a personal injury matter can be complex. You generally will need a lot of evidence, which can include everything from medical documentation to witness testimony, to substantiate your claim.
Handling the personal injury claim process can cause you an undue amount of stress, making it difficult for you to recover.
Conversely, if you were to hire a personal injury lawyer, your only responsibility would be to recover, since your lawyer would do all the heavy lifting for you. You wouldn’t even have to seek out your own medical providers.
Is It Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?
Being that we’re a personal injury firm, we can’t exactly be unbiased when answering this question. But the good news is that you don’t have to take our word for it. Read what our clients have to say about whether our services are worth it!
If you are hesitant to work with a lawyer because of cost, know that is not something you have to worry about. At Hensley Legal, if we take your case, we’ll charge you nothing upfront. We will only take attorney fees if we win you a personal injury settlement.
Some of the specific instances in which a personal injury attorney could benefit you include:
● You have significant injuries or permanent disability due to the accident.
● You need to dispute liability, or liability is unclear.
● The insurer is not sufficiently compensating you for damages.
● The other party is threatening legal action.
● You need compensation for lost wages.
● You have injuries that emerged months after your accident.
Is There a Timeline for When to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you plan to work with a personal injury law firm to file your claim, the sooner you get in touch with them, the faster you’ll potentially receive a settlement.
Your lawyer will need time to gather evidence, build your case and negotiate with the insurer, but it will be up to you to get the ball rolling. While your health is the top priority after an accident, you should call a personal injury lawyer as soon as you have handled any urgent concerns.
Even if you are unsure whether or not to hire a personal injury lawyer, you should at least consult with one to learn how they may be able to help you.
What Questions Should I Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’re confused about how to choose a personal injury lawyer, we don’t blame you. There are tons of personal injury lawyers to choose from, which is why it is so difficult to find the one that’s right for your case.
You can try to narrow down your options by interviewing a few different firms. Some questions to ask a personal injury lawyer include:
● What is your fee structure?
● Can you provide an estimate of how much my case is worth?
● Do you know how long it will take to resolve my case?
● Have you previously handled cases like mine? If so, what were the outcomes?
● How do you plan to prove my claim?
● Would you be willing to take my case to trial if necessary?
While you may not receive concrete answers, personal injury lawyers generally will be able to provide you with enough information to help you make a decision about the best option for you.
Dealing With a Personal Injury Case? We’re Here for You
A personal injury case is no walk in the park, but fortunately, you don’t have to deal with it on your own.
At Hensley Legal, we work on personal injury cases day in and day out. As a result, we’re confident in our ability to help you secure the settlement you deserve.
Whether you just want a consultation or wish to proceed with filing a claim, we’d love to help you out and are standing by 24/7 to assist. Call us today.