Personal injury attorneys work for injured clients to recover fair compensation from those who hurt them. But injury lawyers do not all share the same practice areas. Some use their knowledge, experience, and training to focus on certain types of cases.
When you get injured due to someone else’s actions, you may consider hiring an injury lawyer. As you search for a lawyer, you will need to understand what types of cases personal injury lawyers typically take.
Sources of Personal Injury Law
When lawyers attend law school, they do not take a class called personal injury law. Instead, they study tort law. This field of law determines people’s rights and responsibilities to each other.
Tort law imposes three types of liability. The difference between these three areas comes from the level of intent or knowledge that the at-fault party had when causing the injury. These areas include:
As the name suggests, intentional torts require a showing of intent. To bear liability for an intentional tort, the at-fault party must have intended to perform the harmful act. This generally means they knew they were acting in a way that could injure someone.
Some examples of cases that fall under intentional torts are:
Battery occurs when the at-fault party intentionally makes harmful or offensive contact with you. You could raise this type of claim after you get injured in a fight. This claim might also be appropriate when a resident suffers nursing home abuse.
Assault happens when someone intentionally causes you to fear an imminent battery. Suppose that a person, in a fit of rage, raises a crowbar at you as a weapon – causing you to fear for your safety. Even if the person doesn’t actually strike you, you may have an assault claim.
Negligence happens when you get injured by someone who failed to exercise reasonable care. To prove negligence, you must prove:
- Duty of care
- Breach of the duty of care
- A causal link between the breach and the losses
Importantly, negligence does not require a showing of intent. Instead of proving that the at-fault party intentionally created a dangerous situation, you need only to prove that the at-fault party knew or should have known of the danger they created. Negligence means something like “carelessness.”
Many of the most common personal injury cases arise from negligence, including:
- Car accidents and other traffic accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents and other forms of premises liability
Although negligence requires a lower level of culpable mindstate, you must also prove your damages to win a negligence claim.
Strict Liability Torts
Certain dangerous activities come with strict liability. When strict liability applies, you can recover compensation simply by proving that the dangerous event happened and it caused your injuries.
Some examples of strict liability cases include injuries caused by:
- Dangerous animals
- Defective products
- Blasting using explosives
Strict liability cases can be easier to win than negligence cases at times because you do not need to demonstrate the at-fault party was careless (nor that they intended any harm).
Common Types of Cases Handled by Injury Lawyers
Injury cases handled by personal injury lawyers can cover many practice areas, including:
Motor vehicle accidents make up about 60% of all tort cases. Most car accident cases involve negligence. To win, your injury lawyer must prove the other driver failed to exercise reasonable care. Common examples of driving negligence include violating traffic laws, driving while distracted, or driving under the influence.
Most truck accident claims fall under negligence law. In these claims, your injury lawyer will look at the role of the trucking company in causing the accident. Trucking company liability can arise from negligence in:
- Training drivers
- Hiring or retaining drivers with a poor safety record
- Administering drug or alcohol tests
- Enforcing limits on a driver’s hours of service
- Loading trailers
- Maintaining trucks
- Repairing damaged trucks
Winning these cases could require your injury attorney to prove that the trucking company failed to meet the expected standard when managing and operating its trucks.
A property owner or occupant can face premises liability claims when guests get injured on their property due to their negligence. Premises liability claims commonly happen when the owner or occupier:
- Fails to reasonably inspect the premises for hazards
- Fails to repair hazards in a reasonable time after finding them
- Performs repairs negligently
- Provides unreasonably inadequate lighting or security
- Neglects to warn guests of hazards on the premises
The most common premises liability claims arise from slip and fall or trip and fall accidents.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider fails to meet the professional standard of care for their profession. Common medical errors that lead to malpractice claims include:
- Diagnosis or misdiagnosis errors
- Surgery errors
- Errors in prescribing or administering drugs
- Mixups in patient records
All healthcare providers are subject to medical malpractice claims, including hospitals, doctors, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists.
Manufacturers have strict liability for defective products that injure users. Since these claims involve strict liability, injured users do not need to prove the manufacturer knew about the defect. Instead, they only need to prove the existence of the defect and a causal link between the defect and their injury.
Not every case falls neatly into one of these cases. But you can still pursue an injury claim if you can prove someone acted negligently. For example, if a tree trimming company drops a tree branch onto you during your morning walk, you may have a negligence claim.
Hiring a Laredo Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case
Not every Laredo personal injury lawyer has the experience to handle every type of case. When you meet with a lawyer, ask about their experience handling similar cases. Their prior experience will tell them which legal arguments are likely to work. They also have connections with expert witnesses who can testify in your type of case.