A personal injury claim has two aspects — civil and criminal. The former is the action for damages filed by the victim, his survivor, or his legal representative. On the other hand, the latter is the accompanying criminal action filed by the government through the authorities who responded to the crime scene. No matter how careful a person is, personal injuries can happen anytime, so it pays to know your rights when the time comes.
For the civil action to prosper, the victim only needs to show a preponderance of the evidence. However, for the accused to be indicted for his criminal liability, the prosecutor must submit evidence tantamount to guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In either of these cases, the victim has the ‘onus probandi’ of proving the other party’s civil and criminal culpability.
For any of these actions to prosper, you must know the right case to file. You must also know the requisites of every civil or criminal action to keep the court from dismissing your case or ruling it in the opposing party’s favor. So, to help you identify and differentiate one personal injury claim from another, here are the most common personal injury claims along with their requisites.
Motor Vehicle Collision
The law requires anyone who operates a vehicle to observe extraordinary diligence while they’re traversing the roads and highways. This kind of diligence is slightly higher than the foresight required during ordinary circumstances because of the risk involved. When you say extraordinary foresight, it means you need to submit your vehicle to regular check-ups and ensure that’s it’s in good running condition every time you take it for a ride.
It also means that you have the license and skill to run it safely. Lastly, part of the diligence requirement is your ability to predict and avoid collisions or accidents while your vehicle is running. When you hit a pedestrian or damage public or private property while driving, you can be guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in death, injury, or property damage.
This refers to the kind of negligence committed by hospitals, nurses, doctors, and other medical practitioners. Here, the injury needs to be severe, and the alleging party must prove the existence of a legal duty to keep the victim safe and free from bodily harm. There are various types of malpractice, including failure to diagnose a terminal illness, birth injuries, medication mistakes, surgical errors, improper treatment, and misdiagnosis. Should the said medical personnel be proven guilty, his license might be suspended or permanently revoked. In the latter case, he would be barred from medical practice his entire life.
This is the lawsuit filed when someone dies because of another’s carelessness. This is wider in scope than medical malpractice because it also includes death from the use of dangerous or defective products, airplane accidents, construction accidents, neglect, truck and car crashes, and of course, medical malpractice. If proven, the victim’s survivors can recover damages that are different and unique from victims of non-fatal injuries.
When a person is killed or injured in the course of his employment, he is legally permitted to file personal injury claims against his employer. However, though labor laws are construed in favor of those who are ‘suffered or permitted to work,’ it’s not always easy for the employee to get a favorable ruling. Sometimes, employers play around with the law and disprove the existence of the employer-employee relationship. In such a case, the aggrieved could be denied compensation because it is presumed that he is not acting under his employer’s instruction, and what caused the injury is not work-related.
You need an aggressive and credible lawyer to help you establish these facts — that there exists an employer-employee relationship between the parties, that the employee has a legal right to be at the workplace at the time the accident happened, and that despite reasonable foresight and ordinary diligence, he still got into the accident. Only then will your claims for damages have merit.
This is not an inclusive list of possible causes of action that could give rise to a personal injury claim. If in any way you suffer damages from an injury caused by another person, and that person has a legal obligation to keep you safe, then the latter could be liable for damages. When in doubt, always consult with your lawyer.