What is Personal Injury?

by Clayton Crowley
in Blog
on 17 June 2014
Hits: 1516

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys, Experts in
Albuquerque Crowley & Gribble P.C.

Personal injury law refers to the legal remedies and
defenses involved in civil lawsuits brought as a result of wrongful conduct. In
fact, the word "tort" comes from a Latin term meaning twist, wrong, or harm. In
contrast to criminal law, a tort action does not involve the government
prosecuting the wrongdoer.

Rather, these cases involve a private plaintiff
seeking compensation (usually money) for the harm caused by the defendant's

Most personal injury
cases are based on the doctrine of negligence. In essence, negligence requires
every member of society to act responsibly and avoid putting others at risk.
That is not to say that negligence will result each time someone gets hurt. The
doctrine recognizes that some accidents are unavoidable. To establish
liability, the plaintiff must show that a reasonably prudent person in the
defendant's position would have acted differently under the circumstances.

Examples of
negligence include car accidents caused by drunk drivers, medical complications
resulting from a physician's carelessness, and dog bites that occur when
vicious animals are permitted to roam free. In each instance, the responsible
party ignored the risk posed to others, and as a result, the plaintiff was injured.

Once negligence has
been established in a personal injury case, the defendant must pay the
plaintiff for all injuries caused by the defendant's actions. Certain types of
damages are easy to calculate, such as property damage and medical bills. For
other types, such as emotional distress and loss of earning capacity, expert
testimony may be required. Punitive damages, meant to punish and deter
particularly egregious conduct, may also be available.

When initiating a
tort action, identifying the proper defendants can be difficult. This is
because the "tortfeasor" who directly harmed the plaintiff – be it a delivery
driver, nurse, grocery store clerk, or other individual – may not have the
financial resources to pay a large judgment. An experienced injury attorney can
identify and sue additional parties who are liable based on their relationship
to the tortfeasor, such as a landlord or employer.

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