What Is Personal Injury in Philadelphia?

Closeup of a black and white personal injury case claim form, titled Personal Injury Claims, with a red colored pencil above the title.

Personal injury is an area of Tort Law – an area of law that deals with an act or omission that causes harm or loss to another. If you're asking what is personal injury, it refers to a case and lawsuit brought by an injured person against the person (or corporation) that directly or indirectly caused injury to the body or mind of another.

A personal injury case in Philadelphia or New Jersey can involve a defective device or product, medical malpractice, a workplace accident, a dog bite, a slip and fall, and more. The most common type of personal injury claim is a car accident. Americans file around 400,000 personal injury lawsuits each year.

What Are the Elements of a Personal Injury Case in Philadelphia?

A personal injury case must meet certain criteria in order to be considered legally viable. According to the strictest definition of tort law, a personal injury case must result in damages, meaning there must be provable expenses, pain and suffering, or diminished quality of life that resulted from the accident. 

More specifically, the case must meet these four conditions:

  • There was a duty to act responsibly – the person responsible had an obligation to assure that the place or product was safe and be reasonably certain there was no danger. A good example would be the obligation of a pool owner to put a fence with a lock around the pool area to prevent children from wandering in.
  • The duty was breached – the person responsible did not take adequate steps to prevent harm, such as a store owner who does not adequately sand the parking lot in winter months.
  • The breach of duty directly caused the resulting injury or harm – the accident or injury was caused by the person’s negligence; if the person had done what they were supposed to, the accident would not have happened.
  • The injury resulted in expenses or costs – the injured person experienced economic or non-economic losses as a result of their accident

If a case does not meet all four criteria, it is not likely to hold up in court. This is something a personal injury attorney can determine.

What Is Personal Injury in Terms of Negligence?

In order to win a personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was either malicious – meaning they intended to do harm -- or negligent. Negligence is the act of not taking the proper precautions in a given situation. For instance, a malicious act is a person setting your house on fire. A negligent act is a person throwing a lit cigarette into your trash can, which then burns your house down. Both cases have the same result, but the cigarette example is unintentional.

The law does not excuse acts of negligence that result in harm or injury, loss of life, or property. When you're wondering what is personal injury, know that there are other forms of malfeasance that can entitle victims to compensation, including:

  • Negligence – the failure to take an ordinary level of care that would be expected from anyone in the same situation
  • Gross negligence – a more extreme omission of care, usually one that would result in serious harm or injury
  • Reckless conduct – acting in a way that is very likely to result in harm
  • Malicious intent – the act of purposely trying to cause harm to a person or their property

How Can I Get Compensation for My Injuries?

An attorney who practices in personal injury can help you obtain any compensation you are owed. A personal injury attorney can help you by examining the circumstances of your accident, deciding if your case meets the criteria for a personal injury case, and determining how much money you are entitled to receive. Once your attorney decides that you have a good case, they will help you collect the documentation, witness statements, bills, receipts, police and hospital reports you will need in order to win.

Most personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court. If your attorney believes there is a good chance you can prove your injury was a direct result of someone’s negligence, you have a good chance of being awarded damages. This could include money for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of or damage to your property, even pain and suffering.

Contact a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you have been in an accident and are suffering you may be asking, What is personal injury? The law allows the person who caused the accident to pay the costs you have incurred. At Mattiacci Law, LLC, we believe you are entitled to the maximum award allowed by law. Contact us 24/7 to set up an initial consultation. Our service is free until you get money for your accident.

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