What Constitutes a Personal Injury?
Were you seriously injured in an accident? Are you wondering what your options are in terms of recovering compensation for injuries? If so, you may have researched what to do after being involved in an accident. You have probably seen websites and articles discussing “personal injury” claims. Understanding what qualifies as a personal injury lawsuit can help you as you navigate the process of seeking compensation for your injuries.
Defining “Personal Injury”
Personal injury claims refer to a specific type of legal claim that involves one person’s negligence causing another person’s injuries. A personal injury occurs when someone becomes physically hurt or injured. Personal injuries are different from other types of injuries, such as injuries to your reputation or your property. In a personal injury, your body becomes injured. The phrase personal injury is also typically used in connection with workers’ compensation lawsuits and personal injury lawsuits based on tort law.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that another person’s negligence, reckless, or intentional behavior caused you to suffer a bodily, physical injury. You will not be able to include a claim for damage done to your property, such as your automobile and the contents of your car. A wrongful death lawsuit refers to personal injury lawsuits that surviving family members bring after their loved one is killed because of another person’s negligence.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
There are numerous types of personal injury claims recognized under Maryland law. Whenever a person or company’s negligence causes another person’s injury, the victim can bring a personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury accidents can happen to anyone in nearly any location, from a parking lot to a grocery store. Some of the most common causes of personal injury lawsuits include, but are not limited to the following:
- Car accident
- Semi-truck accident
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability cases, including slip and fall accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bite accidents
Understanding Legal Terms in Personal Injury Lawsuits
The thought of filing a personal injury lawsuit can be overwhelming, especially when it seems like the legal world uses another language entirely. When you schedule your free initial consultation with Bishop Law Group, we will help you understand the steps involved in bringing personal injury lawsuits. We will answer any questions you have and take you step-by-step through the process. We provide our clients with the personal attention their cases deserve so they can be restored physically, financially, and emotionally without having to worry about all of the different terms and legal theories related to their case.
We also understand that many of our clients would like more information about what is happening in their personal injury cases. The following is a glossary of some of the most commonly used terms you will encounter as you go through the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
- Plaintiff: The plaintiff is the person who files the personal injury lawsuit. If you were injured in a personal injury accident, you would be referred to as the plaintiff in legal proceedings.
- Defendant or Tortfeasor: The defendant is the person whom the injured party sues. The defendant may be referred to as the tortfeasor or the at-fault party during negotiations and in legal filings.
- Claimant: The claimant is the person who became injured and makes a claim under an insurance policy. Typically, as the victim of an accident, you will file a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company. If you were injured in a car accident, you would be the claimant who files a claim for compensation with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company. If you were injured on another person’s property, you would be the claimant who files a claim for compensation through the property owner’s commercial liability insurance policy.
- First-Party Insurance: The first party insurance is the victim’s insurance. If you were the person who became injured, your own auto insurance company would be referred to as first-party insurance.
- Third-Party Insurance: The third party insurance company is the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
- Party: Both the plaintiff and the defendant are referred to as a party to the lawsuit.
- Arbitration: An arbitration is a process that occurs outside of the court system. In an arbitration process, the claimant and the defendant will argue for their respective positions in front of an unbiased third party, called the arbitrator. Some contracts require that parties go through arbitration before they file a claim in court. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding.
- Contingency Fee: Most personal injury lawyers work through contingency agreements with their clients. In a contingency agreement, the lawyer agrees to pay all legal costs upfront. The lawyer will only recover compensation if he or she secures compensation for the client. When lawyers do not recover compensation, the client does not need to pay the lawyer any fees. Typically, the lawyer will take a percentage of the client’s total recovery. The contingency fee model allows the injured person to retain skilled legal counsel without paying for the costs associated with the lawsuit upfront.
Submitting a Personal Injury Claim
When victims are injured in personal injury accidents, there are typically two paths to recover compensation. The first path involves filing a claim for compensation through the at-fault party’s insurance company. The second path involves filing a personal injury lawsuit in a court of law. In both of these scenarios, the plaintiff and defendant attorneys will try to negotiate a settlement agreement.
About Brian Bishop
Brian Bishop started the Bishop Law Group in October 2018. Mr. Bishop is an active member of Maryland Association of Justice, The American Association of Justice, The Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. Mr. Bishop has received a nationally ranked Top 40 Under 40 Attorney award since 2017. Mr. Bishop has also been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named Brian Bishop as one of The 10 Best Attorneys for Outstanding Client Services.