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What Is Personal Injury Law?

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Personal injury law is a field of law designed to protect you if you are injured or your property is damaged because of someone else's wrongful act or failure to act.

A personal injury lawsuit is a civil matter. Personal injury law is also known as tort law. This is a different kind of law than criminal law. In personal injury law, instead of being punished through the criminal court system, the wrongdoer compensates the victim with money. The remedy in most personal injury cases is the same: Payment of money by the wrongdoer (defendant) to the person who has been injured (plaintiff).

Personal injury cases can be based on negligence, strict liability, or intentional wrongful actions. Regardless of the basis for the claim, you be able to recover money from the other party, you must show liability and damages.

In a personal injury claim, establishing liability means establishing that the other party was the cause of the accident or injury suffered so that party is required to pay. Even when liability is established or uncontested, parties often argue over the kinds of damages that may be appropriate. Different damages can include: medical bills, lost wages, a person's expected future income, and pain and suffering. The latter two types of damages can be more difficult to specifically prove.

If you suffer an injury, you may wonder if you have a legally recognizable claim. There are many things you need to determine to decide if you have a claim.

First, you must have suffered a legally recognized injury to yourself or your property. Second, your injury must be the result of someone else's action or, in the case of negligence, inaction. Your injury does not have to be physical to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Suits may be based on a variety of non-physical losses and harms to your reputation or mental health.

In the intentional tort of assault, for example, you do not need to show that a person's action caused you actual physical harm, but only that it caused you to fear you were in imminent danger of being harmed. You also may have an action if someone publicly has attacked your reputation or invaded your privacy, and caused you a variety of other non-physical kinds of harm.

If you think you have suffered a legally recognized harm and you would like to discuss your case, contact our San Diego personal injury law office to discuss your options.

When you go to your first meeting, be sure that you bring any and all relevant documentation with you. This may include police reports, witness statements, medical reports and more. If you have any photographs of the accident scene or your injuries, those things are also helpful.

It is most important that you are completely honest with Mr. Field about exactly what happened so he may accurately evaluate your case and discuss your options.

Attorney Allan S. Field in San Diego, California, has a great deal of experience in personal injury law and is happy to discuss your case and legal options with you following an accident of any kind.