Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. The term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit alleging that the plaintiff's injury has been caused by the negligence of another, but also arises in defamation torts. Damages include bodily injury, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The most common types of personal injury claims are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping accidents, assault claims, accidents in the home, & product defect accidents (product liability). The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to numerous medical negligence claims every year) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma, lung diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermititis, and repetitive strain injury cases. Depending upon the intent or negligence of a responsible party, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party through a settlement or a judgment. In the United States, this system is complex and controversial, with critics calling for various forms of tort reform. Attorneys often represent clients on a "contingent fee basis" in which the attorney's fee is a percentage of the plaintiff's eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved, with no payment necessary if the case is unsuccessful.
Damages are categorized as either special or general. In torts, special damages are measurable costs which can be itemized such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and property damages whereas general damages include subjective costs such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. Personal injury torts result in both special and general damages. The amount of compensation for a personal injury will primarily depend on the severity of the injury. Serious injuries (such as loss of vision or hearing, broken bones, severed limbs, brain damage) that cause intense physical pain and suffering receive the highest injury settlements. Aside from compensation for injuries, the injured person may get compensated for the lifetime effect of the injuries.
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