The number of visits to physicians' offices for unintentional injuries is alarmingly high, with 29.4 million cases reported annually.
Personal injury claims include falls, car accidents, dog attacks, and sports injuries. These can occur in homes, schools, construction sites, and leisure locations.
Understanding common personal injury types can help you avoid legal issues, protect your rights, and make critical decisions.
In this article, we'll highlight the most prevalent personal injury cases you may encounter. Let's delve into these cases!
What Are the Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims?
Citizens file over 400,000 personal injury claims annually in the US. However, only 4% (16,397) of cases saw trial; most were settled out of court. The following are common personal injury claims:
1. Motor Accident Injury
Motor accident injuries are among the most common personal injury claims in the US. In 2020 alone, over 1.5 million car crashes resulted in injuries.
This type of personal injury case has various subtypes:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Uber/ride-sharing accidents
A motor vehicle accident injury occurs when someone is injured in a vehicle accident due to another party's negligence. The injured party can claim compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Victims can also file a lawsuit against a responsible party or insurance company. The complainants must have a police report, insurance information, and medical records of their accident injuries.
2. Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents are another prevalent personal injury claim with serious implications. Over 800,000 fall-related injuries (mostly hip and head) require hospitalization annually.
Like motor vehicle accidents, the negligence of another party causes most slip-and-fall accidents. Wet floors, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, broken railings—you name it.
If the injury is caused by negligence, you have rights and may seek compensation. Slip-and-fall compensation is essential for accountability and financial recovery
3. Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare workers and providers fail to uphold their duty to "do no harm." Despite the oath they take, many physicians fall short of their obligations.
Johns Hopkins patient safety experts found approximately 250,000 medical error deaths annually in the US. The common types of medical malpractice include the following:
- Delayed diagnosis
- Childbirth injuries
- Medication errors
- Failure to Treat
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors
Medical malpractice can cause life-threatening or fatal injuries. The victims must receive compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial hardships due to medical negligence.
4. Workplace Injuries
Workplace accidents are common, with workers being harmed every seven seconds while toiling away. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 5,190 fatal work injuries in 2021, up 8.9% from the previous year.
The most common forms of workplace injuries include:
- Contact with moving objects
- Vehicle-related accidents
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Trips, slips, and falls
- Back-related injuries
Generally, workplace injury claims result in workers receiving compensation only through compensation insurance. There are some exemptions to this rule:
- The employer failed to secure compensation insurance.
- Intentional injuries by an employer or a third party.
- Injuries from defective products, toxic substances, or site accidents caused by a non-employer.
In some states, workers can sue their employers in civil court for willful injury or gross negligence causing workplace injuries.
5. Wrongful Death
If the victim dies due to another party's negligence or misconduct, the case becomes a wrongful death. These cases can stem from surgical errors, car crashes, animal bites, or neglect in childcare facilities.
In 2020, NHTSA reported 38,824 lives lost in traffic crashes nationwide. These fatal traffic accidents can lead to wrongful death lawsuits.
If allowed by law, spouses, children, parents of unmarried victims, and other interested parties can sue for wrongful death.
6. Product Liability
A product liability claim arises when someone gets injured due to a defect or design flaw. Establishing liability involves demonstrating the presence of design, manufacturing, or inadequate warning defects.
Some examples of potentially harmful products encompass:
- Dangerous drugs
- Medical devices
- Toxic materials and chemicals
- Defective vehicle parts
- Children's products
One significant product liability lawsuit in the US was the Philip Morris lawsuit. In 2002, a lung cancer patient sued Philip Morris, saying smoking caused her disease and they neglected to warn her. Philip Morris was fined $850,000 and paid $28 billion in punitive penalties.
Assault claims can lead to both criminal and civil charges. Unlike negligence, assault is an intentional act that causes fear of physical injury.
The victim of a physical attack that causes mental distress but no severe injuries can file a civil assault claim for compensation.
To file an assault lawsuit, you will have to show the following:
- The person who assaulted you committed an intentional act;
- The act was meant to cause you to fear immediate harmful or offensive contact and;
- You actually and reasonably feared direct contact.
8. Dog and Animal Bites
Nearly 4.5 million people in the US are bitten by dogs annually, leading to 885,000 seeking medical care. Dog bite victims can sue the owner for damages, medical bills, and lost earnings.
As a victim, you can protect yourself in most states. It may entail defending yourself or killing the dog to stop the attack.
However, some states follow the "one free bite" rule, where dog owners are not held accountable until they discover their dog's hostility.
Note: The owner is not liable for any injuries when a dog attacks someone while they are committing a crime.
9. Libel, Slander, and Defamation
Libel, slander, and defamation can be grounds for a personal injury case. Defamation refers to false statements presented as facts that harm someone's reputation.
The false claim must result in harm of some kind. Defamation lawsuits require five elements:
- A statement was made: spoken statements are slander, and written statements are libel.
- The statement was published: it can be read or heard by another person.
- A person or entity was injured: it must show harm to reputation and resulting economic damage.
- The statement was false: factual statements do not lead to damages.
- The statement was not privileged: certain communications are protected by law and are not considered defamatory.
Not So Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims are too varied to list. While some categories receive more attention, many lesser-known personal injury claims are worth considering.
The following list highlights some of these ignored categories, although it only scratches the surface:
- Burn injuries
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Civil battery
- Food poisoning
- Aviation accidents
- Boating accidents
- Child injury cases
- Mass torts such as asbestos exposure.
- Dram shop liability
- Police misconduct
- Infliction of emotional distress
- Wrongfully caused
The Bottom Line
Understanding the types of personal injury cases helps people handle legal proceedings and get fair compensation. Many more personal injuries exist, but these nine are the most common.
Regardless of the specific incident, the purpose of all personal injury cases remains the same: to compensate victims fairly.