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What Is a Personal Injury?
While there are many different accidents that could be considered a personal injury, car accidents are the most common, according to the American Bar Association. When a person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, he or she becomes responsible for following the laws set in place at the local and federal level. Drivers are duty-bound to drive safely for themselves, as well as for the fellow drivers encountered on the roads.
Generally speaking, if a person is hurt due to the negligence of another person or company, that person has the legal right to seek compensation from the party responsible. Some of the other common types of personal injury cases may include:
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Elderly abuse
- Dog bites
- Airplane crashes
If it can be proven that another party was responsible for an accident, then that case would be considered a personal injury case by the courts. For example, if a doctor did not follow the proper safety measures in place for a surgical procedure, he or she may be held accountable for negligent behavior should a patient be injured while under the knife.
Types of Compensation
According to Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, monetary awards that are given to victims of personal injury are called damages or compensation. There are two types of compensation: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are awarded as a means to restore financial stability. One form of compensatory damage that may be awarded is economic, which may help with lost wages, medical bills or the loss of some personal property. The other form is non-economic, which can be awarded as justice for emotional distress, mental anguish, or physical pain and suffering.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, are not awarded as often as compensatory damages. A punitive award typically serves as a type of punishment for a defendant who is found to be willingly negligent or at fault. In general, punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages. For example, in 2015, Holland America cruise line was ordered to pay punitive damages in the amount of $16.5 million over a sliding door accident, according to the Seattle Times. Evidence was presented at trial that the company had tried to cover up the fact that over a three-year period there were up to 34 other accidents concerning the sliding doors, resulting in injury to other passengers.
How an Arizona Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If a victim suffers a personal injury caused by the wrongdoing or negligence of another party, he or she may be entitled to compensation for damages resulting from their injuries, including:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income or ability to work
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish resulting from an injury
The families of those who have died may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.
People who have been injured due to another’s negligence are advised to seek the advice of a Arizona personal injury attorney to help them protect their legal rights.