A Minnesota personal injury attorney can assist people injured, or the families of those killed, due to the fault of another person or company. Every year, many people visit the emergency room seeking treatment for personal injuries. Even though most of these injuries are accidental, a Minnesota personal injury attorney can assist individuals and families who have been harmed by the negligence of another party.
What Is Considered a Personal Injury Case?
While accidents do happen, there are times when a person’s injury is caused by someone else. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), the most common type of personal injury claims are car accidents. However, there are many other types of cases that may be filed under personal injury law, including:
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous drugs
- Premises liability
- Dog bites
- Elderly abuse
In 2008, news broke of the alleged abuse of 15 residents of a Minnesota nursing home, reported by the Star Tribune. The alleged victims and their families filed personal injury lawsuits against the home and its owner and the employees of the assisted living facility who had allegedly sexually and physically assaulted the elderly patients while under their care. Most of the cases were dropped by 2011 because of the deaths of the victims. Under Minnesota’s Survival Law, personal injury cases cannot continue if the plaintiffs pass away due to unrelated causes, though many groups are working to get this law changed.
Determining Negligence, Strict Liability and Intentional Wrongs
According to Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, negligence occurs when a person or organization does not behave in a way that would be typical and prudent in ordinary circumstances. In order for negligence to be proven in a personal injury case, several factors must be present, including the failure to provide reasonable care, despite the legal responsibility to do so; and negligent conduct resulting in physical harm. For example, a driver would be considered negligent if he or she ran a red light when a reasonable person would have stopped.
An attorney may base arguments for a personal injury claim on strict liability or intentional wrongs, in addition to negligence. According to the ABA, strict liability can be proven by showing that a product is defective and can cause harm even during intended use. An intentional wrong, on the other hand, may be argued when an injury was caused by someone or something on purpose, such in cases involving sexual abuse or physical assault.
According to Minnesota state law, dog owners are considered strictly liable for their animals. While other states may protect owners after a first bite, Minnesota’s laws place liability for damages on the owner for any bite, no matter the animal’s past behavior.
Types of Compensation Commonly Sought by a Minnesota Personal Injury Attorney
In Minnesota, attorneys for victims of personal injury may seek two types of compensation: compensatory or punitive damages. Compensatory damages, also called actual damages, may be awarded to recompense economic loss that could occur due to the victim’s inability to work, medical expenses or damage to property, among others. Punitive damages may also be awarded if it can be proven that the responsible party acted in a way that was intentionally malicious or exceptionally harmful without intent. This type of compensation is designed to serve as a punishment for the defendant.
How a Minnesota 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.