Personal injury cases are often as unique as the parties involved, which makes it difficult for us to say exactly which damages a potential client could be entitled to pursue without first discussing the particulars of their situation. However, learning about common types of personal injury cases and the damages sought can provide valuable insight to accident and injury victims who are considering exploring their legal options.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Delaware law allows individuals who were injured by another person or entity's negligence to file a civil lawsuit, also known as a tort action, to pursue compensation for a variety of damages. Unlike a criminal case in which the government is prosecuting and a guilty verdict could mean jail or prison time, civil lawsuits are brought by individuals who seek a financial award to compensate them for harm caused by a defendant's wrongful actions. Common types of personal injury cases include:
- Auto accidents. Both common and potentially devastating, auto accidents can leave victims with a number of serious physical, mental, and emotional injuries. According to a 2014 Vital Signs Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), auto accidents sent more than 2.5 million Americans to the emergency room in 2012. Negligent actions in car accident cases may include speeding and reckless, drunk, drugged, drowsy, or distracted driving.
- Truck accidents. Presenting different challenges than other auto accidents, truck accidents are in a category of its own. The sheer size and weight of a big-rig vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries and property damage and, instead of an individual and their attorney—the accident victim may be going up against a trucking company with a team of corporate attorneys. Commercial truck drivers are susceptible to the same types of negligent driving behaviors as anyone else. Equipment failure due to improper maintenance, improper loading and distribution of the truck's contents, and trucking companies that hire unsafe drivers or encourage their drivers to skirt Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations are examples of negligence that is more specific to truck accident cases.
- Motorcycle accidents. Injuries in these cases can be devastating, as motorcyclists are largely unprotected. Motorcycle accidents can be caused by many factors, including motorists who turn left into the path of a motorcycle, fail to see the motorcycle in their blind spot, or follow the motorcyclist too closely.
- Wrongful death. When someone dies because of an accident or negligence, Delaware law allows certain surviving family members to sue for compensation that can help them cope with financial worries associated with the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one.
- Workers' compensation. Employees who are injured on the job may face a long road to recovery. A workers' compensation claim can help ensure employees are appropriately compensated for their injuries and establish a wage replacement system for the time that their injuries keep them out of work.
- Product liability. Manufacturers have a duty to ensure that the products they sell to consumers are safe. If a product can be shown to have caused injury, the manufacturer may be liable for damages.
- Slip-and-fall accidents. Property owners are required to maintain their properties so that they're reasonably safe for shoppers, tenants, or lawful guests. If this duty is breached, property owners may be liable for injuries.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Damages sought in personal injury cases can be divided into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that represent a specific dollar amount and can be largely calculated by assessing documented bills or records, such as:
- Past or future medical bills and expenses related to the accident
- Property damage to your vehicle
- Lost wages if your injuries caused you to miss a significant amount of work
- Loss of future earning potential if your injuries force you to take a lower-paying position
Non-economic damages are those that aren't associated with a clear dollar amount and are, thus, more difficult to calculate, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Emotional pain or anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Reduced enjoyment of life
Do You Need Help Seeking Compensation for Injuries?
If you were injured in an accident, the skilled legal team with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help you explore your legal options and the types of damages to which you may be entitled. Complete our online contact form today and we'll contact you to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.