Don’t want to be a victim? Then it’s important to be aware of the most common kinds of personal injury lawsuits. As top personal injury lawyer George Salinas, founder of George Salinas Injury Lawyers, explains: “It’s better for people to understand how and why these are common so they can be more aware of their surroundings in order to prevent being a victim.”
Personal injury cases, which are also called “torts,” involve one party being injured due to another’s negligence or fault. These cases can entail bodily harm, as in the examples of assault, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse. They can also seek to remedy the damage caused to people’s reputations, privacy rights, and emotional states.
So, what is the most common type of this case for attorneys?
The most common personal injury cases
According to Salinas, the answer is automobile accidents between passenger vehicles. In fact, the US Department of Justice has found that 52 percent of personal injury cases involve motor vehicle accidents.
Why are these cases so common? “The majority of traffic on the road is made up of passenger vehicles, from cars to trucks and SUVs,” Salinas explained. “With the variety of distractions, especially from mobile phones, we see quite a high number of accidents in population-dense areas.” He also pointed to the role of alcohol in impairing drivers’ ability to operate a vehicle safely.
In addition, Salinas listed motor-vehicle collisions involving 18-wheelers among the most common cases for personal injury lawyers. “Due to the size and, sometimes, speed of these tractor trailers, we see quite a few accidents on highways and interstates where there is a high volume of cargo or materials transportation,” he said.
Other common personal injury cases
Traffic accidents aren’t the only kind of common case for personal injury attorneys, however.“Work accidents are very common as well since this is where most people spend the majority of their day,” Salinas said. “This is especially frequent in construction, manual labor, and any job involving machinery.”
Premises liability cases are another common case. As Lawyer Monthly explains, “A common definition [of premises liability] is ‘the liability that the owner (or occupier) of a property bears for an injury someone suffers due to an unsafe condition existing on their property.’”
Why are these cases so common? “This is due to the number of commercial businesses in many areas with high volumes of foot traffic,” Salinas explained. “This can be as simple as a slip and fall at a grocery store, or can be as dangerous as falling merchandise or hidden defects.”
Finally, dog bites constitute a very common personal injury case. “There’s a high rate of pet ownership in the US,” Salinas said. “Americans do love having pets.” Indeed, the American Pet Products Association has found that 70% of U.S. households contain a pet, which translates into approximately 90.5 million homes.
“Animals can bite for a variety of reasons,” Salinas said. “The injury spectrum ranges from very minor — like a few stitches — to fatalities in more tragic cases.”
How personal injury cases work
Despite the many differences among these various kinds of cases, personal injury attorneys approach them in much the same way. “First, we identify any and all responsible parties and ensure that they are properly insured to cover the damages caused to the victims,” Salinas said.
The next step involves encouraging clients to get the treatment they need. “Personal injury attorneys must then ensure that the victims get access to all of the medical care that is needed for them to recover from their injuries,” he said.
Personal injury lawyers play a key role in securing adequate payment to cover their clients’ damages. “We make sure that the responsible parties fully compensate the victims for all of their economic and non-economic harms,” Salinas explained. When it comes to motor vehicle cases, for instance, plaintiffs can be compensated not only for their medical bills and property damage, but also for any lost wages, pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress.
“As a personal injury lawyer, the most rewarding thing I do is helping victims to recover from their losses and try to regain what they lost through our justice system,” Salinas said.
While personal injury lawsuits can result in plaintiffs being rewarded millions of dollars, the amounts people receive are generally substantial but lower. According to Forbes, “The median amount awarded in auto accident cases was $16,000”; for premises liability, it was $90,000; and $31,000 for all cases studied. Awards vary widely depending on the particular damages that were sustained.
For those who dislike the idea of sitting through a trial, the good news is that such claims are usually settled out of court. According to the US Department of Justice, only about 3 percent of personal injury cases are decided through a trial.
Have you been injured?
Given the frequency of automobile accidents and other incidents that can cause injury, many people will need to decide whether to pursue a personal injury case at some point in their lives.
“No one ever thinks they’ll be involved in one of these unfortunate situations,” Salinas said. “But if you do, make sure you contact an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to handle these difficult situations.”
With an experienced, talented personal injury lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that you will be amply compensated both for the injury itself and the emotional distress it caused.