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James Gillray, Very Slippy-Weather (1808)

Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property.[1] The term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit alleging that the plaintiff's injury has been caused by the negligence of another.

Contents

Types

A Chevrolet Malibu involved in a rollover crash

The most common types of personal injury claims are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping accidents, assault claims, accidents in the home, product defect accidents (product liability) and holiday accidents. The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to numerous medical negligence claims every year) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermititis, and repetitive strain injury cases.

If the negligence of another party can be proved, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party. In the United States, this system is complex and controversial, with critics calling for various forms of tort reform. Attorneys often represent clients on a "contingency basis," in which the attorney's fee is a percentage of the plaintiff's eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved. Oftentimes, having an attorney becomes essential because cases become extremely complex, such as in medical malpratice cases.

Time limitation

In England and Wales, under the limitation rules, where an individual is bringing a claim for compensation, court proceedings must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the accident, failing which the claimant will lose the right to bring his or her claim. However, injured parties who were under the age of 18 at the time of their accidents have until the day prior to their 21st birthdays to commence proceedings. A court has the discretion to extend or waive the limitation period if it is considered equitable to do so.[1] Legal Aid for personal injury cases was largely abolished in the late 1990s and replaced with arrangements whereby the client would be charged no fee if her or his case was unsuccessful (known as No win, no fee).

No win no fee is the term used to describe the Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) between a law firm and their client. In a Personal Injury claim, this is an agreement between the client and their lawyer, which will enable the lawyer to take on a personal injury case on the understanding that if they lose the case, the client will not have to pay their lawyer’s costs.

However if the lawyer wins the case they will be entitled to their standard fee plus an uplift referred to as a success fee. In English law, the success fee cannot be greater than 100% of the lawyer’s standard fee.

Structured settlements in personal injury cases

Often, the use of a structured settlement is desired by the injury victim to help protect him or her financially after an injury settlement.

Structured settlements provide injury victims with tax benefits and enable proper financial planning for future needs of the injury victim as a result of the injury.

See also

References

  1. ^ s.33 Limitation Act 1980

Notes

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