What Qualifies as Personal Injury?

March 13, 2024 | Ed Bernstein
What Qualifies as Personal Injury?

Negligence comes in all shapes and sizes. When motorists, property owners, construction site supervisors, and others behave carelessly and irresponsibly, serious accidents and distinct personal injuries may result. While some injuries are relatively minor, others may cause the accident victim to experience ongoing symptoms for the rest of their lives.

If you suffered injuries in any type of accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should consult a skilled personal injury lawyer in your area right away. Your attorney will know the correct legal steps to take and can pursue the financial recovery you deserve.


Types of Occurrences that May Lead to a Personal Injury Case

Negligence manifests in various forms, leading to different occurrences that can significantly affect individuals.

  • Motor vehicle accidents often result from negligent actions by others, such as reckless driving, distracted driving, or impaired driving. These incidents may cause injuries, property damage, and, in severe cases, fatalities. 
  • Pedestrian accidents are another common consequence of others’ negligence, often arising from distracted or speeding drivers who fail to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Such incidents can cause severe injuries to pedestrians, including fractures, head injuries, and emotional trauma. 
  • Premises accidents, attributable to negligent property maintenance or inadequate security, encompass slip and fall incidents, negligent security claims, or injuries due to poorly maintained structures. 
  • Workplace accidents resulting from the negligence of third parties can lead to injuries, occupational diseases, or even fatalities. Employers who fail to provide a safe working environment may ultimately be responsible. Injured individuals can pursue workers' compensation claims or personal injury lawsuits for their injuries and losses. 
  • Medical malpractice involves negligence by healthcare professionals, leading to patient harm. Examples include misdiagnosis of a medical condition, surgical errors, or medication mistakes. Victims of medical malpractice may seek compensation for medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering resulting from the healthcare provider's negligence.
  • Dog bites, which are often a consequence of an owner's negligence in controlling or restraining their pet, can cause severe injuries and emotional trauma. Victims may pursue compensation for medical expenses, scarring, and emotional distress resulting from the dog owner's failure to prevent the attack.
  • Defective products, resulting from negligent design, manufacturing, or inadequate warnings, can also cause injuries or fatalities to consumers. Individuals who suffer injuries because of defective products can seek compensation from the responsible parties, including manufacturers, distributors, or retailers.

In each of these instances, negligence serves as the underlying cause and legal remedies exist for those who suffer harm due to others' negligent actions and inactions.

Injuries that Individuals May Suffer in an Accident

Personal Injury

Individuals can suffer a wide range of physical and mental injuries – each requiring specific medical treatments for recovery – due to someone else’s negligence. Physically, victims may suffer injuries such as fractures, sprains, or soft tissue damage. These injuries usually require medical interventions like casting, bracing, physical therapy, or, in severe cases, surgical procedures, to facilitate healing and bring about functionality.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are common mental injuries resulting from accidents. These injuries can lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss, and changes in mood or behavior. Medical treatments for TBIs may include neurological assessments, rehabilitation therapies, and cognitive interventions to restore or improve brain function.

Spinal cord injuries are another critical consequence of accidents, affecting both physical and mental well-being. Victims may experience paralysis, loss of sensation, and emotional challenges. Medical treatments may involve surgeries, rehabilitation programs, and psychological support to cope with the life-altering effects of spinal cord damage.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a prevalent mental health consequence of accidents, particularly those that involve significant trauma. As a result of PTSD, victims may struggle with anxiety, nightmares, and flashbacks. Treatment for PTSD often includes psychotherapy, counseling – and in some cases, medication – to address symptoms and support the victim's mental well-being.

Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, are common physical injuries in accidents like car collisions. These injuries may result in pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Medical treatments often include physical therapy, pain management techniques, and anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate symptoms and promote recovery.

Broken bones, a frequent outcome of car accidents and premises accidents, may require surgical intervention, casting, or bracing for stabilization. Physical therapy is often essential to regain strength and mobility during the healing process.

In addition to the immediate physical injuries, victims may suffer from emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. Seeking mental health support through counseling or therapy is crucial for addressing the psychological effects of an accident and promoting recovery.

If you suffered injuries in an accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer can handle the legal components of your case while you focus your attention on making a full recovery.

Recoverable Financial Compensation in a Personal Injury Case

  • Recovering monetary damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit encompasses various categories, each addressing different facets of the victim's losses.
  • First, financial compensation for past and future medical costs is a fundamental component. This includes the accident victim's expenses for medical treatments, surgeries, therapies, and ongoing healthcare needs.
  • Past and future lost income is another vital element of a personal injury claim. Compensation for income lost due to the inability to work during recovery – and for the potential ongoing effects on earning capacity – is essential. This ensures that the victim receives adequate compensation for the economic effects of the injury on their ability to work and earn a living.
  • Loss of earning capacity further recognizes the long-term consequences on the victim's ability to generate income. This compensation extends beyond immediate lost income, considering the lasting influence on the victim's career and financial stability due to their injuries.
  • Punitive damages may be available in cases involving egregious conduct by the at-fault party. These damages are necessary to punish the wrongdoer for their actions and serve as a future deterrent. While not available in every case, punitive damages can be a significant aspect of recovery when applicable.
  • Various types of non-economic damages are also integral to a comprehensive recovery. Compensation for pain and suffering addresses the physical and emotional distress that the victim endured. Loss of life enjoyment accounts for the intangible effect on the victim's overall quality of life. Loss of consortium recognizes the effect on the victim's family relationships, compensating spouses or family members for the diminished quality of these relationships.
  • Compensation for inconvenience acknowledges the disruptions and inconveniences the victim experiences, including alterations to daily routines and lifestyle adjustments.
  • A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in your area can aggressively negotiate or litigate for the fair monetary recovery you deserve in your claim or lawsuit.

Factors that Affect the Overall Length of a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit

Several factors influence the timeframe for resolving a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The complexity of the case is a significant factor. Cases involving intricate legal issues, multiple parties, or extensive damages often require more time for thorough investigation, negotiation, and potential litigation.

The severity of the accident victim's injuries also plays a crucial role. More severe injuries may necessitate prolonged medical treatments, resulting in extended periods of uncertainty regarding the victim's recovery and long-term prognosis. This, in turn, can affect the settlement negotiation process as the full extent of the damages becomes clearer over time.

The responsiveness of insurance companies and opposing parties is another critical factor. Delays can arise if the involved parties are slow in providing necessary information, responding to communications, or engaging in constructive negotiations. Timely cooperation is essential for expediting the resolution process.

Legal complexities and disputes over liability can also prolong the case resolution timeline. When there are disagreements about who is at fault – or if multiple parties share responsibility – it often leads to lengthy settlement negotiations or, in some cases, the need for prolonged litigation. Resolving these disputes often requires careful legal work and investigation, contributing to a lengthier process.

The availability of evidence in the case is also pivotal. Gathering necessary documentation, witness statements, and expert opinions demands time and diligence. In some instances, obtaining this crucial evidence may be challenging, significantly extending the case’s duration.

Court schedules and the overall caseload of the legal system are external factors that may affect the timeline. The availability of court dates – particularly in jurisdictions with crowded dockets – can lead to delays. This delay is beyond the parties' control but significantly influences the pace of the legal proceedings.

Settlement negotiations themselves may also contribute to the timeline. The back-and-forth between the parties, involving offers, counteroffers, and evaluations of evidence, can be time-consuming. The willingness of the parties to reach a fair and equitable settlement can expedite or lengthen this phase of the process.

Finally, unforeseen developments such as appeals, unexpected legal motions, or changes in circumstances can disrupt the anticipated timeline.

One of the most important steps you can take to streamline your personal injury case is to retain an experienced attorney early on in the process. Your attorney will work diligently throughout the entire case by promptly beginning an investigation, quickly responding to settlement offers, and swiftly pursuing litigation if necessary.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help During Settlement Discussions and Litigation?

Personal Injury Lawyer

A knowledgeable personal injury attorney plays a crucial role in navigating ongoing settlement negotiations with the insurance company or pursuing litigation in the court system. First, a lawyer’s adept negotiation skills are instrumental in securing a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company. An experienced personal injury lawyer will strategically engage with settlement adjusters and leverage their experience to pursue the maximum compensation the victim deserves.

Through a comprehensive case evaluation, an experienced personal injury attorney can identify and highlight the strengths of the victim's claim, presenting a compelling argument that bolsters the negotiation process. This approach helps to establish a solid foundation for meaningful discussions during settlement negotiations.

Moreover, the personal injury lawyer will conduct thorough investigations into the accident, gathering evidence to substantiate the victim's claims. This approach is crucial in building a strong case that can withstand opposition during the litigation phase. It also involves obtaining witness statements, collecting relevant documents, and consulting with experts to establish liability and quantify damages accurately.

During settlement negotiations, a personal injury lawyer will effectively communicate the full extent of the accident victim's losses. They can articulate not only the immediate damages, such as medical expenses and property damage, but also the likely long-term effects on the victim's life – including potential future medical costs and ongoing pain and suffering. This comprehensive presentation ensures the insurance company acknowledges the full scope of the victim's hardships.

If settlement negotiations prove unsuccessful and litigation becomes necessary, a personal injury lawyer will become a courtroom advocate. Their courtroom experience and familiarity with legal procedures enable them to present the case persuasively before a judge and jury. This process includes a skillful examination of witnesses, compelling presentation of evidence, and persuasive legal arguments to bolster the accident victim's position.

An experienced attorney advocates for the victim throughout the litigation process and provides ongoing guidance, reassurance, and legal experience. They can navigate complex legal proceedings and ensure the victim's rights remain protected throughout the process.

Speak with a Tough Personal Injury Attorney in Your Area as Soon as Possible

If you suffered personal injuries due to someone else's negligence, time is of the essence. When an accident victim fails to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit within the statute of limitations deadline for their jurisdiction, the court will prevent them from recovering any monetary damages for their injuries. Therefore, you need to act quickly to secure qualified legal representation for your case.

A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can promptly investigate your accident circumstances and take the steps necessary to file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Throughout the process, your attorney can aggressively fight for your legal interests – most especially during ongoing settlement negotiations – and work to recover the full monetary damages you need.

Consultations are free and you never pay anything until you receive compensation, so financial concerns should not prevent you from seeking legal representation. Contact an injury lawyer near you today.


Ed Bernstein

Edward M. Bernstein, Esq. is the owner and founding partner of Edward M. Bernstein & Associates, and one of the most recognizable figures in Nevada. Ed is one of state’s premier personal injury attorneys and has hosted The Ed Bernstein Show for over 31 years. He has served the Las Vegas community for decades with dozens of community appointments and terms of service. In the year 2000, he was Nevada’s Democratic nominee for the United States Senate.

Ed received his B.A. from Long Island University in 1971 and his J.D. from Widener University in 1975. Since then, Ed’s professional accolades include numerous publications, honors and awards, court appointments, and has been named one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.