What are the most common types of personal injury cases? What categories of personal injury cases are not as common today, but are growing in frequency and could become more common in the future?
For the most part, most people know what a personal injury case is. But, to summarize the concept briefly, personal injury law cases involve bodily injury, mental anguish, shock, sickness, disease, or disability resulting from another party’s failure to exercise reasonable care. In essence, personal injury law cases are when the negligence of one party causes personal harm to others.
People typically associate personal injury law with car accidents because car wrecks are the most common cases. However, there are a lot of other cases that involve personal injury that people don’t normally think about — such as rideshare accidents and electric scooter accidents. As technology evolves, new types of products and services have emerged.
Here, we’ll survey the most common case types and offer links to articles that we have published. We have a host of content already available if you’re interested in diving deeper into these different types of cases.
Did you know that there are 6 million car accidents in the U.S. every year? That equates to roughly 16,438 cases per day. That is a lot of car crashes! For this reason, car accidents are the most common types of personal injury cases.
But there’s good news: new technologies — such as self-driving mechanisms, lane assist, and automatic braking — are helping to reduce the number of accidents. Car accidents in the U.S. are declining at a rate of approximately 2 percent each year.
Negretti & Associates has published several articles related car accidents:
- Single-Vehicle Car Crashes: Tiger Woods’s Rollover Accident
- Car Accident Claims: 20 Common Misconceptions
- Should I Call My Insurance Company After an Accident?
- Full-Coverage Car Insurance Is a Myth
- State-Minimum Car Insurance Is Not Enough
- Total-Loss Car Insurance Settlements
- Someone Hit My Parked Car and Left
- What to Document After a Car Accident
- What to Do at the Scene of a Car Accident
When an accident happens, we suggest consulting with an attorney, because an attorney can be an incredible resource when you go through the process of resolving a case. It can be helpful to talk with a personal injury attorney and at least discuss what options are available to you.
What are the most common types of personal injury cases? What types of personal injury cases could become more common in the future? As part of his Legal Beagle Podcast, attorney Jonathan Negretti discusses the types of cases he sees most frequently and those that he expects to see more often.
Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice cases represent another common category of personal injury, but they can be incredibly difficult to pursue. Not only are they cost prohibitive, but there are challenges in the law that make these cases difficult. These laws don’t necessarily protect the doctor or the medical practitioner, but they do force the injured party to consider whether or not these cases are worthy of pursuing. A great interview we had with medical malpractice attorney John Ager highlighted some of these issues.
At Negretti & Associates, in our experience of handling medical malpractice cases, we can tell you that medical malpractice attorneys may look at 100 cases before representing one. There’s a very low ratio of acceptance for this type of claims. This is because a case has to have three main elements:
- First, you have to identify that a mistake occurred with the medical procedure or experience that you were having.
- Two, you have to show that the mistake led to some sort of injury, and that injury probably has to be fairly significant.
- Three, there must be damages resulting from the injury. In other words, you must have some sort of debilitating outcome because of something that went wrong — the mistake that occurred.
You probably won’t know whether these elements are applicable to your case without having a more in-depth conversation with an attorney. If you think you have some sort of situation, give Negretti & Associates a call. We’ll be happy to evaluate your case and discuss it with you, even if we don’t take your case. What’s more, we’re not going to charge you for our time in evaluating your case, in the event that it may have been related to some sort of medical malpractice.
Wrongful Death Cases
When lawyers talk about wrongful death cases, it means that someone has died as a result of a personal injury. Commonly, people associate wrongful death cases with crashes, in which someone has died as a result of the crash, resulting in a wrongful death claim. That said, it’s important to understand that wrongful death claims can occur through a number of types of personal injury cases — for example, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, construction defects, and product-defect cases.
If you are a beneficiary or potentially the personal representative of the estate of the person that was killed as a result of a person-injury claim, it’s important to have a conversation with an attorney. Here’s an example illustrating why. Negretti & Associates once helped a woman whose husband passed away as a result of an electric scooter accident. She was seeking answers to the case before she could put this experience to bed and move forward with her life. We spent about a year investigating the case for her. There ended up not being a claim that she wanted to pursue, so we parted ways. We didn’t charge her for any of our time or the costs that we spent investigating that because that’s the risk we accept doing this work. As attorneys, we are in the business of trying to help people find answers. We found those answers for our client, and she was able to move forward knowing that she had done everything she could to look into that potential claim.
Premise Liability Cases
Premise liability cases are also among the most common types of personal injury cases. Premise liability hinges upon the concept that property owners have a duty to “safekeep their property,” to use a legal term. In other words, property owners are responsible for the premises that they own, and have a duty to inspect and protect those that are on their property from injury.
Premise liability can impact virtually every aspect of our lives. It can involve a residential setting, where someone’s on your property at your house. It can come in a commercial setting, while you’re at a grocery store. A recent interview we had with premise liability expert Todd Springer helped illuminate the elements of premise liability law. When reviewing a case, an expert may ask questions such as these: 1) Were conditions hazardous? 2) Were hazardous conditions readily identifiable by someone? 3) Did the property manager provide notice of the hazardous conditions to persons on its premises? Failure to provide notice is a key element of premise liability law.
Product Liability Claims
Another common type of personal injury case is product liability claims. This is where someone sustains an injury or harm due to use of a defective product. In some cases, manufacturers simply fail to provide adequate warning about how their products are to be used.
The most common — and most popular — case involving a product defect claim is the McDonald’s hot coffee case. There are a number of misconceptions about this case, but it has significant merits as a personal injury case. Unfortunately, there was so much PR spin around this case that the public was given an inaccurate depiction of what really happened. I urge you to educate yourself about this case. McDonald’s eventually admitted that they did not warn their customers of the risk of injury that their scalding-hot coffee posed. This is why the McDonald’s coffee lawsuit is known as a product liability case.
And, if you were to read our article about the five most famous product-liability cases, you might be a little astounded and maybe a little upset about the egregious conduct of some of the companies who made this list.
We’re not arguing that consumers do not bear some responsibility with some of these cases. What we’re asserting is that there is a point at which that burden shifts to the maker of the product to protect all of us, as consumers, against harm. When you buy or use something, you rightfully expect it to be safe. Yet, when a business fails to warn people that their product could hurt someone, then a product liability case should be expected.
Defamation is another key area of personal injury law, and it’s one that we don’t talk about a lot, because defamation claims can be very complicated. Of course, personal injuries can be physical. Defamation cases, by contrast, can be emotional in nature — they seek recovery for damage done to one’s reputation.
Defamation typically comes in the form of either libel or slander. The difference between the two is simple:
- Slander is spoken defamation.
- Libel is written defamation.
When people talk about defamation claims, they often — and unfortunately — use slander and libel interchangeably. But they’re not the same.
We often hear about these claims in the context of the entertainment industry, and that’s because these claims have to be actionable. There have to be damages, and the things either said or written have to be untrue. If the statement is true, the case does not entail slander or libel.
When bringing about a defamation claim, not only must the statement made be untrue, but you also have to prove that you experienced damages as a result of the statement. Damages have to be more significant than hurt feelings. We need to prove actionable damages. An example would be a former employer defames you in some way, which prevents you from getting a job that has an annual salary of $100,000.
You must show that statements were made — perhaps something in writing, which would be libel, or something spoken, which a third party can corroborate. The statement would have to be harmful and dishonest, causing a lost job opportunity.
Again, defamation claims are difficult. You need to understand that opinion is different from statements of facts. If someone gives an opinion about something, that isn’t necessarily the same thing as giving and stating a fact about a person. If you think you have this sort of situation, then give us a call, and we’ll talk through it and see if there’s an actual claim to pursue.
Dog Bite Cases
Our survey of the most common types of personal injury cases would not be complete without a discussion of dog bite claims. Were you aware that there are roughly 4.5 million dog bites every year in the U.S.? This is a truly remarkable statistic.
Dog bite claims are governed by their own unique sets of rules. The most important thing that you should be aware of is that dog bite claims usually carry with them what’s called a one-year statute of limitations — a deadline of one year, from the date of the bite, to bring your claim, or file your lawsuit. If you don’t file your lawsuit within one year, you could lose the right to your claim.
At Negretti & Associates, we have offices in California, Arizona, and Colorado. Laws are different in each of these three states. For example, see our article about dog bite laws in California. Depending on the state in which the bite happens, you may automatically have a claim, regardless of any sort of defense that can be offered. In states such as Colorado, there could be defenses, where there has to be a history of a dog’s biting behavior in order to bring a claim.
Defenses commonly offered by dog owners include provocation, where it is argued that the bitten party provoked the dog. There are other defenses that could be used by the dog owner. Regardless, dogs shouldn’t be biting people. If you’ve been bitten and injured, then more than likely there is a claim to pursue. There could be a source of recovery — through homeowner’s insurance, for example.
That said, if you were bitten by a dog and you think you have a claim, give Negretti & Associates a call. We can talk about circumstances that surround your event, and we can decide if there’s a claim to pursue.
Less Common, “Emerging” Types of Personal Injury Cases
At this point, I’d like to turn our attention to the personal injury cases that are not as common — but they’re ones that Negretti & Associates takes pride in pursuing. We take on some of these cases simply because we think it’s our duty as attorneys to do so. We take on other cases simply because there aren’t many attorneys doing these claims, and we think people need help representing them.
The first one of these is diminished value claim, where your vehicle loses value due to its accident history. Even though your vehicle is repaired, it is worth less, because it sustained damage during a car crash at some point in time.
At Negretti & Associates, we try to educate people on these claims. Car owners really are equipped to bring about diminished value claims, and it makes no sense to give away a chunk of one’s recovery to an attorney, simply to process papers. However, insurance companies sometimes make things very difficult on car owners, and it might make sense to involve an attorney to pursue these claims.
We offer a ton of information about diminished value claims on our website. In fact, we have a 30-minute video, where we walk through a lot of different scenarios and talk about how to protect yourself. If you’d like to watch that video, send us a note on this page or call us.
Another type of case that is not as common, but is becoming more common, involves electric scooter accidents that you can rent for short-term rides. Bird and Lime are two of the biggest electric scooter brands, but there are many others in the marketplace. These are those electric scooters that are put out in high-traffic areas where you can swipe your credit card, use an app, and off you go. Next thing you know, you’re racing down the street at a high rate of speed. Scooter injuries can occur by when a rider is hit by a vehicle, when a pedestrian steps out in front of you, or when you simply have to jump off the scooter because the brakes fail, or there’s a sharp turn or pothole that you cannot negotiate.
Electric scooter accident claims can be very complicated. To use a scooter, you must fully agree to the user agreement, which may have an arbitration provision. In effect, you cannot file a claim against the scooter company in a court of law.
What’s more, most scooter brands are based in California, so you must work with an attorney that is licensed in that state. At Negretti & Associates, we’ve had attorneys from all over the country ask us to help them pursue these cases, because we are licensed in California. A scooter injury can occur in any state. For example, a rider could be injured in Georgia. However, the arbitration hearing needs to be held in California, requiring a California-licensed attorney.
If you are injured on an electric scooter, then definitely give Negretti & Associates a call. We’ll talk with you about what happened. There aren’t many firms that handle scooter accident cases. We think that people should be better educated about scooter liability laws and understand what their rights are, as they relate to bringing a claim for an injury that occurs on an electric scooter.
Rideshare accident cases are an emerging type of personal injury case, as well. These are cases that usually involve Lyft or Uber, in situations where you get into a car crash. You could be a passenger, a driver, or the driver of another vehicle that’s hit by a rideshare driver who is either driving a passenger or going to pick up a passenger.
There are specifics about these cases that change what insurance is available, such as the status of the ride at the time of the accident.
We have published a variety of articles on rideshare accidents on our site, including:
Questions? Contact Us!
If you have been involved in a personal injury case and you’d like to discuss your circumstances with an attorney, contact Negretti & Associates for a free consultation. Call us at (602) 531-3911 in Arizona, (619) 777-3370 in California, or (720) 636-3444 in Colorado. You can also contact us online or send us a text.