Personal injury lawyer, or tort law, is a very broad category of the law. Personal injury lawyer Anderson SC allows an individual who has been injured through either the negligent or intentional wrongful actions of another party to hold that other party responsible. There are a variety of different situations in which one person can injure another, and almost all of these situations are governed by various personal injury laws. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every single situation in which someone is injured is going to lead to liability, however. The key to whether the injured victim can hold someone liable through a personal injury claim is whether or not that victim can prove the necessary elements for that type of claim.
Types of Personal Injury Cases:
Car Accident Lawyer Anderson SC
Car accident cases are one of the most common types of personal injury cases in the United States. When an accident happens, in almost every situation, it occurs because someone isn’t following the rules or driving as carefully as he or she should be. Every single driver in the US owes a legal duty to other drivers on the road to behave with a certain minimum standard of care.
If a driver fails to do this and his behavior is such that no reasonable driver would have been so careless, then that driver can (usually) be held financially and legally responsible for the car accident. Exceptions do exist in the 12 “no fault” states, where drivers have to collect from their own insurers except in cases of “serious” injury.
Most of these types of cases settle outside of court. The insurance company for the driver who was responsible will usually accept responsibility and pay damages for property and injury through a lump sum settlement offer. In some cases, however, a settlement offer isn’t made or isn’t accepted and the case ends up in a courtroom for a personal injury action.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer Anderson SC
Medical malpractice cases occur when doctors, hospitals or certain other health care providers behave below the professional standard of care expected. A medical malpractice case exists when:
The health care professional provided care that fell below what a reasonable health care provider would have provided in the same position and with the same experience and background.
The health care professional performed certain actions (like amputating the wrong leg or providing the wrong dose of medication) or omissions (like a misdiagnosis).
The low level of care must have been a direct cause of some compensable injury as well in order for the plaintiff to recover. Many such cases settle outside of court when the medical malpractice insurer makes a settlement offer to the injured victim.
Slip and Fall Lawyer Anderson SC
Slip and fall cases are another very common type of personal injury case. Property owners (or, in some cases, those who are renting a facility) have a legal duty to guests and patrons to their guests. The exact nature of this legal duty varies depending on the situation. For example:
Businesses that invite customers in have the highest duty. They usually are required to regularly inspect the premises and to make any known dangers safe or to warn guests about them.
Homeowners who have casual guests over have a lesser duty, but they still need to either warn or make safe any dangers that they reasonably ought to know about (they just don’t have to inspect regularly for them).
There is a duty to avoid setting traps for trespassers that could cause harm.
If a premises owner (or responsible renter) doesn’t fulfill his or her legal duty, that owner can be considered negligent. The injured person could file a lawsuit to collect injury damages or could settle outside of court.
Homeowner/Landowner Liability Lawyer Anderson SC
Homeowner and landowner liability is sort of an extension of slip and fall cases. Premises liability law simply reflects the fact that individuals could be injured in ways other than slipping and falling. For example, playground owners may have a duty to maintain safe playground equipment and if they don’t, this could lead to premises liability. The same standard of care and legal duty exists here as exists in slip and fall cases.
Defamation Lawyer Anderson SC: Libel and Slander
Defamation of character in the form of libel or slander refers to the fact that a person can suffer a personal injury to his reputation.
If untrue or false statements are knowingly made in a public forum (in writing or orally) then this can damage a person’s good name. Damage to a reputation can lead to actual financial damages, like loss of a job or loss of business.
The exact nature of what an injured victim of defamation must prove will vary depending on who that victim is.
The average person usually just needs to prove that an untrue negative statement was made and that actual harm (financial loss) came from it. Celebrities or public figures, on the other hand, usually need to prove “actual malice.” This means they need to prove that the untrue statement was made either intentionally or with reckless disregard to the truth of the statement.
Dog Bite Lawyer Anderson SC
Dog bite cases are pretty much exactly what they sound like: an injured victim is bitten by a dog and hurt. In most cases, the owners of a dog are financially responsible for any damage caused by that dog. The exact laws on owner responsibility do vary from state to state, though. In some cases, strict liability rules exist and the dog owner is going to be liable for dog bite damages even if the dog has never shown any aggression or indication of biting before. In other states, “one bite” rules exist, in which owners only become responsible for the full extent of personal injury damages once there is a reason for those owners to know their dog is aggressive or prone to biting (like a previous history of bites.)
Toxic Tort Lawyer Anderson SC
Toxic tort cases are among the hardest personal injury cases to prove. In a toxic tort case, it is asserted that the defendant (who is almost always a company) caused the plaintiff to be exposed to some type of hazard or chemical. For example, the defendant might have dumped dangerous toxins into the ground, which then infected the water supply and caused the people of the town to begin to develop cancer. The biggest problem with toxic tort cases is causation:
In personal injury cases, one of the essential requirements in every case is that the plaintiff prove the defendant’s actions directly caused (were the “proximate cause”) of the harm the plaintiff suffered.
Sometimes it is very hard to prove that the specific actions of the defendant actually caused harm. For example, if a plaintiff gets cancer after drinking dirty ground water, the defendant could argue that no one really knows what causes cancer, and assert that the plaintiff cannot prove that drinking the bad water led to the illness.
This problem is compounded by the fact that the injury often doesn’t manifest or become known to the injured victim until months or years after the exposure to the chemicals or toxins.
These types of cases are almost always class action cases, because multiple people are usually exposed to the dangerous toxin. Groups of similarly affected individuals all sue the defendant together. The cases often, but not always, settle outside of court.
Product Liability Lawyer Anderson SC
Product liability personal injury cases are very familiar to most people. If you’ve ever been watching television and heard an advertisement that “If you’ve been injured by this product, please call this number,” then essentially what you heard was an invitation to potentially join a product liability class action.
Product liability cases arise when a dangerous or defective product causes harm to users. There are a host of implied warranties under the law that mandate that a product must be safe when used as intended. All manufacturers, distributors and sales people thus have a duty to the customer to make sure that their products are safe when used the way they are intended.
Because of the legal duties imposed in the field of product liability, in most cases these types of claims are governed under “strict liability” rules. This means that an injured victim who is harmed by a defective product doesn’t have to prove the manufacturer or distributor was in any way negligent in the production or distribution of the product. Instead, the victim simply has to prove he used the product as he should and he was hurt anyway. A plaintiff also has a number of people that can be held responsible in defective product claims, because anyone along the chain of the product’s creation and delivery can usually be held liable for harm that occurred.
Defective product cases are also almost always class action cases, just like toxic torts. This is because many people tend to use a product, as opposed to just one or two, and so if something goes wrong, many people are usually harmed. Such cases frequently occur as a result of defective drugs. Automobile cases are also a common reason for a defective product case to be brought; for example, when Firestone sold defective tires in 2000, the incident resulted in more than 30 class action lawsuits that were settled for more than $149 million dollars. Toyota also faced class action lawsuits in 2010 for cars that accelerated due to defective floor mats. Any defective product can lead to a product liability lawsuit. Defective Chinese drywall that corroded walls in houses, for example, is a recent problem that has been giving rise to litigation.
Wrongful Death Lawyer Anderson SC
Wrongful death is another special type of case. A wrongful death action can be brought as a result of any one of the above types of personal injuries, but the difference is that the injuries actually led to the death of the victim. A wrongful death action is brought by the living family members or by the estate of the person who was harmed. Such actions ensure that a defendant doesn’t just get to walk away without financial liability simply because he injured someone badly enough to kill them.
Wrongful death damages can be very large, and can include things like an entire lifetime of lost income as well as damages for the loss of companionship of the person who has been killed. The person or people who bring such damages must have “standing to sue,” which means they must have a significant relationship to the deceased victim. The nature of this relationship varies, though. In some states, for example, grown children cannot sue for the death of their parents, but in other states they can. In every state, however, spouses can sue for the death of a spouse and parents can sue for the death of a minor child.
The field of personal injury law is a very broad one, and the laws apply in many situations. If you have been injured in any manner by someone else who you feel should be held legally responsible, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out if you have legal grounds to make a claim.
Contact Tom Dunaway with Dunaway Law Office Anderson SC (864) 224-1144 for more information about personal injury law in Anderson SC.