As a personal injury law attorney, I represent people who have been injured in accidents caused by other people’s negligence. Someone else had to be careless, reckless, inattentive, or breaking the law. That makes my clients victims. In other words, they are NOT at fault for the accidents or for their resulting injuries.
My clients do not plan to be in an accident. It happens to them, and it happens unexpectedly. My clients do not go to court every day, and most have never even been to court one day in their lives. But now, they are in the middle of a crisis that could involve the courts, and they need help. That is when I step in…
because you never need a lawyer ’til you do.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
In this type of civil law, my clients (also known as plaintiffs) sue other people, insurance companies, businesses, or manufacturers for reimbursement of their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other damages incurred as a result of the accident. If the victim died as a result of the accident, the victim’s surviving loved ones can step into the victim’s shoes and sue on his or her behalf.
The majority of personal injury lawsuits involve traffic accidents, which I tend to focus on at Tehrani Law, LLC. However, personal injury law encompasses several types of accidents that can happen in places other than on roadways.
Types of Accidents Personal Injury Law Encompasses
Besides traffic accidents, personal injury law encompasses these common types of injury cases: premises liability, product liability, and medical malpractice.
#1 – Traffic Accidents
Because I handle more of these cases than others, I want to review traffic accidents first. Obviously, these types of accidents involve motor vehicles – sports cars, sedans, SUVs, pickup trucks. However, they can also involve semi-trucks, tractor trailers, motorcycles, bicycles, AND pedestrians. Thus, I often divide my legal practice into 5 types of traffic accidents:
The kinds of injuries people experience in traffic accidents can be relatively “minor” like whiplash, abrasions, broken bones, or the like. However, many of my clients have experienced injuries I would categorize as catastrophic, like punctured organs, broken backs, severed limbs, and the like.
The most devastating injuries I have seen as a lawyer, though, involve pedestrians. A heartbreaking example of this is the teen volleyball player from Middle Tennessee who had to have both legs amputated after being hit by a car in February 2023.
I also constantly warn my friends, “Don’t jaywalk! Stay in the crosswalks!” Although my warning may seem silly or easy to disregard, it is serious. I have seen too many injured pedestrians unable to collect any money for medical reimbursements because they were jaywalking when they were hit.
#2 – Premises Liability
Another common type of case personal injury lawyers handle is premises liability. These cases include any type of accident that occurs on personal property or business property.
Because so many things can happen on premises, I will break this personal injury category into three different sections.
If you have a dog, a pool, a trampoline, a swing set, a fire pit, or any other potentially dangerous attractive nuisances on your personal property, you can be held liable for injuries others sustain on, in, or around those attractions.
Even if the injured person trespassed on your property or was a child who wandered onto your property, you can still be held liable for their injuries or deaths! Therefore, make sure you have appropriate fencing, barriers, signs, and notices up at your home.
Likewise, if a business offers potentially dangerous attractions, it can be held liable for customer accidents. The following businesses are examples of those:
- Trampoline parks
- Amusement parks
- Water parks
- Public pools
- Zip line courses
- Sky diving
- Cliff diving
- Rock climbing
If a business offers amusements, liability insurance premiums are probably going to be high. Safeguards must also be put in place to protect businesses from liability. Set age limits, weight limits, time limits, etc. Display “Warning” or “Danger” signs. Businesses must also have emergency aid available, too.
Usually, slip-and-fall accidents happen at businesses. I am sure you have seen people intentionally throw things on the floor to “slip” on purpose. That gives many clients who have been legitimately injured in these events a bad name. Yet, the clients I see because of slip-and-falls have horror stories and significant injuries.
One of my clients slipped on a clear liquid in a grocery store and broke her knee. She even needed surgery to fix it! In litigation, the defendant’s attorneys and I were able to watch CCTV footage of the event. It showed two people roll a cart laden with bags of ice into the store minutes before my client entered it. Water was dripping from the cart onto the floor from the front door to the freezer aisle.
Everyone saw what caused my client’s slip-and-fall. But the question for the court came down to how many people were liable for her accident. The grocery store could be liable. The workers standing at the cash registers who watched the water drip on the floor could be liable. Then, the people who brought the ice into the store or the company that employed them could be liable.
Because multiple people could be at fault in situations like this, you get into some complicated legal maneuvering with a premises liability claim at a business. Wet floors, dirty floors, debris on floors, loose flooring, and many other problems create slip-and-fall claims, so if you are aware of potential dangers at your place of business, display warning signs and/or make sure employees follow standard clean-up procedures.
C. Dog Bites
While slip-and-falls usually occur on business premises, dog bite claims tend to occur on personal properties. Dog bite claims can occur off your property, too, though, so they tend to fall into a category in and of themselves. Either way, if your dog causes harm to someone else, the claim falls under your homeowners’ insurance.
If you have a dog at your home, you should put up signs like “Dog on Premises” to protect people and even yourself. Your dog may not seem dangerous, but you never know what can happen if your dog is provoked or tries to defend you. Maintaining control over your dog on your property is, therefore, your responsibility.
Many dog bite cases I have seen start with a dog attacking another dog, and an owner steps in to try to stop the dog fight. The human gets bitten. In these cases, the physical harm done to the human is usually egregious.
On the other hand, some of my clients are injured trying to get away from a dog they believed was aggressive. If you have a reasonable fear that a dog is going to bite you, you have the right to try and protect yourself. If you are injured during your flight, then you could have a personal injury lawsuit.
#3 – Product Liability
Product liability takes us back to the 4 main categories of cases in personal injury law. Inevitably, product failures can happen at someone else’s home, at public parks, at schools, at hospitals, or at other business establishments. That means that these types of lawsuits are often filed in conjunction with other liability claims. However, they are a separate type of personal injury law, too.
If a piece of playground equipment malfunctions or breaks and causes injury, that is a type of product liability lawsuit. Car airbags that fail to deploy or deploy at the wrong time can turn into product liability suits. When mesh implants for hernias or bladders fail and injure the recipients, those cases are product liability ones, too.
Generally, product liability cases fall under the following categories:
- Manufacturing defects (poor workmanship, inferior materials, inadequate quality control, faulty product testing)
- Design defects (flawed and unsafe products that often involve large-scale recalls)
- Marketing defects (failures to warn, inadequate warnings, insufficient directions, or false and misleading advertisements)
Because many products are mass produced, these types of personal injury claims often turn into class action lawsuits. Not just one or two people are injured when pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, technological devices, vehicle parts, and equipment fail. Hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people are injured. Thus, a lawsuit can be brought by a large group of people against a manufacturer or seller of those products. Asbestos lawsuits are a great example of this type of claim.
#4 – Medical Malpractice
The fourth type of personal injury law case I often see is medical malpractice. Not necessarily related to product liability, medical malpractice involves the negligence of a medical professional.
If doctors, dentists, or surgeons operate while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and injure their patients, that falls under medical malpractice claims. If a plastic surgeon does a tummy tuck instead of the planned chin lift, that could be “med mal.” Sometimes, physicians leave medical tools in patients or nick arteries or veins during surgery that cause massive hemorrhages.
Anything a medical professional does or does not do that leads to unanticipated injuries to their patients falls under medical malpractice.
Other Things Personal Injury Law May Cover
Traffic accidents, premises liability, product liability, and medical malpractice encompass most personal injury lawsuits. As you can see, each main type of PI law also includes subcategories.
I have tried to touch on the most common personal injury lawsuits, but there are more. Additional types of personal injury law include, but are not limited to the following:
- Worker’s compensation
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual abuse
Any other situations where people are physically injured due to someone else’s negligence can also be part of personal injury law.
Many of my clients who are involved in accidents spend days, weeks, or months in the hospital or in therapy, trying to regain their health and mobility. Some are even permanently disabled because of the accident. To learn more about personal injury law or to hear about more cases I have seen, click HERE.
No matter how innocuous or severe my clients’ injuries are, I fight to get them reimbursements for medical expenses, lost wages, lost abilities, and pain and suffering. I spend my life representing clients who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. These are just a few examples of the types of civil claims my clients have and the people or businesses who are responsible. Contact me if you would like to find out if you have a personal injury claim of your own.
Virginia Vile Tehrani
is the attorney owner of Tehrani Law, LLC, which is an accident injury law firm based in Maryland and Northern Virginia that helps victims of traffic accidents and practices civil litigation. You may reach her at (301) 322-8155 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.