What is defined as personal injury?

Personal injuries include a variety of injuries to a person's body, emotions, or reputation, in contrast to injuries to property rights. Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind, or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. In common law jurisdictions, the term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort claim in which the person who filed the lawsuit (the plaintiff in English law or the plaintiff in US jurisdictions) has suffered damage to his body or mind. Personal injury claims are brought against the person or entity that caused the damage through negligence, gross negligence, reckless conduct, or intentional misconduct and, in some cases, on the basis of strict liability.

Different jurisdictions describe damages (or things for which the injured person can be compensated) in different ways, but damages generally include the injured person's medical bills, pain and suffering, and decreased quality of life. Personal injury lawyers are experts at finding out who was responsible for causing your accident and then negotiating with them on your behalf. Some jurisdictions offer no-fault compensation systems for personal injury cases, or types of personal injury cases, by which an injured person can recover compensation from an insurance fund or program regardless of who is at fault for the person's injury. In the United States, for federal taxes payable to the IRS, money awarded in a personal injury settlement as compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and property damage is normally not taxable.

In New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation provides no-fault compensation to all accident victims (including medical negligence), and personal injury claims are rare (except in cases of reckless conduct). Common law may differ and differ from state to state, so rules for personal injury law may not be uniform across the country. Every year, thousands of people are injured in different types of accidents, but not all injuries provide the basis for filing a personal injury lawsuit. There are several types of damages you could recover if your case meets the legal definition of personal injury.

The same case may be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit and a criminal defense case. For example, in the United States, most injuries that occur while the injured person is working for an employer are compensated through a no-fault workers' compensation system. In addition to compensation for injuries, the injured person may receive compensation for the lifetime effect of the injuries. Personal injuries include physical harm, mental distress, loss of income, loss of future income potential, pain and suffering.

Despite the general distinction between bodily injury and personal injury in insurance contracts, auto insurance known as personal injury protection (PIP) covers medical expenses for bodily injuries. Much of common law has been compiled into something called Restatement of Torts, which is a kind of guide explaining what the rules are, and many states get guidance from this on personal injury matters. A personal injury lawyer helps you recover damages for injuries caused by someone else's negligence or crime.