Front end of a wrecked car

Personal Injury Case Vs. Criminal Case

It’s not really surprising that when I tell people what I do, they recognize and understand generally the workers’ compensation aspect of my work, but the personal injury area of practice, that’s a lot harder to get a handle on. Personal injury is probably one of the most litigated areas of practice with mountains of law interpreting and explaining it. It is a complex area of the law which takes significant time to wrap your head around as opposed to areas such as criminal law which is fairly straight forward. The crux of personal injury is the idea of justice for a person that was injured by another person’s negligence. Negligence is defined as a failure to act like a reasonably prudent person would act under the same or similar circumstances. You may say, well isn’t that what criminal law does? No. The great distinction between those two areas is that in a criminal case a person has violated a state or federal criminal law which means that it is the government, not the individual that prosecutes the crime itself. In fact, the victim’s injuries and other harms and losses aren’t considered in a criminal case other than as an element of the crime that has to be proven. Another distinction is that the consequences of a criminal case involve possible jail time, probation or other sanctions. These consequences cannot be sought in a personal injury claim.

What Constitutes a Personal Injury Claim?

There are many different areas of personal injury, but the basis for each of them is that a person has been injured because someone did not act carefully. The most common personal injury case, and the cases I handle the most, are car accidents. The idea being that if someone drives carelessly and their conduct results in an accident which injures another person, that person then has the right to sue the negligent driver for their injuries. A personal injury case is a civil case, which means that it is an individual suing another individual personally. Because of this, the consequences are different as well because an individual being sued by another individual cannot be sent to jail or placed on probation. The only justice that can be pursued in a civil case is money to try and address, repair and compensate for the harms and losses that have been caused by the negligence.

Areas of Personal Injury

Different areas of personal injury include auto accident claims, premises liability claims (injuries occurring on another person’s property), medical malpractice claims, professional malpractice claims (such as attorneys and other professionals that are licensed or certified), as well as claims for faulty manufacturing of products (called product liability) to name a few. Many people think that if they just call any attorney’s office that we can handle these different types of claims. This is not true. For example, product liability or medical malpractice claims are not common areas of practice. Product liability cases are often brought against national corporations and there is extreme expense in pursuing those claims. Also, there are specific requirements to bringing those claims that involve particular expertise in handling them. By the same token, it is more common to find attorneys that handle claims involving car collisions, but those also have their own proof requirements that the attorney must understand. So before you go and hire an attorney, make sure that you know what area of law you need an attorney in (it’s pointless to call a personal injury attorney about a contract law case unless you are just seeking a referral to another professional) and make sure that you research so that you know the attorney you meet with actually handles your particular type of case on a regular basis and has done so for at least five years. You do not want to have someone that dabbles in these areas. You only get one shot at being compensated for your injuries, so call us at 719-633-6620 if you have been injured in an automobile accident or on someone else’s property. Additionally, if it involves something that we don’t handle, such as product liability or medical malpractice, we can direct you to attorneys that do.