personal injury

Photo by SPC-HQ/iStock / Getty Images

Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property.[1]

In Anglo-American jurisdictions the term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit alleging that the plaintiff's injury has been caused by the negligence of another, but also arises in defamation torts. Damages includebodily injuryintentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED).

The most common types of personal injury claims are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping accidents, assault claims, accidents in the home, product defect accidents (product liability) and holiday accidents. The termpersonal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to numerous medical negligence claims every year) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysemapneumoconiosissilicosis, chronic bronchitisasthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermititis, and repetitive strain injury cases.

Depending upon the intent or negligence of a responsible party, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party through a settlement or a judgment. In the United States, this system is complex and controversial, with critics calling for various forms of tort reform. Attorneys often represent clients on a "contingent fee basis" in which the attorney's fee is a percentage of the plaintiff's eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved, with no payment necessary if the case is unsuccessful. Legal aid from the government may not be available; for example it was largely abolished in England in the late 1990s and replaced with arrangements whereby the client would be charged no fee if her or his case was unsuccessful.[2]