While the term personal injury may sound like something you would prefer to keep to yourself, this connotation can be misleading. Personal injuries can range from incidents of medical malpractice to a bite from the neighbor’s dog. In this instance, the term “personal” refers to bodily harm, specifically as a result of the negligence or actions of another person. When such an incident occurs, you may have the right to pursue a legal claim for damages.
What is a Personal Injury?
A number of different types of accidents or attacks fall into this category including those involving an automobile, airplane, train, or motorcycle accident. These are not the only cases of personal injury however. Some examples include:
- Developing cancer as a result of on-the-job exposure to asbestos or other toxic substances
- Injury during an automobile accident where the other driver was cited for causing the accident
- Injury from an automobile accident caused by the negligence of an auto repair mechanic or automobile manufacturer’s defective design
- Infant injuries that occur as a result of medical malpractice during prenatal care or delivery of the baby
- Bodily injuries that occur during a physical attack, such as a mugging, robbery, rape, or hate crime
- Injury resulting from a defective medical device, such as an implanted pacemaker
- Receiving a dog bite while visiting a home or business, especially if the dog has a history of being aggressive and the owner did not secure the animal properly
- A slip and fall in the local grocery store due to a malfunctioning vegetable sprinkler system that results in wet floors
- Excessive police force during an arrest, such as the questionable use of a stun gun or pepper spray
The ABCs of Personal Injury
Anytime a personal injury occurs, remember your ABCs:
1. Always document as many details as possible, as soon as possible. Write information down in an organized manner including the date, time, and as many details as you can recall (no matter how large or small). Include the names and contact information of any witnesses, and use your cell phone camera to capture photographic documentation.
2. Be diligent about seeking medical help, treatment, and advice. If your case goes to court, you may need to call on the testimony of several medical professionals to help you prove the extent of your injuries. A second and third opinion is helpful to your case in this circumstance.
3. Care for yourself during this stressful period. Take time out to heal and to seek the necessary treatment to limit the lifelong effects of your injuries. While it’s easy to get caught up in the details of medical appointments, physical therapy, prescriptions, legal meetings, and dozens of phone calls related to your case, it is crucial that you take some time to engage in enjoyable and stress relieving activities. Stress can inhibit your body’s healing process and relieving that stress is in the best interest of everyone involved.
If you have questions about your personal injury, be sure to seek legal counsel to ensure you get the compensation to which you are entitled.
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