As a legal term, personal injury refers to a situation in which you have been injured or harmed in some way and another person is legally responsible for that injury or harm, regardless of whether the other person’s behavior was negligent, reckless, or intentional.
If you have suffered a personal injury, you may be entitled to damages from the person whose actions, or whose failure to act, led to your personal injury. Personal injury law, also known as tort law, covers a variety of incidents. Continue reading to learn more about some common types of personal injury claims, a common type of injury that is not considered a personal injury, and what you should do if you have suffered a personal injury.
Personal Injuries Caused By Car Accidents
Most personal injury claims filed in the United States are a result of car crashes. The National Safety Council estimates that there were 40,000 deaths from motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. during 2018, and 129 fatalities resulted from car crashes in South Dakota that year. If you were involved in a car accident that was not your fault, a South Dakota personal injury lawyer can help you pursue a claim to recover damages.
Car accidents can lead to a number of medical problems with both short-term and long-term effects. Some of the most common medical issues caused by car accidents are:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Sprains and strains
If you have been involved in a car accident, you should seek medical care right away and maintain thorough documentation of your injuries, any restrictions and limitations resulting from your injuries, and the need for any future medical care. Depending on your particular situation, you may be entitled to damages for medical bills, as well as damages for such things as lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Dog Bite Claims
If you have been bitten by someone’s dog, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim with the help of a South Dakota personal injury attorney. The most basic form of compensation sought for a dog bite is compensation for medical expenses. If the dog’s owner is found to be responsible because the attack was unprovoked and reasonable precautions were not taken to protect others from the dog, the dog owner’s insurance company is responsible for any resulting medical bills, which may include emergency room treatment, the cost of prescriptions, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and even surgery. There are basically two paths to take to prove liability for a dog attack – either proving dangerous propensities or proving the injury was foreseeable under the circumstances. They are set out in the two separate jury instructions below:
DOMESTIC ANIMALS – DANGEROUS PROPENSITIES
An owner or possessor of a domestic animal who knew or should have known that the animal had vicious tendencies or abnormally dangerous propensities is liable in negligence for injuries caused by the animal, regardless of the degree of care exercised by the owner or possessor, subject to the defenses of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk.
DOMESTIC ANIMALS – FORESEEABLE EVENTS
An owner or possessor of a domestic animal is liable for injuries caused by the animal if the owner or possessor, as a reasonably prudent person,
(1) should have foreseen the event that caused the injury, and
(2) negligently failed to prevent the injury.
Whether the event should have been foreseen depends on the total circumstances, including the kind and character of the particular animal, the circumstances in which it was placed, and the purposes for which it was employed or kept. Liability is subject to the defenses of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk.
As with other personal injury claims, you may also seek damages for lost wages or pain and suffering for a claim resulting from a dog bite. Unlike medical bills or lost wages, pain and suffering falls into the category of non-economic damages. Since the loss is not monetary, the value of pain and suffering cannot be calculated easily using receipts or pay stubs. Non-economic damages may account for the majority of the amount recovered, depending on your case, and a personal injury lawyer can discuss with you the effect that your injuries have had on your life to help determine what your claim may be worth, whether you take your case to court or decide to reach a settlement out of court.
Injuries on the Job
Injuries at work are not uncommon and, like many injuries that are the basis of personal injury claims, can lead to steep medical bills, lost wages, and other negative consequences in your life. You may be unable to work for a few weeks, a few months, or, in the case of severe injury, for the rest of your life. As with any injury, if you have suffered because of someone else’s actions or failure to act, you will want to know what sort of compensation you are entitled to.
However, while persons who are injured on the job may receive some types of compensation similar to what would be recovered in a personal injury case, workers’ compensation usually applies in the case of employment-related injuries, not personal injury law. Workers’ compensation is a complex area of law governed almost entirely by the state laws in South Dakota. One important distinction is that, unlike with personal injury claims, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, so you do not have to prove that someone else was responsible for your injuries in order to receive the benefits that you deserve.
Originally conceived of as a system to mutually benefit employers and employees, the complexity of the workers’ compensation system can favor employers just because there are so many procedural requirements and time limits that have to be complied with in order to receive your benefits. Do not feel like you have to navigate the world of workers’ compensation alone: Turbak Law Office, P.C. has attorneys who can handle your claim. In addition, if you’re not sure whether your claim falls under the category of personal injury or workers’ compensation, our lawyers are here to assist you with your next steps.
Speak to an attorney about your injury today
The effects of a personal injury may be long-lasting, but you do not have an unlimited amount of time to pursue your claim. The statute of limitations on most personal injury cases in South Dakota is three years after the action that caused your injury. If you have suffered a personal injury, contact a South Dakota personal injury attorney who can help you receive the compensation that you deserve for your losses. To get a case evaluation, call the Turbak Law Office at (866) 231-0914 today!