personal injury

What Is a Personal Injury?

There are multiple misconceptions about what constitutes personal injury. Simply put, it is a legal term that implies an injury that is sustained to one’s self, and personal injury law provides victims or survivors compensation for any damages or harm that was inflicted on them. What is not understood so well is that this term covers a plethora of injuries: physical and emotional ones.

Common Examples of Personal Injuries

  • Car Accident
  • Work Accident
  • Tripping Accident
  • Assault Claims
  • Home Accidents
  • Accidents on Someone Else’s Home or Property
  • Emotional Distress

What Are Damages?

A person is capable of filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit when another person has caused bodily injury or emotional distress either intentionally or through negligence. The person filing a personal injury lawsuit is the plaintiff, who is seeking damages from the defendant. In order to define damages, the attorney will need to access injuries sustained.

Damages then fall into two categories: special or general. Special damages are those that can be measured such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and property damages. General damages are more ambiguous since they tend to deal with emotional distress, PTSD, or pain and suffering.

Sometimes a lawsuit can include both special and general damages. For example, a worker who lost a limb on the job and can no longer work. This would cause both bodily and emotional injury, and the worker would be entitled to both types of damages.

Does a Personal Injury Have a Time Limitation?

Each state has its own Statue of Limitations, or the time a person has to file a claim for a personal injury. In Pennsylvania a cause of action, or sufficient facts to justify the right to sue, must be filed within two years of the date when the personal injury occurred. Pennsylvania also has a “discovery rule,” which is for limited cases, and starts the time when the plaintiff knows, or should have known, that he or she was injured.


Resources: Peck Law Group, Edgar Synder & Associates