Personal injury or PI is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to an object.
It is a term is most commonly used to refer to a type of lawsuit alleging that the injury has been caused by the negligence of another.
The most common types of personal injury claims are:
• Road Traffic accidents
• Accidents at work
• Accidents outside e.g tripping
• Assult claims
• Accidents in the home
• Accidents with a defective product
• Holiday accidents
The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents. A lot of claims are dealt with each year in relation to industrial disease cases.
Compensation may be awarded depending on the level of negligence by the responsible party. This is dealt with through the courts with help from a solicitor in most cases.
Damages are awarded as either special or general. Special damages are measurable costs, such as medical, lost earnings, and property damages. General costs cover things such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Compensation amounts will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Injuries that cause the most amount of pain and suffering such as loss of limb or brain injuries will be awarded the highest sums.
Awards can also be made in relation to the lifetime impact of the injury. For example a rugby player who suffers a back injury may not be able to play rugby again. This can be compensated for in addition to the injury award. This is called loss of amenity and forms part of the award of the claim for pain and suffering.
They will also take into account the person’s job and whether the injury will affect their employment.
In England and Wales the individual who is claiming compensation for personal injury, court proceedings must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the accident. After this the right to claim is lost. However, injured parties who were under the age of 18 at the time of their accidents have until the day prior to their 21st birthdays to commence proceedings.
Compensation is awarded through the courts in a settlement or judgement. These payments can either be as a lump sum or structured payments over a period of time.