Personal Injury & Wrongful Death
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death
The terms personal injury and bodily injury are when a person gets hurt in an accident or by the negligence of another. While personal injury and bodily injury are often said interchangeably, these two terms have different meanings. We want to help you understand the legal definitions and implications of personal and bodily injuries.
Defining Personal Injury Types & Parties Involved
Personal injury is an element of civil law. Personal injury claims compensate victims of accidents or social wrongs, such as defamation of character.
The plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is the injured person. The defendant is whom the case is brought against for causing the wrongdoing, accident or injury.
When an accident or wrongful act causes death of the victim, the plaintiff in the wrongful death claim is the representative of the deceased’s estate and the defendant is the party whose negligence caused the injury or loss to the victim. When blame is asserted on another party by the defendant, they are referred to as the cross-defendant.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Arizona?
Arizona limits who can file a wrongful death claim to:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- Any surviving child of the deceased
- Any surviving parent or guardian of the deceased no matter the deceased’s age
- A personal representative of a deceased spouse, child, parent or guardian
- A personal representative of the deceased’s estate
Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury lawsuit, the primary factor comes down to whether you can prove the accident, injury or wrongful act was caused by the negligence of another party or entity. Four elements of negligence must be present for your case to be viable. Our experienced accident and personal injury lawyers can review your claim to evaluate whether it includes these elements.
Duty of Care – You must first prove that the person against whom your claim is made owed a duty to you. The duty can arise from ownership or operation of the instrument of the injury, the relationship between the people involved, or by law. The existence of a duty is fundamental to a successful claim.
Breach of Duty – You must then prove that the responsible party breached its duty. A breach can come as a result of an action or, sometimes, inaction by the responsible party. The ability to clearly explain how a duty was breached is necessary in any negligence claim.
Causation – Then you must prove the responsible party, by breaching its duty, caused you harm or damage. Also, your injury or damage must have been reasonably foreseeable at the time. This is typically determined on case-by-case based upon all available evidence.
Damages – It is then necessary to show the nature and extent of your injuries or property damage. In negligence cases, damages often include things like hospital or medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering. It is common—even when liability is clear, that disputes arise between the plaintiff and defendant regarding the nature and/or extent of damages of the personal injury claim.
Why Hire a Personal Injury or Accident Attorney?
An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to realistically estimate your cases’ worth and effectively explain the reasons why. Attempting to negotiate on your own against the negligent party (or their representatives) it often not in your best interests. Dealing with insurance companies and the processes around personal and bodily injury and wrongful death claims has become increasingly more complex and confusing over the years. Contacting an injury lawyer before attempting to handle accident claims or injury appeals on your own has become essential for positive outcomes.