What is a Personal Injury?

Personal Injury Law Legal FAQs

Personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property. In Anglo-American jurisdictions the term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit in which the person bringing the suit, or \”plaintiff,\” has suffered harm to his or her body or mind.


What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. A personal injury case can become formalized through civil court proceedings that seek to find others legally at fault through a court judgment or, as is much more common, such disputes may be resolved through informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed:

  • Formal Lawsuit – Unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government, a formal personal injury case typically starts when a private individual (the \”plaintiff\”) files a civil complaint against another person, business, corporation, or government agency (the \”defendant\”), alleging that they acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm. This action is known as \”filing a lawsuit\”. Our discussion on negligence and proof is especially helpful.

  • Informal Settlement – In reality, most disputes over fault for an accident or injury are resolved through informal early settlement, usually among those personally involved in the dispute, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides. A settlement commonly takes the form of negotiation, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any further action (such as a lawsuit), choosing instead to resolve the matter through payment of an agreeable amount of money.

Note: The middle ground between a lawsuit and an informal settlement is alternative dispute resolution procedures like mediation and arbitration.

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