The purpose of personal injury law is to make people whole after suffering injuries due to someone else's intentional or negligent behavior. This area of law addresses wrongful acts - known as "torts" - that don't rise to the level of criminal behavior, although there can be some overlap. For example, assault is addressed in both civil law as a tort and in criminal law as a crime, but their definitions vary by state.
Personal injury law is a large practice area and lawyers can choose to focus on representing plaintiffs - those who file the lawsuit - or defendants - the ones alleged to have caused the harm.
Personal Injury Defense: Attorneys and Practice
Personal injury defense attorneys specialize in defending people and businesses who have been accused of causing personal injuries. Personal injury defense lawyers evaluate whether or not the plaintiff has a valid legal claim, file necessary court documents defending against injury claims, and provide advice on whether it's better to try to reach a settlement or go to trial.
Many people are also covered by insurance which will pay for their defense in a personal injury suit. For example, most drivers carry automobile insurance, homeowners and businesses have insurance in case someone injures themselves on their property, and doctors have medical malpractice insurance to cover injuries to patients. As a result, personal injury defense attorneys can be hired not just by the individual being sued, known as the defendant, but also by the defendant's insurance company. In fact, some defense attorneys specialize in insurance law and base their entire practice on handling cases from an insurance company.
Personal Injury Defense: Types of Claims
There are a variety of claims that can be filed in a personal injury lawsuit. Probably the most common claims are those related to car accidents or slip and fall injuries. But there are also other types of claims that a personal injury defense attorney would be familiar with, such as:
- Product Liability: These claims are filed against the manufacturer of a product when that product has injured the consumer. Common types of products that can be included in these types of claims include defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, defective vehicles, and dangerous children's products.
- Medical Malpractice: These claims are filed against health care providers who cause injuries to patients.
- Invasion of Privacy: These claims are filed against a defendant who invades someone's privacy by appropriating their name or likeness, publicly disclosing private facts about them, portraying them plaintiff in a false light, or intruding on their solitude.
- Defamation: These claims are filed against defendants who have caused injury to a plaintiff's reputation.
Please be aware that the list above is not exhaustive as there are additional accidents and injuries that may give rise to other types of claims in a personal injury lawsuit.
Need Help Defending Against a Personal Injury Lawsuit? Contact an Attorney
While your insurance company may provide you with an attorney to defend against a personal injury lawsuit, it's important to understand that they'll be looking out not only for your interests but for the insurance company's interests as well. That's why it can be beneficial to consult with an independent lawyer as well. If someone has filed a personal injury lawsuit against you, you should consider reaching out to a personal injury defense lawyer who can provide you with personalized legal advice based on your particular situation.