Each day in the U.S., individuals find themselves in risky situations. These situations can involve traffic congestion; hazardous property features at friends' homes, at local stores, or even in public areas; food, medicine, or products that are contaminated or defective; and even negligence by medical providers or nursing home facilities.
If the careless or reckless actions of someone else injured you, you can seek compensation for the financial and emotional costs of your injury. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help and provide information about this process and talk to you about the services they can provide to assist you with your claim.
Read on for more information about common injury accidents resulting in a personal injury claim.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and reported by Bankrate, about three million people in the U.S. are injured each year due to motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle accidents include single-vehicle accidents in which a driver runs off the road or collides with another object, vehicle, or pedestrian and those involving multiple vehicles. The accident can include passenger cars, pickup trucks, commercial trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Some of the most common causes of traffic accidents on U.S. roadways include:
- Distracted driving involves operating a motor vehicle while visually, manually, or cognitively distracted from the task of safe driving.
- Speeding is driving faster than the posted speed limit or driving faster than what weather and traffic conditions will safely allow. Speeding presents several hazards, including the inability of other drivers to tell how fast you are going when judging a gap in traffic in which to pull onto a roadway; less time for the speeding driver to perceive a hazard and respond by braking; a longer distance needed for the brakes to pull the vehicle to a safe stop; and an increased crash severity as a result of the increased force of the collision caused by the vehicle's speed.
- Drunk driving results in around 28 deaths a day in the U.S. Alcohol impairment causes deficits that impact a driver's ability to operate their vehicle safely. Some of these deficits include difficulty controlling the speed or maintaining lane position, the inability to focus on driving safely, and the inability to make sound operating decisions.
- Driver fatigue can cause similar deficits to the driver's skills as alcohol impairment does. Driver fatigue is of particular concern for individuals who work night shifts, swing shifts, or drive during late night or early morning hours. The human sleep/wake cycle causes individuals to become naturally tired during hours of darkness.
According to a study from Johns Hopkins Medicine, medical errors cause around 250,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers must take reasonable actions to protect their patients from harm. Failing to do so can make them liable for the injuries that their error caused. Those injured due to medical negligence can seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim.
The common types of mistakes that can lead to injury and result in a malpractice claim include:
- Diagnosis errors, such as misdiagnosing a medical condition or failing to accurately interpret diagnostic tests, symptoms, and patient medical history to diagnose a condition
- Prescription errors, including giving the patient the wrong medication to treat their condition or the wrong dosage
- Injuries to mothers and infants during the birth process, such as failing to diagnose a medical condition suffered by the mother or fetus that can result in a bad birthing outcome, failing to perform a C-section when medically indicated, performing an unnecessary C-section, or failing to monitor the newborn for signs of distress
- Failure to obtain informed consent from the patient to perform the procedure. Health care providers must explain suggested procedures to patients, including disclosing all of the procedure's known risks. If an injury occurs after the provider failed to disclose information to the patient, the patient can hold the provider liable for injuries that result.
- Surgical errors, including performing surgery on the wrong patient, performing surgery on the wrong body part (such as operating on the patient's left arm when their right arm is the one needing surgical repair), or even leaving surgical sponges or tools inside a body cavity after surgery
Premises Liability Issues
Premises liability refers to the responsibility of property owners or those who possess and control or regularly inspect the premises in search of hazards that could cause injuries to guests. If property owners discover those hazards, they must promptly mitigate the issue and place prominent warnings near unrepaired dangers.
Some types of premises liability issues that can result in a personal injury claim include:
- Slip and fall accidents result from clutter, liquid, or debris in walkways; damaged sidewalks or staircases; potholes in parking lots; or cords, cabinets, and other obstacles extending into traveled areas.
- Dog bite injuries. A homeowner's insurance policy compensates dog bite injuries. Dog bites can result in serious injuries, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and complications caused by infection of the wound.
- Fires, flooding, and other structural accidents caused by the property owner's failure to keep the premises free of hazards
- Negligent security involves the failure of the property owner or possessor to take action to mitigate dangerous activity that is known to occur at or near the property and can result in a visitor becoming injured.
Dangerous Food, Medicine, and Products
Consumers in the U.S. rely on hundreds of products every day, from the foods and medicines they consume to the appliances they use, the medical devices they rely on, and even the parts used on their vehicle or on furniture or bedding they buy for their children.
Several federal agencies investigate and recall dangerous products:
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) handles recalls and investigations involving products that do not include food, drugs, or vehicles. Some examples of the types of recalls the CPSC has recently announced include children's handbags that contain lead; baby teether that contains small parts that present a choking hazard; fiberboard menorahs that can catch fire when holding lit candles; and a hot air hairbrush that does not have an immersion protection device and can cause the consumer to suffer an electrical shock or even electrocution if it falls into water while plugged in.
- The United States Department of Agriculture handles recalls involved in agricultural products such as meat, poultry, milk, and eggs. It also conducts inspections of farming products suspected of violating safety standards and performs random samplings to test the safety of products sold to consumers.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recalls and investigates vehicles or parts used on the vehicle for safety.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigates and recalls food and drugs that pose safety risks to consumers. Some types of foods and drugs that fall under the control of the FDA include vaccines, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medical devices, tobacco products, alcohol, and cosmetics. The exceptions to this list include beer, wine, and liquor, which falls under the control of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and shellfish, which the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference regulates.
Nursing Home Negligence
According to the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys (NANHA), consumers lodge more than 250,000 complaints against nursing homes each year for failing to deliver the quality of care that seniors are entitled to through federal and state laws.
Many nursing home negligence cases result from inadequate staffing at the facility that can result in poorly trained staff members providing care or from staff members being responsible for supervising more residents at once than they can handle. About 90 percent of the nursing homes in the U.S. are currently operating at inadequate staffing levels.
Some examples of the type of nursing home negligence that can result in a personal injury claim include:
- Falls result from inadequate supervision or failure of the staff to provide fall prevention measures per the resident's care plan.
- Physical or sexual abuse of a resident perpetrated by a staff member or staff failed to protect the resident from misuse caused by another resident.
- Neglect of the resident's basic needs, including food, water, shelter, personal hygiene, treatment and prevention of pressure sores, necessary medical treatment, the provision of prescribed medications, or preventing the resident from wandering away from the facility or supervisors for facility-sponsored activities occurring outside the nursing home.
- Physical or chemical restraints to calm patients or keep them from wandering away.
- Medication errors, such as providing the resident with someone else's medication, or over-or under-medicating the resident for a diagnosed issue
Catastrophic injuries present a high likelihood of permanent disabilities that will prevent the sufferer from earning an income.
The term most commonly defines:
- Spinal cord injuries, which eliminate sensation or function beneath the injury, are known as paralysis. For individuals suffering spinal cord injuries to the cervical (neck) area of the spine, the injury can result in paralysis from the neck down, preventing the sufferer from walking, using their hands, or even in some cases, breathing independently.
- Traumatic brain injuries can cause permanent disabilities, including memory loss, the inability to control one's emotions or impulses, the ability to see and perceive the size and shape of objects, or the ability to communicate with others
Occasionally, other injuries are also considered catastrophic due to their likely impact on an individual's earning capacities, such as amputated limbs, loss of vision or hearing, or severe damage to the spinal vertebrae and discs.
Catastrophic injuries can occur in nearly any type of accident listed above. While the personal injury claims process is the same for permanent injuries as for other injury types, it is essential for a claimant to properly value their claim to account for their loss of future earning capacity.
The Experience You Need for Your Personal Injury Claim
A lawyer from a top-rated personal injury law firm brings several qualities to your claim to help you obtain the maximum compensation available to you.
These qualities include:
- Experience with the legal process and determining the value of a claim based on the plaintiff's injuries, the expenses and impacts that the claimant already incurred because of their injury, and those they will likely experience.
- Strong communication skills, as needed to guide you as you make the crucial decisions about the status of your claim and to communicate the severity of your injuries to the at-fault party's insurance provider or the court.
- A passion for helping those who are injured navigate the personal injury claims process
The right personal injury attorney should have communication skills, attention to detail, and a limited caseload to ensure their clients receive the necessary attention and garner the best outcome.
To learn more about the services a personal injury attorney provides and how they can help, call one for a free consultation today.