Personal injury lawyers handle an incredibly broad array of cases, from medical malpractice to product liability, auto accidents, dog bites, defamation, and even plane crashes. But what types of personal injury cases are seen (and litigated) most frequently?
Curtis C. Osborne attorney at Osborne Injury Law Firm discusses the five most common types of cases seen by personal injury lawyers.
There are about 13 auto accidents each minute in the United States, many of which may result in serious injury or even death. Because of statistics like these, many personal injury attorneys consider auto accidents their most common type of claim. Auto accidents may involve vehicles, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians.
Auto accidents can be attributed to a number of different causes—some preventable, some not.
- Impaired driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Medical emergencies
- Inclement Weather
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Vehicle malfunction
- Maintenance problems
- Roadway hazards
“An experienced personal injury attorney can work to investigate the accident, identify the person or persons responsibly, and seek compensation for any property damage, injuries, or other effects you’ve suffered,” says Osborne.
Product Liability Claims
The manufacturer, designer, or retailer may be held responsible when a defective or dangerous product hurts someone. In most states, product liability is a type of “strict liability” claim—this means that the manufacturer or seller can be held liable even if they didn’t intend to create a dangerous product. This is different from most other personal injury claims, where an injured plaintiff must prove that the responsible party engaged in reckless or negligent behavior.
Product liability claims can be brought on an individual or class action basis. For example, Johnson & Johnson has been sued by tens of thousands of plaintiffs who accused it of distributing cancer-causing talc powder. Other plaintiff classes have sued Monsanto, alleging that its herbicide Roundup causes certain types of cancer. In contrast, others have brought lawsuits against the makers of surgical mesh and other medical devices.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
Each year, 25 percent of people over the age of 65 fall at least once—and some of these falls can have sobering consequences. Falls are also fairly common among those who are younger, and one in five falls results in a serious injury.
Slip, trip, and fall accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Moisture on the floor
- Cords, rugs, and other loose items
- Icy sidewalks or parking lots
- Broken stair treads or railings
- Uneven walking surfaces
“In many cases, these factors can point to negligence on the property owner’s behalf,” says Osborne. “For example, if someone slips on a spill in a grocery store, the store may be responsible—so long as the injured person can show that a reasonable property owner would or should have noticed and cleaned up the spill before it caused an injury.”
Each year, around 250,000 people die due to medical errors, and hundreds of thousands more people are injured. Mistakes happen—but when these mistakes breach the duty of care a medical provider owes to their patient, the patient may be able to file a personal injury medical malpractice lawsuit.
Most medical malpractice claims fall into one of three categories:
- Failure to diagnose
- Surgical errors
- Improper treatment
Other claims that fall outside these parameters include anesthesia reactions, childbirth injuries, medication errors, injection-site injuries, failure to obtain informed consent for procedures, or improper or inadequate monitoring after an operation. Around 85,000 medical malpractice cases are filed each year in the United States.
Occupational or Workplace Injuries
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a worker is injured on the job around once every seven seconds. Each year, nearly 5,000 workers are killed on the job. And while some of these workplace injuries and deaths may fall under that employer’s workers’ compensation policy, others are recompensable through a personal injury claim.
“If you or a loved one has been injured while on the job site, it’s crucial to seek medical help immediately, report the injury to your supervisor or employer, and gather evidence—the names of those involved, any photos or surveillance videos of the scene, and anything else that will show the hazard that led to your injury and the immediate aftermath,” encourages Osborne.
Workplace injuries aren’t just those caused by slips, trips, falls, and muscle sprains—they also include those that are the result of assault and violence. Both workplace homicides and workplace non-fatal injuries were significantly up in 2020, with more than 37,000 non-fatal injuries reported in the U.S. that year.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, you may wonder how you can get the compensation you deserve. By hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can seek the damages you’re owed—whether this means negotiating with the insurance company or litigating your claim in court.
An experienced personal injury attorney has the experience, knowledge, and access to resources you need to achieve the best outcome for your case. Your attorney should be able to guide you through the legal process, answer your questions, and represent your best interests at each stage in the process.
With over 20 years of experience helping individuals and families with their personal injury cases, attorney Curtis C. Osborne handles a wide variety of personal injury claims. Curtis lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is licensed to practice law in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.