What does Personal Injury Mean?


Experiencing an injury due to someone else’s negligence can be a devastating ordeal, which can leave you with not only physical pain but also emotional trauma and a looming financial burden. This blog post aims to guide injury victims through the critical aspects of personal injury law, what ‘personal injury’ means in the eyes of the law, and how to seek justice if you’re the victim of such an incident, including the steps in pursuing a claim.


The Legal Definition of Personal Injury


Under the legal definition, a “personal injury” is a physical injury, mental suffering, or property damage caused by another individual or entity’s fault. Moreover, personal injury law, more formally known as tort law, encompasses a broad spectrum of situations where one’s body, mind, or emotions are harmed due to negligence, carelessness, or intentional misconduct.

Personal injury victims can hold the at-fault party accountable and seek compensation for damages such as medical bills and lost wages. This instrument of justice ensures the injured party isn’t left alone to bear the brunt of another’s actions and supports recovery.


Understanding Negligence in Personal Injury Claims


If you sustain an injury, you must demonstrate that the defendant acted negligently to establish their liability. Legally, negligence arises when someone fails to fulfill a duty of care owed to another, leading to harm. When an individual’s wrongful actions harm another, the law may deem these actions negligent. Here are the four elements forming the basis of a negligence claim:




The first element of a negligence claim is proving that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This duty could be a legal obligation to act in a certain way to prevent harm under the specific circumstances of your case. Duties are varied and depend on the nature of the incident. For example, drivers are obligated to operate their vehicles reasonably and safely, or property owners must remove hidden defects on their property for guests or visitors.


Breach of Duty


Once duty is established, you must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions—or inactions—breached that duty. In essence, they did not fulfill the obligation of care that they owed to you. Breach is gauged by what a reasonable person would have done in the same or similar circumstances.




You need to prove that the defendant’s breach was the direct cause of your injury. The law requires that your injury was a foreseeable consequence of the breach, and the breach must have directly or proximately caused the injury.




Finally, you must show that the breach led to actual damage. Damages include financial or economic loss, such as medical bills or lost wages, and non-economic harm, like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.



Common Personal Injury Claims 


Personal injury claims cover a wide array of scenarios. While inevitable accidents are more prevalent, the factors and laws surrounding each can significantly differ. Below are some of the most common forms of personal injury incidents:


Car Accidents


One of the most prevalent domains, car accidents occur due to many factors such as reckless driving, vehicular defects, or lack of road maintenance. Victims often face extensive medical treatments and vehicle repair costs—it’s an all-encompassing accident that demands swift and comprehensive legal action.


Medical Malpractice


When healthcare professionals deviate from the standard of care, the results can be catastrophic for the patient. From misdiagnoses to surgical errors, medical malpractice taps into a realm of legal intricacy that demands the attention of seasoned professionals.


Work-Related Injuries


Employee safety is paramount, yet workplace accidents are unfortunately too common. Whether caused by unsafe conditions, lack of training, or employer negligence, work-related injuries can have ripple effects on the victim’s personal and professional life. While some work-related accident victims are limited solely to Worker’s Compensation, some are not, and it is always best to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure all avenues of compensation are pursued.


Product Liability


Defective products can cause severe injuries, prompting claims against manufacturers, distributors, and sellers. It’s a nuanced field where liability must be established, and the product’s design, production, and warning presence all come under legal scrutiny.


Wrongful Death


The sudden loss of life due to the negligence of another is a profoundly tragic scenario. It opens a path for the deceased’s family to seek solace through a wrongful death claim that covers funeral expenses, lost companionship, and more.


The Anatomy of a Personal Injury Claim


If you find yourself the victim of a personal injury, understanding the logistics of a claim is vital. For a successful case, it must be established that the at-fault party:


Owed a Duty of Care


Every individual has a legal duty to act reasonably to prevent harming others. For instance, drivers on the road have a duty to obey traffic laws and not endanger others through negligent behavior.


Breached that duty


The at-fault party must have breached its duty through actions or inactions that a reasonably prudent person would avoid in the same situation. This breach could be anything from running a red light, failing to maintain safe premises, or even driving distracted.


Caused the Injury


The breach of that duty should directly lead to the plaintiff’s injuries. Establishing causation can sometimes be straightforward, yet it could require expert testimonies and detailed investigations in complex cases.


Resulted in Compensable Damages


Lastly, the injury must lead to quantifiable damages, be it physical, emotional, or financial. From hospital bills to lost earning capacity, compensable damages are fundamental in determining the extent of redress.


The Role of Legal Counsel


After an injury, the prospect of filing a legal claim may seem daunting. Assuaging this concern is where experienced personal injury attorneys come into play. Legal professionals advocate for injury victims, adeptly navigating the legal process on their client’s behalf. They provide a wealth of benefits, such as:


Case Evaluation: Assessing the viability of a personal injury claim is a critical first step, and attorneys can provide informed perspectives on the strength of your case.

Investigation: Gathering evidence and building a solid case require the time and resources attorneys can provide.

Negotiation: Attorneys are skilled negotiators, adept at securing favorable settlements without needing a protracted court battle.

Representation: If a case goes to trial, having a dedicated advocate can significantly affect the outcome.


Seeking legal counsel early in the process can help preserve evidence, avoid common pitfalls, and meet deadlines and legal requirements.


Recoverable Damages in Personal Injury Cases


Whenever an individual suffers harm because of another’s actions, there are several forms of damages they may be entitled to recover:


Economic Damages


The measurable monetary losses of the injury include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. These damages are usually easier to calculate since they are directly tied to financial costs.


Non-Economic Damages


Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are intangible and often more challenging to calculate. These include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Their subjective nature necessitates a thoughtful approach to determining fair compensation.


Punitive Damages


In rare cases, if the at-fault party’s conduct is highly egregious or reckless, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages. The primary goal of punitive damages is to protect the general public from future conduct and serve as a warning to prevent future misconduct. It is advisable to consult with a personal injury lawyer who can assist in quantifying damages and pursuing maximum compensation through negotiation or litigation.


The objective of seeking damages is to restore the victim to their position before the injury occurred. In less tangible ways, these financial recoveries can provide a semblance of normalcy and aid healing.


The Next Steps After a Personal Injury 


After an injury, prioritize your health and well-being. Seek medical attention, document the incident, and consult with a personal injury attorney to protect your legal rights.


Documentation and Evidence


Gathering as much evidence as possible is vital. This includes photographs of the accident scene, medical records, witness statements, and other pertinent information supporting your claim.


Statutes of Limitations


Personal injury claims have statutes of limitations, which impose strict deadlines for filing a lawsuit. These deadlines vary by state and type of injury, so acting swiftly to preserve your rights is crucial.


Negotiations and Settlements


Most personal injury claims get resolved through negotiated settlements. Your attorney will negotiate with the opposing party to reach a reasonable agreement covering your damages. However, your attorney will prepare to take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached.


The Importance of Legal Representation


A skilled injury attorney can often improve the chance of a successful claim. Additionally, an attorney will manage legal details, collect evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company. The attorney will ensure you understand your legal rights fully, which can prevent settling for less than entitled. Many cases require a lawsuit for resolution; your attorney can represent you and present your case. Moreover, a free consultation with one of our experienced accident attorneys at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault can provide peace of mind. These consultations offer guidance on legal options, case evaluations, and potential compensation. Furthermore, free consultations guarantee accident victims access to legal assistance without cost. Personal Injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, ensuring no fees unless we recover compensation for you.


Seeking Legal Help for Your Personal Injury Claim


If you suffer an injury in a personal accident, it’s crucial to consult experienced legal counsel. The team at Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault specializes in personal injury cases and is committed to protecting the rights of injury victims. With our injury attorney’s expertise, you can pursue a fair settlement, allowing you to focus on recovery with the peace of mind that you have support in your fight for justice.

Call 419-843-6663 for a complimentary consultation if you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, or complete our online contact form.

If you reside in or around any of the areas we serve in Ohio and Michigan – MaumeeDefianceFremontFindlayLima, Mansfield, Toledo, and Monroe – and are searching for “personal injury attorneys near me,” you can count on having one of our accident attorneys from Gallon, Takacs & Boissoneault to represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death case.  With a Toledo personal injury attorney near you, help is just a phone call away.