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What Is A Personal Injury Lawsuit?

by Thomas Stroble | October 12th, 2012

When a person is injured by the actions of another individual, a company, or a government agency, our law allows that person to file a lawsuit in civil court to recover damages.  This action is known as a “personal injury lawsuit” or a “liability lawsuit.”  Many people file personal injury lawsuits every day in order to collect money for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with an accident.

What Is the Difference Between Criminal Charges and a Personal Injury Law suit?

Criminal and civil courts operate very differently because they have different purposes and goals.  A criminal court is put in place to judge the actions of people as they relate to society as a whole.  Criminal trial juries are held to a very exacting standard: they must believe “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a person is guilty before giving a conviction.  If convicted, the defendant in a criminal trial may receive fines, jail time, or both.  The victim does not bring a criminal action against a defendant; this is done by elected or appointed court officials such as a district attorney, who represents the state.

Civil courts are formed for a different purpose.  When people have disputes that do not necessarily involve crimes, but that have cost victims money or caused injury, the victim has the right to bring a lawsuit in court as an individual acting on his or her own behalf.  There need not be any proof of criminal activity for a victim to bring a civil lawsuit.  The weight of evidence is also different in a civil trial; the jury must be swayed by “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning what is most likely to have occurred, rather than to be convinced without doubt.  Civil trials most often result in monetary damages awarded to the victim, although in some cases the remedy may be an action that should have taken place, as in a contract dispute.

Why File a Personal Injury Claim?

If you have been the victim of a tort, an action that has caused you harm, the only way you can recover damages is through a civil lawsuit.  If you want to recover monetary damages, the only way to do so is through a lawsuit.

You can file a lawsuit for almost any injury, but vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, medical malpractice and workplace accidents are the most common types of personal injury suits filed.

People file claims for many reasons, but the primary one is to pay the costs of an accident.  Medical bills and ongoing care can be very expensive, and many injured victims lose wages due to being unable to work.  Only a personal injury lawsuit can awarded you pain and suffering costs, as well as punitive damages designed to punish a defendant for deliberately negligent actions.

Talk to an Anaheim personal injury attorney today about your case to see if you have grounds to file a lawsuit and recover damages for your injury.

This article is guest post published on behalf of Paul W. Ralph Law Offices.

Posted In: Personal Injury