What is Personal Injury And its remedies

What is personal injury?

In legal terminology, the word injury means any harm done to a person by the acts (or omissions) of another person. This is different from the term injury used in general or medical parlance. In the legal sphere, the word injury connotes legal injury.

Personal injuries include every variety of injuries to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation. They are distinguished from injury to property rights, where the injury is to a person’s tangible or intangible property. Personal Injury cases include motor accident claims, defamation of character, product defects, medical negligence/malpractice, and workplace accident claims, to name just a few.

Despite safety protocols and precautions followed and undertaken by people, unfortunately, personal injuries are a common occurrence. Due to these situations, the law provides for compensation to the injured person for any harm done to their person.

Grounds on which personal injury claims can be brought:

1. Negligence is one the most common bases on which personal injury claims are brought before the courts of law. The liability of a person under negligence stems from an individual’s failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary cautiousness would have exercised under the same circumstances in which the said injury has occurred. E.g., when a restaurant owner mops the floor and forgets to put up a “wet floor” sign, and due to this, another person who walks by slips and gets injured could be considered negligence on the part of the restaurant owner.

2. Strict liability holds a person liable for his actions, regardless of what their intent or mental state was when committing the action. It means that even if a person acts without any fault of his own or any negligence on his side, he will still be held legally responsible for the act which causes any injury to the other person. It is said that whoever brings under their control anything which might be dangerous to others has to keep the thing under control at their peril, and if the thing were to escape, they would be held liable for the same. E.g., an owner of a dog will be strictly held liable if the dog bites some other person and causes injury to that person.

One of the most notable instances of strict liability under Indian Law is that of motor accidents cases. The Motor Vehicle Act, which governs the law on motor accident claims, provides that the owner and operator of the vehicle will be held strictly responsible if he causes an accident while operating his vehicle.

3. Intentional wrongs result from a deliberate act on the part of the person committing them. Intention or some mental element is necessary to constitute a wrong of this kind in which the person intentionally causes injury to another person. Common intentional wrongs are assault, battery (aggravated assault), false imprisonment, trespass to land, trespass to property, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Personal injury, as already stated, can arise from harm done to a person’s body and also from non-bodily harm. Examples of bodily injuries are automobile accidents (motor vehicle accidents), workplace accidents, deficiencies or defects in products/services, torts in the form of assault, battery, etc. Examples of non-bodily injuries are emotional distress, defamation, malicious prosecution, unlawful confinement, etc.

What are the remedies available to an aggrieved person who suffers a bodily injury?

If an aggrieved person successfully proves their claim, they will be awarded damages for their injuries. In legal terminology, damages are the monetary compensation that the courts award to the person who suffered the injuries so that he may be able to make up for the loss incurred by him due to the said injury. In short, damages are meant to make good the loss suffered by the injured party.

There are two basic categories of damages that are awarded to the injured party – compensatory damages and punitive damages.

The purpose of compensatory damages is to compensate or reimburse the injured person for any harm they may have suffered due to the injury caused to them. These damages are available in almost all injury cases, such as motor accident claims. Compensatory damages are also awarded in the cases where the wrongful act of one person causes death to another person, i.e., wrongful death cases.

Punitive damages are only awarded in a limited number of cases. Punitive damages do not depend on the type of harm or injury suffered by the aggrieved party. The purpose of awarding such damages is to punish the wrongdoer when his actions were deplorable and his behavior despicable. In medical negligence/malpractice cases, defects/deficiencies in products cases, the Court will award punitive damages to the injured party because of the gross negligence or apathy of the company, hospitals, or practitioners towards the aggrieved person.

Damages available to an injured party

As already discussed, the Courts may award damages to the injured party in cases of personal injury suffered by them. Damages for personal injury may be awarded under several heads which include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Loss of earning

2. Loss of future prospects/earning

3. Pain and suffering

4. Mental anguish

5. Medical expenses

6. Cost of future medical expenses

7. Household expenses, etc.

In wrongful death cases, apart from the above-mentioned compensatory damages, certain unique damages are awarded to the deceased’s surviving family and loved ones. The wrongful death damages include the following:

1. Loss of consortium or companionship.

2. Funeral/Burial expenses

3. Cost of medical care (if any)

4. Emotional distress to the surviving family

5. Loss of financial contribution, etc.

An injured person who successfully proves their claim before a court of law becomes entitled to damages in personal injury claims once a settlement is reached between the parties or a judgment/award is passed by the Court, and they can claim the same against the wrongdoer.

Published on 20th August, 2021


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