“Personal injury” is a broad term for a legal claim arising from a physical or emotional injury caused by misconduct. In legal circles, personal injury is also known as “tort” law, a French word for “wrong.” In this area of Michigan law, a person gets reimbursed when carelessness, recklessness or intentional misconduct by someone else causes your injury.
An automobile accident or medical negligence are classic examples of personal injury events governed by Michigan tort law. For instance, if someone rear-ends the back of your car stopped for a red light and you are injured, the rear-ending driver has committed a tort. Under the law, the person causing the accident is referred to as the “tortfeasor” (French for “wrongdoer”). In the U.S. legal system, a wrongdoer is called a “defendant” in a lawsuit, and a person injured by the wrongdoer is called a “plaintiff” in a lawsuit or “claimant” before a lawsuit.
State law usually governs a personal injury claim or lawsuit, though federal law can apply in limited circumstances. For instance, an injury suffered on federal property (such as injury to a patient at a federally-funded medical clinic or at a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital) may be governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) – a federal law. Similarly, severe injuries suffered in an airline crash may be governed by federal law or by an international treaty.
A person must have sustained a personal injury from a wrongdoer to bring a personal injury case – property damage alone such as damage to car isn’t enough. Likewise, if you slip and fall because of carelessness by an owner but you suffered no physical injury, there is no recognized legal claim in Michigan.
Personal injury law determines who is responsible (i.e., who is “liable,” or has “liability”) for causing physical injury and how much the wrongdoer has to pay in reimbursement. Moreover, there are three different fault categories, or degrees of fault, in personal injury law: (1) negligence (known to most of us as carelessness by the wrongdoer), (2) intentional torts (intentional misconduct by the wrongdoer), and (3) strict liability torts (under the law, the wrongdoer is automatically responsible for harms and losses regardless of any excuse). Each is a different type of legal wrong (or “cause of action”), with a different rule ( “standard of care”) that applies.
In all personal injury matters it is essential that action be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate and determine exactly what happened, and file a lawsuit before the legal deadline (“statute of limitations”) expires. If you or a loved one suffered injury because of misconduct by someone else, contact Buchanan & Buchanan now by telephone at 800-272-4080 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An initial consultation is free. If we accept your case after the consultation, we will work on a contingent-fee basis, meaning we get paid for our legal services only if you obtain money (similiar to a commission on the result).
Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to reimbursement of your harms and losses. But a lawsuit must be filed in a court before the legal deadline (statute of limitations) expires.