Personal injury litigation is the act of suing a party to get compensation for the costs of a personal injury. These costs can be concrete, such as costs of medical bills resulting from the injury, or more abstract, such as the costs of pain and suffering. Plaintiffs generally rely on a personal injury lawyer in pursuing this kind of litigation.
Traditional forms of this type of litigation include suing an individual, where the case is composed of one person’s complaint against another, and suing a business or corporate party. There are also individual personal injury suits, where a personal injury litigator represents one family or household against a defendant, and mass personal injury suits. A common example of a mass personal injury suit is when a company’s product injures or sickens a large number of customers.
In today’s legal world, a lot of injury litigation is directed against insurance companies. This new kind of personal injury case law focuses on how to get compensation from an insurance carrier that covers certain types of situations. For example, either a pedestrian or a driver can pursue compensation from an insurer where an at fault driver is a policy holder.
Another common form of personal injury litigation is in the area of medical malpractice. This type of medical litigation includes suing for conditions of neglect in a hospital or health care setting, mistakes made in surgery, incorrect diagnosis or medication, and other errors on the part of trained medical staff. Independent financial groups are keeping an eye on how large amounts of medical malpractice litigation are affecting health care in various financial systems.
In response to concerns about how personal injury litigation affects some areas of the free market, government officials and economic experts are looking at options for what many call “tort reform” in limiting this type of litigation to provide more support for medical workers, and to ease the costs of insuring individuals against some kinds of injury. The massive costs of litigation can present a problem in a financial system where nobody is willing to shoulder the burden of paying for the eventual compensation that personal injury litigators seek for their clients. Looking at how insurance companies sometimes handle personal injury claims and personal injury litigation shows what kinds of problems can arise when victims of personal injury are denied access to compensation.
Like much else in the legal system, personal injury litigation is governed by legislation at both the federal and state levels. Public officials continue to talk about charting a course for tort reform that will promote economic growth. Professionals in medicine, law, and other sectors are paying attention to what personal injury litigation could look like in the future.