Common Causes of Personal Injury
The first thing that comes to mind for many when they hear the phrase “personal injury” is auto accidents—and with over 4.5 million medically-consulted car crash injuries reported in 2019, it’s no surprise why. But in addition to car accidents, there are quite a few other common causes of personal injury.
Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
Dog bites alone result in as many as 800,000 trips to the emergency room every year in the United States. In addition, thousands of people are bitten or otherwise injured annually by farm animals or exotic pets. Animal attacks can result in injuries ranging from a small scratch that hardly breaks the skin to life-threatening wounds. Victims may require stitches, skin grafts, reconstructive procedures, and/or treatment for serious infections.
Drowning kills almost 4,000 people per year in the U.S., while another 8,000 people suffer near-drowning or nonfatal drowning. Tragically, drowning disproportionately affects young children and is the second leading cause of death for children age 1 to 4.
Accidental drowning may occur in private or public swimming pools, hot tubs, in-home bathtubs or showers, and larger bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, or oceans while boating. It may be the result of poor swimming skills, a lack of supervision, intoxication, being knocked unconscious, and a variety of other factors, some of which may involve negligence on the part of one or more parties.
Electrocution kills an average of 1,000 Americans every year, while another 30,000 are injured in electric shock incidents. Most adults who suffer electric shock are injured in the workplace, while most children who are electrocuted are injured in their own homes. But electric shock can occur anywhere there’s electricity, whether from a fallen power line or a defective home appliance. When an electric shock injury is due to the negligence of a power company, business, individual, or employer, victims and their families may be entitled to serious compensation.
Fires and Chemical Accidents
The American Burn Association estimates that as many as 486,000 people are treated for burn injuries each year, including 40,000 hospitalizations. Fire, heat, radiation, steam or chemicals can all result in serious burn injuries. It’s also possible for burns to occur as a result of car accidents, industrial or factory accidents, chemical spills, and building or electrical fires. These types of injuries can be devastating, causing severe pain and suffering, permanent scarring and nerve damage, organ damage, and other complications which may lead to death.
According to the Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey, there are more than 460,000 victims of rape or sexual assault in the U.S. each year. Sadly, just 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators of sexual assault end up in prison for their egregious actions. Victims of rape or sexual assault may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person(s) responsible. Compensation for sexual assault may include financial support for medical bills and mental health counseling, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, PTSD, and more.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents account for over 1 million American emergency room visits annually. Sometimes, a slip and fall results in little more than a bruised ego. Other times, though, slip and falls can lead to serious injuries, including broken bones, head and neck injuries, and spinal injuries.
Slip and falls can occur in almost any environment—an employee may trip and fall at work, a customer may slip on a slick surface inside a grocery store, or a visitor to someone’s home may fall due to a broken stair or icy walkway. Whatever the case, slip and fall victims may have a right to compensation if the responsible party did not keep their property in safe working order.
Speaking of property, those who are injured on someone else’s unsafe property in accidents other than a slip and fall may also be eligible for compensation. Property owners, business owners, and homeowners have a duty to keep their property safe for anyone who visits. A property owner’s failure to warn a visitor about hazards like a dog on the premises, an unguarded swimming pool, or an icy set of stairs can be grounds for a lawsuit. Property owners also have a responsibility to warn visitors of any defects in their property (i.e., a broken floorboard) and to fix these defects in accordance with building codes. Finally, a landlord may also be held responsible for insufficient security, such as failing to background check employees or provide working smoke detectors in each unit.
In 2020, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that 11 million people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to consumer products. Although most consumer product injuries are caused by unsafe or careless use, a portion of injuries caused by consumer products may be attributed to defective or unsafe products. The CPSC also found that the top consumer products associated with injury were stairs and ramps, mattresses and beds, chairs and sofa beds, soaps and detergents, television sets and stands, and cooking ranges and ovens. However, any product whose unsafe design or manufacture causes injury may be the subject of a personal injury claim.